Ten’s first Melbourne Cup drops half a million viewers from 2018

The first Melbourne Cup to air as part of Ten’s $100m deal, which saw the race move from Seven to its new home, has brought in 500,000 fewer metro viewers than 2018’s race. 1.32m metro viewers tuned in to watch the race itself, which was won by Vow and Declare, and 1.13m for the presentation.

In 2018, Seven’s last race brought in 1.836m for the race and 1.439m for the presentation. 2017’s race delivered 1.79m, 2016’s 1.98m and 2015’s 2.06m. According to Ten, the race finished at a later time, with the confirmed metro viewership sitting at 1.44m.

Nationally, 1.76m viewers watched the race and 1.51m the presentation. Ten also reported a further 90,000 viewers live streamed the race on 10 Play – the platform’s biggest live stream audience ever.

Ten’s chief executive officer, Paul Anderson, said: “Network 10’s return to Flemington Racecourse as official broadcaster of the Melbourne Cup Carnival has been an outstanding success and reinforced the Carnival’s position as Australia’s pre-eminent horse racing event.

“The big audiences across all of 10’s platforms highlight that no other sporting event captures the mood and attention of the nation quite like the Lexus Melbourne Cup.

“We are building a very different and unique long-term broadcast partnership with the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) that exists on all platforms and has captured a much younger audience by showcasing all the racing, fashion and entertainment across this iconic carnival,” he said.

The Melbourne Cup was marred somewhat in 2019 by the airing of a 7.30 special investigation in October on the ABC. The dark side of the horse racing industry investigation exposed what happens to racehorses who die in abattoirs and knackeries, and provided extensive data around how many horses die each year in the industry.

More than other years, the fallout from the investigation seemed to impact the willingness of businesses to take part in the traditional Melbourne Cup festivities, with many taking a stand and saying #NupToTheCup. Reportedly, organisers struggled to secure talent, after highly-anticipated headliner Taylor Swift pulled out of the event after backlash, and influencers and reality stars who attended the race were also targeted online.

The mounting yard coverage delivered 830,000 metro viewers, down from 1.241m in 2018.

Ten’s coverage of the event, which began over the weekend for Derby Day and ramped up to the Melbourne Cup race, was spearheaded by Francesca Cumani, who previously worked on Seven’s coverage. She was joined by a variety of Ten talent including Georgia Love, Angela Bishop, Beau Ryan and Scott Tweedie. Peter Moody, David Gately, Michael Felgate, Caty Price and Brittany Taylor were the expert team.

While the race and presentation were the two most-watched programs overall yesterday, in the key advertising demographics of 16-39, 18-49 and 25-54, the race was only top in the youngest. Nine’s The Block, which is in its final week, took the top spot with the 18-49s and 25-54s. 972,000 metro viewers tuned in to watch the renovation show, making it the most-watched non-sporting program for the evening.

848,000 tuned in for Seven News, ahead of Nine’s 825,000. Seven News was also ahead in the national figures with 1.3m above Nine News’ 1.14m.

511,000 metro viewers watched The Amazing Race on Ten and 444,000 tuned in for Bride and Prejudice on Seven during prime-time. ABC’s most-watched program was the news with 665,000 metro viewers and 971,000 national.

Later on, Love Island brought in 315,000 metro viewers on Nine. The Rookie on Seven had 306,000, while One Born Every Minute Australia had 260,000.

The night went to Nine overall with a 23.5% primary channel share and 34.2% as a network. Seven held 15.6% and 24.6%, and Ten 11.1% and 18.1%. ABC held 10.5% and 14.9% as a network. 10 Bold was the most-watched multi-channel with 4.7%.


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