The recent unsavoury press surrounding the treatment of racehorses appears to have resulted in a sharp fall in viewer numbers for yesterday’s Melbourne Cup.
According to OzTAM metro numbers, some 1.324 million people watched the race proper, with a further 1.113 million hanging about for the Cup presentation. While 830,000 watched the jockeys and horses in the mounting yard prior to the race.
However, it should be noted these numbers don’t include the millions of people who also watched the race in pubs and clubs.
A quick look at the Cup’s viewer numbers over the past few years does show a steady decline in interest in the “race that stops the nation”.
In 2015, the race attracted 2.07 million viewers, 2016 had a neat two million, 2017 had 1.8 million and 2018 pulled 1.84 million.
Host broadcaster 10 – who snared the rights to this year’s event away from Seven in a five-year, $100 million in September 2018 – would undoubtedly be smarting by the dramatic fall in viewer interest, despite the still very significant eyeballs and sponsors the race brings.
Network 10 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.
Network 10 chief content officer, Beverley McGarvey, said: “Network 10 is the natural home of the Lexus Melbourne Cup and we are delighted that so many Australians engaged with our extensive, multi-platform coverage.
“Thanks to everyone at the VRC, our sponsors – Lexus, Zyrtec, Myer, Harvey Norman, TAB, Kennedy and G.H. Mumm – and all the very talented people at 10 who made this year’s Cup such a success.”
Not that it really translated to audience share for 10. According to OzTAM viewership numbers, 10 pulled 18.1 per cent of all of yesterday’s eyeballs (all channels). The network soundly beaten by Nine with 34.2 per cent and Seven with 24.6 per cent. The ABC had 14.9 per cent and SBS did 8.2 per cent.
In the rest of the days TV news, The Block continued its dominant ways, managing 972,000 last night.
Seven’s 6pm news pulled 839,000 to Nine’s 825,000. ACA did 764,000.
Post The Cup, 10’s evening went this way: The Amazing Race (511,000), The Project (444,000) and 10 News First (430,000).
Seven did well with Home And Away (528,000), The Chase (477,000), Bride And Prejudice (444,000) and The Rookie (306,000).
Over at 7Mate, Fat Pizza returned to 147,000.
In the battle of breakfast, Sunrise (284,000) trolleyed Today (179,000).
Best for the ABC was its 7pm news (665,000), 7.30 (504,000) and Prince Charles: Inside The Duchy Of Cornwall (375,000).
SBS’s best was Insight wth 219,000.