There’s no doubt it’s been an interesting year for the TV networks.
The endless Karl rumours (‘He’s back!’, ‘He’s never coming back!’ with it finally confirmed he is in fact returning to Nine); the landmark House Rules workers compensation case; George, Gary and Matt exiting from MasterChef ; Worner resigning and Warburton taking over and definitely not fattening Seven for sale … indeed, it has been a rather big year in TV land.
And, as the official TV ratings survey period has come to a close, there’s one final piece of interesting news to cap off the year – Nine is celebrating its best rating share performance of all time, winning the year and ending Seven’s 12 years of dominance.
From the major success of Married at First Sight to the smash hit that was Lego Masters, it’s no surprise that Nine topped the year across all key demographics, primary channel and commercial FTA BVOD. It also won the overall program (Sate of Origin first match – 3.23 million nationally) and the number one overall regular program (MAFS – 1.95 million nationally).
That’s not to say the network didn’t have its fair share of woes, namely with its struggling Today breakfast show (197,000 metro viewers), after Karl Stefanovic got the boot last year. However, it wasn’t the only breakfast show to struggle, with Seven’s Sunrise (275,000 metro viewers) also failing to pull a decent audience. In a perhaps both a surprising yet also unsurprising move, Stefanoiv will be back at the helm in 2020, so it will be interesting to see how he does for Nine a year on.
Commenting on the win, Nine’s director of TV Michael Healy said in a note to staff that the network had its “best year ever”.
“No one does Australian content like Nine. Everyone who works in our television business should be immensely proud of the program slate we have built with shows like Married at First Sight that cut through and dominate the national conversation, or Lego Masters – the breakout hit new show of 2019 – and redefined family television.
“Across news, sports, entertainment and drama we should all take great pride in the contribution everyone in television has made to the achievements of this year.
“It sets us up well for cracking 2020 – where we will again have the biggest and best shows in Australia.”
All up, Nine’s FTA channels claimed an audience share of 29.3 per cent, Seven finished the year only marginally behind on 29.0 per cent, followed by 10 (17.2 per cent), ABC (16.5 per cent) and SBS (7.9 per cent).
No doubt Nine’s controversial MAFS pulled the network over the line across metro audiences, but Lego Masters (average metro: 1.393 million/regional: 501,000), Ninja Warrior (average metro: 1.038m/regional: 402,000), The Voice (average metro: 1.027m/regional: 388,000) and The Block (average metro: 1.038m/regional: 371,000) certainly helped as well.
Seven’s My Kitchen Rules (1.35 million nationally) did well for the channel, despite being shrouded in controversy thanks to the landmark workers’ compensation case, while The All New Monty (1.6 million nationally) saw a decent audience pull too.
As we know, Seven’s had a big last few months under the reign of Warburton, namely with the axing of Sunday Night, its acquisition of Prime Media group and offloading its WA assets to SCA, and most recently killing Today Tonight in Perth and Adelaide. Some might suggest the new boss is fixing up the balance sheet for a potential sale, but that’s something SWM chairman Kerry Stokes and Warburton have consistently denied.
Despite all of this, when looking at its content slate, Seven’s head of programming Angus Ross said this year Seven has “a lot to be proud of”.
“7NEWS and 7Sport have delivered dominant results, with 7NEWS, Sunrise, AFL and Cricket all number one this year.
“Next year, we’re going to build on our news and sport foundation, by refreshing existing programs, and adding six new stripped programs focusing on 25-54s to our prime time entertainment schedule: Pooch Perfect, Farmer Wants a Wife, Big Brother, Mega Mini Golf, SAS: Who Dares Wins and Plate of Origin.
He also said through a combination of news, sport and the 2020 Olympics, “Seven will deliver in 2020.”
Unlike the other networks, 10 has consistently remained strong in the audience it caters to, cementing itself as the under 50s network. And, while Nine topped the under 50s demo this year, if the Upfronts are anything to go by, 10’s 2020 content slate is nothing to snuff at, so perhaps we’ll see a comeback from 10 next year.
Not to say its key reality franchises didn’t do well this year – The Bachelor (747,000 overnight metro), The Bachelorette (698,000 overnight metro), Survivor (744,000 overnight metro), The Masked Singer (935,000 overnight metro) and Gogglebox (636,000 overnight metro) – all consistently ranked highly with younger viewers.
10’s chief executive officer Paul Anderson said there’s no doubt 10 has grown this year.
“We are growing, across all our platforms. Our commercial share in under 50s and other key age groups is increasing. Our advertising revenue share is growing. Our digital platforms are posting record audiences.
“Next year, for the first time in our history, we have a true 50-week schedule of known content – content that is familiar, brand-friendly and taps into the younger age groups who are very hard to reach at scale.
“As part of one of the biggest global content creators in the world, we are absolutely focused on making great content that creates conversations beyond the actual broadcast – across digital and social.”
Top 20 programs of the year (nation-wide)
1. State of Origin (1st match), Nine, 3.2 million
2. AFL Grand Final, Seven, 2.96 million
3. State of Origin (3rd match), Nine, 2.9 million
4. State Of Origin (2nd match), Nine, 2.8 million
5. NRL Grand Final, Nine, 2.66 million
6. 2019 Australian Open Men’s Final, Nine, 2.1 million
7. Married At First Sight, Nine, 1.95 million
8. 2019 Melbourne Cup Carnival Race, 10, 1.9 million
9. Lego Masters, Nine, 1.9 million
10. 2019 Australian Open Women’s Final, Nine, 1.6 million
11. Seven News, 1.5 million
12. Seven News Sunday, 1.5 million
13. Ninja Warrior, Nine, 1.4 million
14. Seven News/Today Tonight, 1.4 million
15. The Voice, Nine, 1.4 million
16. The Block, Nine, 1.4 million
17. The All New Monty, Seven, 1.4 million
18. My Kitchen Rules, Seven, 1.35 million
19. The Masked Singer, 10, 1.3 million
20. Nine News Sunday, 1.3 million
TV advertising revenue share 2019
1. Nine: 40.4 per cent
2. Seven: 38.5 per cent
3. 10: 21.1 per cent