Melbourne Cup viewing figures up, but far from impressive

The Melbourne Cup has pulled up lame this year, proving Ten correct in its assessment to say ‘nup’ to the cup by scratching itself from the race for future broadcasting rights.

The crowds returned to Flemington, following last year’s weather wash-out. 84,492 people went through the gates yesterday, a 14.5% jump from last year’s crowd of 73,816, and the biggest crowd since 2017.

TV viewership also rose from last year’s record low, as questions continue regarding the Melbourne Cup’s media value.

Last year, the Melbourne Cup drew 1.024 million viewers across the capital cities, with 1.35 million viewers, nationally. This was the lowest viewership in two decades.

This year, the Cup drew 1.11 million viewers across the five capital cities, and 1.68 million nationally (including streaming), easily topping the Tuesday ratings. The total national race audience was up 12% from last year’s low, while the metro TV audience was up 8%.

National audiences are still below those of 2021, however, which saw 1.695 million viewers drawn to the Cup. Viewership across the five capital cities is also below the 2021 race – which pulled 1.21 million.

The broadcasting future of the Cup is in peril, and these figures won’t help.

Ten announced in late June that it had “declined Tabcorp and the Victoria Racing Club’s invitation to progress further in the process to secure broadcast rights for the Melbourne Cup Carnival”, due to Tabcorp’s draconian advertising and broadcasting demands.

“Throughout the course of the current negotiations, it became clear that the nature of the agreement between Tabcorp and the VRC would require a move towards a core racing and wagering-focused broadcast product,” a Ten spokesperson said at the time.

“Given this likely change in focus combined with commercial constraints of the future agreement, Network 10 considered the preferences of its viewers and advertisers, and politely declined to move forward with the process.”

Enough said.

Elsewhere on the box, The Masked Singer reveal drew 594,000 across the capital cities for Ten, beating narrowly pipped at the post by A Current Affair, which drew 596,000 (which seems a bit unfair, given ACA focused heavily on Melbourne Cup coverage).

Overall, Nine won the evening, taking 31.1% of the audiences, comfortably beating Seven (23.8%), Ten (20.7%), and ABC (15.5%).

If Ten’s overall numbers seem low, compared to the domination seen in the below chart, this is simply because the overall share counts ‘prime-time’ figures in capital cities, only, which starts at 6pm.

The winner of the Melbourne Cup was, of course, Tabcorp.



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