The Seven Network did not have two of TV’s biggest events this year — the Olympic Games and The Voice — but it has claimed ratings victory for the sixth consecutive ratings year.
For the ratings year (Weeks 7 to 48, including the Olympic Games, 6pm-12mn, 5 cities), Seven claimed 30.6 per cent followed by Nine (28.2%), Ten (18.8%), ABC (17.0%) and SBS (5.5%).
For individual channels Seven also led on 23.0%, followed by Nine (21.7%), Ten (13.1%), ABC1 (12.8%), SBS1 (4.6%), 7TWO (4.2%), GO (3.8%), 7mate (3.3%), Eleven (3.2%), Gem and ABC2 (both 2.6%), One (2.5%), SBS2 (0.9%), ABC3 and ABC News 24 (both 0.8%).
But while Seven/7TWO/7mate claimed victory across all people it was Nine/GO/Gem that scored better in the advertiser-friendly demographics, taking out the 16-39, 18-49 and 25-54 age groups. In individual channels it was a similar story as Nine out-rated Seven in all three age groups.
Heading Seven’s list of hit shows for the year were My Kitchen Rules, The X Factor and overseas shows Downton Abbey and Revenge. Seven’s coverage of the AFL Grand Final and the Melbourne Cup topped their list of sports events.
Packed To The Rafters was the most watched of Seven’s local dramas, while relative newcomer Winners And Losers also rated well during the year. Home And Away, soon to celebrate its 25th anniversary, continues to provide a solid base for Seven’s prime-time but has been challenged this year by Nine’s The Block and Big Brother, Ten’s MasterChef Australia and ABC1’s ABC News.
A surprise hit for Seven was the two-part special Anh Does Vietnam.
But there are some dents now showing in Seven’s ratings armour. Seven News and Today Tonight are still leading nationally but are losing to Nine in the key Sydney and Melbourne markets. Deal Or No Deal, once an unbeatable lead in to the news, is now being regularly beaten by Nine’s Hot Seat. Sunrise is also falling to Today on the east coast.
Australia’s Got Talent, one of Seven’s ratings giants of 2011, suffered a major decline this year up against The Voice. Seven has already dumped the franchise but Nine has picked it up for next year. Dancing With The Stars rated well but after 12 seasons is not hitting the ratings highs of its earlier days.
So while a few years ago it seemed Nine was to be relegated firmly into second place, the network has had something of a resurgence this year and is catching up to Seven.
If one event summed up Nine’s year it would not be the Olympic Games but, rather, The Voice. The talent quest with a twist — literally — was a ratings hit from day one in a genre where Seven and Ten have normally ruled in the past. The Voice — The Winner Announced, with 3.325 million viewers, was the highest rated ‘program’ for the year.
Nine also had drama hits with Underbelly: Badness, Beaconsfield and mini-series Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War. House Husbands delivered a consistent audience but Tricky Business was a critical and ratings dud.
The revival of Big Brother was a gamble that delivered a fairly consistent audience, climbing to 1.47 million viewers tuning in for the announcement of the series winner.
Other highlights for Nine included Hamish And Andy’s Euro Gap Year, TV Week Logie Awards and the NRL State Of Origin.
The Games Of The XXX Olympiad from London were as popular as would be expected. The Opening Ceremony, broadcast to Australia on a winter Saturday morning, was watched by 1.7 million viewers, with another 1.3 million watching the repeat screening later in the day.
For Network Ten, 2012 was a year that will probably be considered its worst for many years, if not decades. That’s not to say that it was all bad for Ten — MasterChef Australia managed to claw itself back from a patchy series in 2011; Offspring and Puberty Blues were widely applauded even if their ratings numbers were modest; Underground: The Julian Assange Story and Bikie Wars: Brothers In Arms both performed well; and the first series of US series of Homeland was a ratings hit.
Neighbours, in its 28th year, also continued to be a consistent performer for Ten’s digital channel Eleven, regularly topping the ratings chart among the digital channels.
Despite the highlights, there were far more lowlights across the board. Young Talent Time made a return after over 20 years. It started off well as a Sunday night program but, as Hey Hey It’s Saturday and It’s A Knockout revivals found out, the novelty wore off quickly and the show was soon relegated to Fridays and is unlikely to re-appear next year.
As for other new shows launched this year — namely Being Lara Bingle, Breakfast, Everybody Dance Now, I Will Survive, Don’t Tell The Bride and The Shire — there isn’t much to say that hasn’t already been said. Class Of was a 2011 production that was dusted off for screening in 2012 and was largely ignored.
The Project was an improvement on the 6.00pm timeslot compared to last year but still trailed well behind the news bulletins from Seven and Nine and from tonight returns to its previous 6.30pm timeslot.
While Ten would have hoped for something of a post-Olympics ratings boost with many of the aforementioned titles, the end result could not have been worse for a commercial network — falling to fourth place behind ABC, a position it has held almost consistently since August. For the year overall Ten has still ended in third place but the margin between Ten and ABC is perilously close.
While ABC is not primarily concerned with ratings it will get some joy from the fact that the 7.00pm ABC News is enjoying a ratings boost. Current affairs program 7.30 has also picked up after an unsettling 2011.
Other strong performers for ABC during the year included Gruen Planet, Gruen Sweat, Call The Midwife, New Tricks, Grand Designs, Midsomer Murders, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, the two Jack Irish telemovies and Rake.
Drama productions Devil’s Dust, Dangerous Remedy and Redfern Now attracted wide acclaim and positive social media commentary but the ratings numbers did not quite followed suit. Andrew Denton‘s return to TV in the form of game show Randling was a disappointment.
The Paralympic Games were a ratings highlight for digital channel ABC2.
For SBS the second series of Go Back To Where You Came From was a ratings highlight. SBS’ annual three-day telecast of the Eurovision Song Contest — this year hosted in Azerbaijan — also attracted higher audiences than in 2011.
As of yesterday (Sunday) networks go into summer non-ratings mode, though viewing data is still collected by OzTAM and reported to networks over the non-ratings period.
The 2013 ratings year begins on 10 February and continues through to 30 November, with a two-week break over the Easter period.
Data © OzTAM Pty Limited 2012. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM.