Coding error costs First Contact top 20 place in overnight ratings

SBS’s controversial First Contact series missed out on a top-20 spot in the TV ratings last night because of a coding error by the public broadcaster which dragged the average rating of the Ray Martin-fronted show down.

SBS First Contact

While the show managed 418,000 on SBS’ main channel, a figure which would have put it in the OzTAM overnight ratings at number 18, the coding error which combined it with the simulcast on NITV saw its average viewing number dragged down.

An SBS spokesperson said: “The official figures for First Contact season two episode are 418,000 metro and 183,000 Regional – 601,000 combined – on SBS and 20,000 metro and 24,000 regional on NITV.

“Due to an SBS coding error, the ratings from both channels were unfortunately grouped together under the ‘SBS Network’ and averaged down. This has been rectified with OzTAM for the next two episodes.”

The result for the show, which takes six well-known Australians on a 28-day journey into Aboriginal Australia, was marginally down on the 433,000 viewers who watched the first episode of the first season in November 2014.

The three-part reality documentary series airing on SBS and NITV at 8:30pm last night attracted a total of 438,000 metropolitan viewers.

“The program achieved a 13.1% metro share last night, which is up from the 10.3% share achieved by episode one, season one,” said the spokesperson.

The episode was also the highest ranked documentary for SBS this year among the 25-54 demographic.

SBS said the coding error has now been rectified with ratings provider OzTAM which will see the ratings reported separately from tonight.


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