Seven claims yearly ratings win while Nine takes out the demos

After one of the closest contests in recent years, Seven has claimed a narrow yearly ratings win, saying it was “Australia’s most-watched television network in 2017” based on the OzTAM metric of total people, gifting the network its 11th consecutive yearly win.

Seven: On top for the 11th consecutive year

The official ratings season wrapped up on 1 December with Seven achieving an average audience share of 20.1%, just ahead of Nine’s 20.0%. 

Of the 40 official ratings weeks, Seven won 22 compared to Nine’s 18.

Despite the closest race in years, Seven was keen to spruik its various victories. The network said it “continues to dominate the broadcast television landscape: primetime, news, major sports, breakfast television and morning television” and proclaimed it was the “eleventh consecutive year of market leadership in prime time.”

Seven’s director of programming Angus Ross said the network was in a good position to maintain its lead in the new year.

“We move into 2018 after confirming our leadership for eleven consecutive years. We have leadership in breakfast and morning television, news and primetime. We have strong franchises coming back. We have a deep and strong slate of new programmes for 2018. We have the biggest sports events. We are looking forward to growing our audiences and reaffirming the undeniable audience delivery of free-to-air television.”

Ross: Confident Seven will grow its audience in 2018

Ten finished the year with 12.6% audience share across total people – not taking home any overall ratings week wins – while the ABC was just behind on 12.2%. SBS had 5.2%.

On a network basis – including multi-channel offerings such as 7Two, 9Go, ABC2 and Eleven – Seven claimed 29.6% of the audience, ahead of Nine’s 28.1%. Ten Network had 18.0%, ABC 17.1% and SBS 7.2%.

The strongest performing multi-channel in total people was 7Two, which had 3.6% of the audience.

Nine too has highlighted its winning performance across the key advertising demographics.

Nine had 21.1% of 16-39s (compared to Seven’s 19.8% and Ten’s 17.0%), 21.7% of the 18-49s (Seven had 19.6%, Ten 16.5%) and 21.6% of 25-54s (while Seven had 19.7% and Ten 15.9%).

Nine, which has consistently said it focuses on “the demos” and not total people – despite the tightening total people race at the tail end of 2017 – was also pleased with the outcome.

“Our results this year speak for themselves. To be the number one network with all key demographics is the outcome of a lot of hard work by a team that I believe to be the best in television,” Nine CEO Hugh Marks said.

“These are not results we take for granted. If anything, they spur us on to continue to create even better content that will resonate with Australian audiences. We thank our viewers for watching and do not take their support lightly.”

Michael Stephenson, chief sales officer, said: “Before the start of 2017, we made a promise to the market that we would grow our audience in thousands and share, and ensure the consistency of our schedule throughout the year.

“I’m pleased to say we have achieved this across the board this year, winning all the key demographics on the back of strong franchises like Married at First Sight, The Voice, Australian Ninja Warrior and The Block. These shows are all proven performers that will again deliver strong audiences across the key demographics throughout the year in 2018.”

Nine was also keen to highlight it was the only network to grow its share across total people and all the demos between 2016 and 2017.

Source: OzTAM, Consolidated 28 Data, Network FTA Share excluding spill, SYTD 2017 Weeks 7-48 excluding Easter Weeks 15+16 WC 9/4/2017 & WC16/4/2017 v SYTD 2016 Weeks 7-48, excluding Easter WC20/3/2016 & WC27/3/2017 & Olympic Weeks 33+34 WC 7/8/2016 & WC14/8/2016 , 6pm – midnight, 5 City Metro. (Image courtesy of Nine)

Ten – which faced financial battles in 2017 ultimately resulting in its administration and subsequent sale to US media giant CBS – said its ratings highlights included The Bachelorette and The Big Bash League, claiming it “ended the year with a 28.3% commercial share in its key target market of people 25 to 54 and ranked number one in prime time on Thursdays in 25 to 54s and under 55s”.

Ten CEO Paul Anderson said consistency and innovation in content delivery were hallmarks of Ten in 2017.

“From Sophie Monk in The Bachelorette Australia and Casey Donovan in I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!, to the summer television season that is the KFC Big Bash League and the enduring success of MasterChef Australia, 2017 was a year of solid achievements for Ten. Many of our key domestic shows increased their audiences this year – across all screens – and our online and social media channels powered ahead.

Anderson: Ten is brand safe and advertiser friendly

“Next year we will continue to demonstrate consistency in our programming and we will continue to differentiate ourselves by being brighter, younger and louder than our competitors,” he said. 

“From Gogglebox to Australian Survivor to The Project, we will continue to commission, create and run content that engages deeply with our audience across all screens, is brand-safe and, most importantly, is advertiser-friendly.”

Ten was never really in the running to win total people, and instead focused on its multi-screen strategy, social media engagement and the younger demographics.

As the race tightened towards the tail end of 2017 in total people, Nine was perhaps let down by the poor performance of its stripped cooking competition Family Food Fight. Initially, Nine’s TV entertainment boss Adrian Swift had hoped it would achieve a metro audience of 800,000 up against the likes of Seven’s The Wall – going so far as to say he’d dance a jig if it surpassed that elusive number.

Seven was able to close out the year strongly thanks to the ratings success of US drama The Good Doctor which it screened twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Seven also claimed victory in the competitive breakfast battle. Across the survey period, Seven’s Sunrise averaged a metro audience of 289,000, compared to Nine’s Today which had 277,000.  On a national level, with regional viewers included, Sunrise averaged 513,000 to Today’s 423,000.

The charts below are provided by Nine based on OzTAM data. They include only information on commercial free-to-air networks and exclude SBS and ABC.

UPDATE: This article originally claimed Ten had not released its end-of-year ratings report. This was incorrect and the story has been updated with Ten’s highlights and insights. Mumbrella apologises for the oversight.


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