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Cricket dominates the ratings as fifth Ashes test kicks off and Big Bash wins the demos

Yesterday was a big day of cricket for both Nine and Ten, with the first day of fifth Ashes Test from Sydney and the Big Bash League clash dominating the television ratings.

The most-watched sports offering was the third session of Nine’s Ashes test, with 852,000 metro viewers tuning in to watch Australia take two wickets in the final eight balls of the day, according to time-adjusted figures from Nine. The first session of the day did not run due to rain delays, but session two’s metro audience was 673,000.

Meanwhile on Ten, session two of the Big Bash League attracted the biggest audience in the evening, aside from news. The highly competitive second session, which saw the Hobart Hurricanes conquer the Adelaide Strikers, pulled in an audience of 785,000, according to Ten’s confirmed times. The earlier session captured 491,000.

Looking across Australia, the city with the biggest audience for both Nine and Ten’s cricket matches was Melbourne.

Across the key advertising demographics, which are made up of the 16-39s, 18-49s and 25-54s, Ten’s Big Bash League dominated. Its second session topped all demographics, according to OzTAM’s preliminary overnight metro ratings.

Despite the Ashes running in the lead up to news, it was Seven News which collected the biggest audience of Thursday night, with 1.099m viewers across Australia’s metro cities, OzTAM’s figures show.

OzTAM’s overnight preliminary ratings saw Nine News – which also ran at 6pm – come more than 200,000 viewers behind, managing 868,000.

The ABC’s most-watched program was also news, with 658,000 metro viewers tuning in.

In breakfast, Sunrise nabbed a win over Today, with metro audiences of 275,000 and 230,000 respectively.

The most-watched show in the free-to-air multichannel ratings was 9GO’s 1983 movie offering National Lampoon’s Vacation, which collected 168,000 metro viewers.

Nine and Ten fell short of Seven when it came to the free-to-air main channel shares. Seven collected a share of 17.2%, Nine’s share was 16.7% and Ten’s share was 15.8%.

ABC and SBS reported shares of 9.8% and 5%.

On a network basis, Nine – including its multi-channels – edged ahead with a 26.8% audience share. Seven Network had 25.6% of the audience, Ten 23.7%, ABC 15.1% and SBS 8.8%.

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