The Seven Network has won the ratings battle for the fourth consecutive year – but all three commercial networks will have something to smile about.
Seven won the ratings year (which concluded yesterday) with an overall audience share of 28.7 per cent (6pm-12mn, 5 cities), followed by Nine (27.7), Ten (21.2), ABC (16.9) and SBS (5.6).
As far as individuals channels go, Seven (24.6) won against Nine (23.5), Ten (19.7), ABC1 (14.5), SBS1 (5.0), GO! (3.8), 7TWO (3.5), 7mate (2.7), GEM (1.7), ABC2 (1.6), One (1.4), SBS2 (0.6) and ABC3 and ABC News 24 (both 0.5).
Topping Seven’s ratings list is Packed To The Rafters (pictured), Australia’s Got Talent, the AFL Grand Final (and the re-match), Such Is Life: The Troubled Times Of Ben Cousins, the Melbourne Cup and the men’s final of the Australian Open.
Seven News, Today Tonight, Sunrise, The Morning Show and Weekend Sunrise all outrated their Nine Network rivals.
My Kitchen Rules (pictured) returned strong ratings but failed to dampen any enthusiasm for the return of Ten’s Masterchef Australia. The X Factor, despite all the hype, promotion and expense, failed to hit any significant ratings highs but returned decent ratings with a last-minute increase as the series came to a climax. Dancing With The Stars also returned solid ratings as it ran its tenth series and Beauty And The Geek drew big numbers for what is normally a lack lustre Thursday night.
But not everything went Seven’s way this year. The White Room, The Bounce, Australia Versus and Beat The Star were all prime-time ratings flops. Iron Chef failed to gain a significant hold on the audience. Home And Away, which has just ended its 23rd year, was beaten by repeats of US sitcom Two And A Half Men on Nine, and the future of City Homicide appears uncertain.
The Nine Network (i.e. Nine, GO! and GEM) is claiming victory in the advertiser-friendly demographics of 18-49, 16-39 and 25-54 age groups, although Nine’s primary channel was beaten by Ten in 16-39 age group viewers.
Nine’s biggest hit of 2010 was drama series Underbelly 3: The Golden Mile. Nine also scored well with the NRL State Of Origin and NRL Grand Final. Reality show The Farmer Wants A Wife returned solid ratings, while The Block (pictured), however, perhaps fell short of expectations but still managed decent numbers. Hey Hey It’s Saturday, which aired on Wednesday nights before being reinstated to its traditional Saturday night spot, has struggled to maintain significant support outside of Melbourne and its future is yet to be decided. Top Gear and its Australian version rated well. Sydney-based police drama Cops LAC failed to click with viewers.
The TV Week Logie Awards scored slightly lower than last year though this time it had to contend with competition from Masterchef Australia.
Nine continues to draw heavily on Two And A Half Men to boost its numbers, not just on Nine but also on digital channel GO! Eddie McGuire’s Millionaire Hot Seat is now paying dividends against Seven’s Deal Or No Deal.
For Network Ten, as well as the primary channel taking out the 16-39 age group, the biggest hit was once again Masterchef Australia. Like last year the series broke new post-2001 ratings records with more than 4 million viewers tuning in to see the winner, Adam Liaw (pictured) announced. The series spin-off Junior Masterchef started on a ratings high but despite the inevitable ratings drop that followed it still sat at the top end of the ratings ladder.
Apart from the Masterchef titles the top of Ten’s list of ratings performers were predominantly imported programs – Modern Family, NCIS, Glee and Undercover Boss – although Shaun Micallef’s Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation was a strong performer as was the Australian adaptation of Undercover Boss and the new factual series Keeping Up With The Joneses. The special Hamish And Andy’s Caravan Of Courage: Great Britain And Ireland and the telemovie Hawke were also ratings hits.
New drama series Offspring (starring Asher Keddie, pictured) returned good Sunday night figures, particularly with younger viewers, although the Thursday night series Rush has struggled to be consistent and has seen ratings fall. Both shows have been renewed for 2011.
The elephant in Ten’s room this year, however, is the Commonwealth Games. The 11-day competition, traditionally a ratings winner, failed to return any significant ratings results for Ten, although it did give a boost to sports channel One. The effect of the Games, which took Ten’s entire prime-time schedule out of circulation for two weeks, has seen shows like The 7PM Project and Neighbours lose any sense of ratings momentum they might have had pre-Games and saw viewers flock to digital channels in search of other viewing options. The 7PM Project has seen its numbers slowly claw back to somewhere near decent, but Neighbours continues to stumble and has hit hit new ratings lows this year but will live on next year on Ten’s new digital channel, 11.
ABC’s The Gruen Transfer was among its highest raters this year, and its election-themed spin-off, Gruen Nation, topped the national broadcaster’s ratings list this year. Spicks And Specks and The Chaser’s Yes We Canberra were strong performers, along with imported shows Midsomer Murders, Doc Martin and New Tricks. Drama series Rake, starring Richard Roxburgh, got off to a high-rating start but ratings quickly fell. The network also had to get the axe out – a rare occasion – for its Wednesday night series, Strictly Speaking, which returned ratings that even had ABC hanging its head in shame.
SBS, which has lost the Top Gear franchise to Nine, saw ratings fall this year, though the network scored well with the FIFA World Cup, from South Africa, with the match between Ghana and Australia being watched by over 1.3 million viewers.
Networks now go into summer non-ratings mode until February, though viewing data is still collected and reported to networks over the non-ratings period.