Breakfast and news programs surge on last year’s Good Friday figures by as much as 98%

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis and associated lockdown measures have consumers increasingly turning to television news and current affairs programs, with the free-to-air networks experiencing bumps across the board.

On Good Friday last year, Nine’s breakfast program Today, then with a line-up of Deb Knight, Georgie Gardner and Tom Steinfort, slipped to an audience of 176,000 metro viewers. This year, with the Easter weekend falling slightly earlier and more people staying home, Today had an audience of 213,000 – a 21% climb.

 All the networks’ news offerings are being bolstered by consumers keen for COVID-19 information

Nationally, Today climbed from 254,000 to 316,000, up 24.4%.

The 2020 Today show line-up is fronted by Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon, however Friday morning’s episode was hosted by former anchor Knight with Alex Cullen.

Today’s rival Sunrise over on Seven had a metro audience of 316,000 – a 15.3% increase on its 2019 Good Friday figure. Nationally, Sunrise climbed 19.4% on last year to 523,000.

Later in the day, Seven News pulled 1.241m metro viewers – up 50.2% on 19 April, 2019’s figure of 826,000.

With the addition of regional figures, last night’s Seven News broadcast had 1.928m, compared to 1.250m last year, a 54.2% climb.

Nine News was in second place last night, with a metro audience of 1.107m and a national audience of 1.447m. Its figures were up almost 7% in the metro markets on last year and 6% nationally.

ABC News also benefited from the stay-at-home Easter weekend, with the 7pm news bulletin up 39.3% on last year’s figure to 783,000 metro viewers. Nationally, it was up 38% to 1.143m.

Earlier in the evening, Ten’s offering of 10 News First had 526,000 in the cities, up 57%, and 755,000 in total, up 64.8%.

The Project had 350,000 metro viewers for its first half hour at 6:30pm, a massive climb of 98.9% from last year’s figure of 176,000. Its second half hour at 7pm had 433,000, up 55.2% from last year’s 279.000. Nationally, the first segment was up 76.4% to 494,000, while 7pm was up 49.5% from last year to 604,000 (404,000).

It wasn’t just news to surge on the back of this year’s stay-at-home crisis. ABC Kids’ program Bluey was up 25.7% on Good Friday last year, to a metro audience of 338,000. Nationally, it was up 24% to 460,000 (371,000).

The Chase Australia on Seven was up a whopping 159.7% from the 2019 figure of 248,000 to 644,000 metro viewers this year. Its national figure of 1.055m (461,000) was up 128.9%.

Better Homes and Gardens was up 75.4% in the metro markets to 535,000. Nationally, it was up from 531,000 to 871,000, or 64%.

Gardening Australia on ABC had 610,000  (455,000) metro viewers, up 34%. Nationally, it had 946,000 (681,000), up 38.9%.

This time last year, Seven also had AFL matches to screen, and Nine was showing the NRL. Both sporting codes are on hold in 2020, however the NRL and Nine are currently locked in a war of words over the season’s imminent return, with Nine accusing the sporting administration of wasting enormous amounts of money over many years.

It appears parents and kids are turning to Bluey while stuck at home

Overall last night, the wins were split between Seven and Nine.

Seven’s primary channel narrowly won the battle, with 18.1% to Nine’s 17.6%.

With the addition of multi-channels, however, Nine Network had 28.0% to Seven’s 27.0%.

ABC was in third with a primary channel share of 13.3% and a network share of 19.7%, ahead of Ten’s 8.1% and 14.5%, and SBS’ 4.7% and 10.8%.

Nine is ahead in the ratings week thus far, with a progressive Sunday to Friday share of 19.7% to Seven’s 17.7%. On a network basis, Nine has 29.1% for the week thus far to Seven’s 26.1%.


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