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Battle for yearly ratings win intensifies as Nine closes gap on Seven

Nine has taken out its 17th weekly ratings win for the year, bringing it even closer to rival Seven, which currently boasts 18 weekly wins. If one of the networks can reach 21 weekly wins in the headline measure of metro all people, it can claim victory for the 40-week ratings year – but with only five weeks left of the official ratings period, the race is getting tighter. 

In 2016 Seven wrapped up the ratings year in near record time when it clocked up its 21st weekly win on August 20.

And earlier this year it seemed almost certain Seven could win the ratings year in record time. Indeed when the 20-week halfway point was reached, Seven had 16 wins to Nine’s four.

Nine however began an uninterrupted winning streak in week 20 (9 to 15 July), which ran until week 27 (27 August to 2 September). Since then, Seven has won just two weeks – week 28 (3 to 9 September) and week 31 (24 to 30 September) – and Nine has won six.

CEO of Seven Tim Worner however has boldly declared Seven will finish the year on top – although he did concede the tail-end of 2017 had been harder than expected for the network. 

Worner at Seven’s Allfronts presentation: We will make it 12 in a row

Worner told a room of agencies and marketers earlier this week: “For 11 years in a row now we’ve finished on top at Seven. And there’s no doubt that’s a really good thing and just to be clear and get it out of the way nice and early we are going to make it 12 years in a row.

“But we want to get our hand up and say this wasn’t our best win. In fact, it’s been our toughest in recent history.”

He went on to tell the room the network hadn’t reached the “lofty expectations” it had set for itself and didn’t deliver on the key advertising demographic numbers as promised.

But he promised next year would be the year where the “biggest audiences” would be on Seven again.

Despite the claim, this week saw Nine once again claim victory across the metro markets with a 19.7% audience share, compared to Seven’s 18.5%.

Despite having some of the most-watched programs of the week with The Bachelorette Final Decision on Thursday evening (1.643m), The Bachelorette Grand Finale (1.316m) and Wednesday’s episode of the dating show (1.180m), Ten came in third place with a 14.2% audience share.

Sophie Monk’s final outings as The Bachelorette topped the ratings ladder this week

The enduring popularity of The Block helped Nine to its weekly victory, with Sunday’s episode the second-most watched program (1.506m) and other episodes throughout the week all pulling in more than 1m metro viewers.

The two commercial networks will renew their battle this coming week, particularly in the competitive 7:30pm primetime slot. Seven will debut The Wall, hosted by Axle Whitehead, while Nine will pin its end-of-year hopes on Family Food Fight.

According to an announcement earlier this year, The Wall “is a fast, family-friendly game show that offers ordinary two-person teams the opportunity to win extraordinary money by conquering a towering four storey wall. They will compete for life-changing amounts of cash that can be won or lost in an instant, depending upon whether a ball bounces your way, or a trivia question is answered correctly”.

Family Food Fight, according to Nine’s head of content production and development Adrian Swift, will fill a hole in the competitive cooking show genre.

“We wanted to make it different. The point of making yet another food show, a competitive cooking food show, was because we came up with an idea that was different and the idea that makes it fundamentally different is family food,” he said.

“MKR is not actually about cooking, it’s about the dynamic between the people. Masterchef is about who is the best amateur chef in the country.

“We felt there was a really big clear hole in the market particularly around beginning and end of the year for food we all cook at home,” Swift told Mumbrella earlier this year.

Swift has since set himself a target for the debut of Family Food Fight, aiming for 800,000 metro viewers – 400,000 of which should come from Nine’s key target demographic of 25 to 54-year olds.

Ten will take on the two reality franchises with All-Star Family Feud, which this week will feature the families of ARN’s Dave Hughes and Kate Langbroek – who have recently announced their switch to rival radio network Southern Cross Austereo. The pair will fill the gap left by Hamish & Andy who are leaving radio at the end of 2017.

ABC finished week 35 of the official ratings season with a 13.9% audience share, while SBS had 4.9%.

The charts and tables below, provided by Nine, are based on OzTAM data for the three main free-to-air commercial networks (Seven, Nine and Ten) and do not include ABC or SBS.

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