Ten’s share slips to just 8.3% on Friday night as it struggles without Big Bash cricket

Ten’s share of the television viewing audience fell to just 8.3% on Friday night as it struggled against the news offerings from rivals Seven and Nine, and its former saving grace over the summer months, the Big Bash League, which now resides on Seven.

The poor performance comes despite Ten insisting it would continue to stack its programming slate with strong content throughout the non-ratings period to make up for its lack of sport.

The Big Bash was previously a ratings winner for Ten

In previous summers, Ten has relied on short-form cricket format the Big Bash League to secure strong ratings. Ten lost the rights to the Big Bash in a sporting rights shake-up which now sees Seven and subscription television service Foxtel broadcast the various cricket formats.

Last night on Seven, the highest-rating session of the Big Bash between the Sydney Thunder and Melbourne Stars had 578,000 metro viewers, according to OzTAM’s preliminary overnight metro ratings. With the addition of regional figures, this climbed to 855,000.

Ten’s prime-time offering of Jamie’s Quick & Easy Christmas had just 262,000 metro viewers and 358,000 nationally.

Ten has been left without a sport to plug its summer programming holes, but chief content officer Beverley McGarvey said the network had a plan in place to operate with strong programs across 50 weeks of the year, instead of just the 40 weeks which constitute the official ratings period.

McGarvey said at Advertising Week in August that the focus would be on domestic entertainment formats.

“Obviously we were very disappointed with how the cricket played out at the time,” she said back in August. “We will invest that money [that Ten would have spent on cricket rights] into domestic entertainment.

“So what we have said publicly, and what we are doing, is we will program a full domestic entertainment schedule about 50 weeks a year… So we will effectively take a few weeks off at Christmas and go hard against sport the rest of the year – which benefits the audience. If you want to watch the cricket or the tennis, great, there’s a big audience for that – we’ll do something different.”

McGarvey also noted at the time that increased competition from streaming services and changing viewer habits, mean local TV networks can no longer rely on international drama formats to bring in sizeable audiences – like Ten used to with NCIS.

“There’s always something good to watch, there’s always somewhere else to go, so it forces us all to be better,” she said. “I think the quality of content across the board has actually got better – if you’re a consumer and you’re part of the audience, you will have really good choices. There’s something for you basically all of the time, so it’s forced us all to be better at what we do,” she said.

McGarvey: Disappointed with how the cricket rights battle played out 

“What works for us is big entertainment, mass-appeal content – good stories about Australian people really well told. That works for us. And, you know, five years ago, probably you would have seen more international products on the main schedule than you do now.”

This was not the case for Ten last night, however, with its top-rating program being the newly-revamped Ten News First, which pulled in 375,000 metro viewers and 503,000 across the country.

The Project’s first half hour at 6:30pm had 197,000 metro viewers (298,000 nationally), which climbed to 294,000 at 7pm (or 407,000 nationally).

Nine’s prime-time offering of A Legendary Christmas with John Legend also struggled against the cricket on Seven, with just 234,000 metro viewers and 310,000 nationally, however the network was propped up by its earlier news offering.

Nine News narrowly won the news battle in the metro markets, with 801,000 viewers, compared to Seven’s 796,000. The rankings switched with the addition of regional viewers, with Seven taking out the win (1.170m) over Nine (1.023m).

In the breakfast battle, ongoing intrigue and scrutiny surrounding ousted host Karl Stefanovic wasn’t enough for Nine’s Today to beat Seven’s Sunrise. Today had 231,000 metro viewers, compared to Sunrise’s 259,000, although Today was the clear winner in Sydney (77,000 compared to 64,000). On a national level, Sunrise was also victorious, clocking up 463,000 over Today’s 338,000.

Overall, cricket and news helped Seven to an easy victory with a 20.7% share for its primary channel, over Nine’s 16.3%. The ABC placed third on 13.5%, while Ten languished in fourth on 8.3%. SBS had 6.2% of the audience.

The most-watched multi-channel on Friday night was Ten Bold (formerly Ten Boss), with 4.3% of the audience, but even that was not enough to rearrange the rankings on a network basis.

Seven Network won the night with a commanding 32.2%, while Nine Network was on 24.8%. ABC Network had 19.3%, while Ten had 14.6% and SBS 9.1%.

The ABC has beaten Ten on a primary channel and network basis every day of the ratings week so far (Sunday through to Friday).


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