The Nine Network has won the television ratings battle for the second year in a row with the recent finale of The Block, and Married at First Sight, proving strong in 2020.
It’s rival, the Seven Network, saw robust audience share growth in the second half of the year, up 3.5 percentage points in the ‘total people’ demographic, alongside the 80 per cent growth of 7plus, the launch of new-look Big Brother, and the release of SAS Australia.
Seven West Media managing director and chief executive James Warburton said the network’s new content-led strategy had produced strong results this year.
“The great performance of Big Brother, Farmer Wants A Wife, SAS Australia, 7NEWS, the AFL and more drove strong growth in our audiences in the key demographics of 25–54s and 16–39s during the second half of 2020,” Warburton said in a statement.
“We’ve shown only glimpse of our best this year and that got us to about half a percentage point from being the most watched network in the country.
“Next year we will have all our returning hits, big new shows, the content that was delayed this year because of COVID, our first-class Olympics coverage, our winning news and sport schedules, and a few surprises we haven’t revealed yet. Bring on 2021.”
The network joined Nine in claiming it clinched the burgeoning free-to-air BVOD market, but both used different metrics to maintain they won.
The overall winner, however, was Nine, with the network accounting for 27.7 per cent of the free-to-air TV total evening metropolitan market, followed by Seven at 27.2 per cent, and Ten at 18 per cent.
It represents a drop from last year’s ratings for Nine and Seven, which finished 2019 with a 29.3 per cent and 29 per cent share of the free-to-air market, respectively, but an increase for Ten—closing last year’s rankings for this segment with a market share of 17.2 per cent.
But Nine still maintained a more than 3 per cent lead over Seven in the coveted 25–54 demographic.
Commenting on the win, Nine’s chief sales officer Michael Stephenson told B&T: “The results we’re talking about today are the results of five years of focus and hard work.
“We’ve been completely focused on the key advertising demographics, the things that matter to advertisers. But, most importantly, we’ve been focused on how we deliver them across every platform … to create a total television universe,” he said.
Meanwhile, public broadcasters the ABC and SBS improved both of their audience shares for 2020, up two and 1.1 percentage points, respectively, to 18.4 per cent and 1.1 per cent.
In terms of the top entertainment programs for the year, Nine had nine of its programs in the list, with the finales of Lego Masters and, most recently, The Block welcoming a combined metro and regional viewership of 2.234 million and 2.371 million for total people, respectively.
These were followed by the finale of Ten’s MasterChef Australia, which attracted a combined metro and regional viewership of 2.084 million.
Eight of the top 10 sports programs also belonged to Nine, such as the NRL Grand Final—which attracted 2.1 million viewers—alongside three State of Origin matches, and day eight of the Australian Open.
The top spot, however, belonged to Seven’s AFL Grand Final, which attracted 3.864 million people.
Seven also won on breakfast television with Sunrise winning every day of the survey year, for the second year in a row, with 7NEWS likewise winning every week of the survey year.
Nine’s Today Show has, however, made in-roads throughout the year across key demographics on the Eastern Seaboard, with the network claiming the show is tied at 20 weeks each with Sunrise in Brisbane.
Meanwhile, Ten welcomed five of the top 10 television programs in the under 50s demographic: MasterChef, The Masked Singer, Have You Been Paying Attention, I’m A Celebrity, and Australian Survivor: All Stars. With new judges, MasterChef Australia was a big hit with audiences, up 46 per cent in terms of viewership, recording its biggest audience since 2016.
Overall, Ten took 29.7 per cent of the under 50s market, representing a share increase of 3.7 percentage points from 2019, alongside a 3.1 per cent increase in 25 to 54s, +3.5 per cent in 16 to 39s, and +3.8 in 18 to 49s.
You can check out a week-by-week breakdown of the linear TV shares for each of the major networks, below.
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