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The AFL helps Seven to another nightly win, with 723,000 watching the Giants defeat the Lions

The AFL semi-final between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Brisbane Lions brought 723,000 metro viewers to Seven on Saturday night.

Despite featuring no Melbourne teams, most viewers came from the Victorian capital, with 354,000 tuning in.

And despite getting primary channel treatment in Sydney, only 54,000 tuned in to watch the Western Sydney team advance to the preliminary final. 112,000 tuned in from Brisbane, and a further 103,000 in Adelaide.

The match went to air on multi-channel 7Mate in Perth, where 100,000 tuned in.

With the addition of regional viewers, the AFL had 951,000.

It was also an important night for the NRL on rival Nine.

The elimination final between two Sydney-based teams, the Manly Sea Eagles and the Cronulla Sharks, had a metro audience of 358,000. 216,000 of these were from Sydney watching on Nine’s primary channel. 121,000 tuned in from Brisbane on Nine’s primary channel.

In the less NRL-inclined cities of Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, the match went to air on multi-channels Gem or Go. Just 7,000 in Melbourne, 6,000 in Adelaide and 8,000 in Perth watched the Eagles take on the Sharks.

With the regions included, the NRL elimination final had 585,000.

The earlier qualifying final between Melbourne Storm and Canberra Raiders had 479,000 metro viewers for the Nine Network.

It was most popular in Sydney with 213,000 viewers. 147,000 watched from Brisbane. This match got primary channel treatment in Melbourne, with 97,000 tuning in.

With the addition of regional viewers, the qualifying final between the Storm and Raiders had 760,000.

In addition to the two NRL matches, Nine also had day three of the fifth test of The Ashes.

Nine had a jam-packed sports schedule last night

Depending on the city, and the priority given to the NRL, The Ashes either went to air on Nine’s primary channel (Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth), or Gem (Brisbane and Sydney).

Session one had a metro audience of 297,000. It was most popular in Melbourne with 121,000.

Session one’s total audience including the regions was 430,000.

Session two had a metro audience of 298,000. Again, it was most popular in Melbourne with 138,000.

Session two, however, saw a drop off in the regions, with a total figure of 397,000.

With the Seven and Nine Networks battling it out with sport, it was a quiet night for Ten.

Its most-watched program was 10 News First, with 233,000 metro viewers. It totalled 340,000 with the addition of the regions.

During prime-time, Ten screened a re-run of the 1992 film Sister Act to 209,000 metro viewers and 133,000 in the regions (totalling 342,000).

Last week, in the absence of the cancelled Saturday Night Rove, Ten screened 2004’s Shrek 2 to just 157,000 metro viewers. This was, however, higher than the 138,000 episode two of Saturday Night Rove generated.

Ten’s attempts to revamp its Saturday night line-up has yet to pay dividends 

Last week, Ten had a primary channel share of just 4.8%, which jumped slightly this week to 6.5%.

Ten’s 6.5% share, however, was still below the ABC’s 8.6% last night.

Ten’s CEO Paul Anderson recently admitted to Mumbrella Saturday nights posed a real problem for the network.

“We’re the first to acknowledge that Saturday nights are just a very difficult night and no-one is more disappointed that Rove didn’t work than we are,” said Anderson.

“We do have various plans, we had hoped Rove would be part of that, he’s been part of our network for a long time, but it’s hard and I think the environment we all operate in is hard and Saturday night is more difficult and we do need to be different given the sport that’s on the other channels.”

Overall last night, the strength of the AFL and chart-topping Seven News (907,000 metro and 1.35m total), helped Seven’s primary channel to a wining 24.9% share. Its best-performing multi-channel, 7Mate, had 5.3%.

In total, the Seven Network won the night with 37.1%.

Seven continues to lean on the AFL for strong ratings

Nine News had just 319,000 metro viewers, and 451,000 in total. The unusually low number for Nine News was driven by its much earlier screening time (4:30pm in some cities) to make way for its jam-packed sports line-up.

Nine’s primary channel placed second with 20.0%, and the network had 31.2%.

Ten’s primary channel share of 6.5% lifted to 11.1% with the addition of the multi-channels.

The ABC had 8.6% and 13.1% for the network, while SBS had 4.6% and 7.5%.

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