The Labor leadership tussle played second fiddle to the State of Origin last night, with the rugby match engrossing Australians more than Canberra’s power-struggles.
More than 2.23 million Australian’s watched Queensland defeat New South Wales last night, according to OzTam’s preliminary metro ratings. But the result is down on the previous match's result of 2.433 million.
The Labor leadership spill wreaked havoc with scheduling last night, with the preliminary ratings not taking into account pre-emptions and delayed broadcasts which occurred across all commercial networks.
For example, on Nine The Block Sky High and A Current Affair were pre-empted to make way for extended news coverage with a double episode of the reno show scheduled for tonight instead.
Nine’s news coverage continued until just six-minutes before Kevin Rudd’s victory was announced to make way for State of Origin.
Viewers were asked to switch to Nine’s other channel, GEM, to keep up with the leadership spill but the majority didn’t. The 1.77 million people watching what was booked-in as Nine’s pre-match coverage ballooned to more than 2.2 million for the game.
Seven made a similar move in Melbourne at least, where Home and Away and House Rules replaced live political reporting with viewers asked to switch to Seven’s digital channel to keep up with developments in Canberra.
The programs were interrupted with news updates including former Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s speech.
Nine won the night overall, as its main channel won 33.2% of all free-to-air viewers. Seven’s main channel took 16.1%, ahead of Ten’s 10%, the ABC’s 14.3% and SBS’ 2.1%.