Sky News: We beat ABC News 24 for tsunami audience

Sky News has joined the debate over TV coverage of the Japanese tsunami disaster, claiming that it won the audience battle with ABC News 24 in homes that had pay TV available.  

Sky News’ comments came after ABC News 24 pointed out that on Friday night it was for the first time the most watched free to air digital channel with a 3.4% free TV audience share. ABC News 24’s top rating programme averaged 162,000 viewers to Sky News’ 114,000.

In a press release issued this afternoon, Sky News did not name its publicly funded rival ABC News 24, instead referring to it variously as “Australia’s Free-To-Air produced 24 hour news service”, “the FTA produced news channel” and “the other channel”.

The Sky News release said: “Where viewers could choose between Sky News and Australia’s Free-To-Air produced 24 hour news service, Sky News won a share of viewing up to 6.5 times greater than the other channel. And those who chose Sky News watched for almost twice as long as those who watched the FTA channel.”

The release continued: “In subscription TV homes on Saturday March 12, the Sky News National channel won a 5.2% share of viewing. The FTA produced news channel had a 0.8% share.”

Sky News also said that at certain times it had a bigger audience in all capital city homes, not just those who receive pay TV. It said: “In all metropolitan TV homes… Sky News on Saturday had a greater average audience than the FTA news channel during four separate hours. For example, from 9am-10am on Saturday, Sky News had an audience of 92,000 viewers compared with 86,700 for the other channel.”

Sky News’ comment’s came after criticism of ABC News 24’s decision to run some scheduled archived content rather than switching to rolling news coverage of the disaster.


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