Even though most of us are living in a world where streaming is a big part of our lives, broadcast TV is still massive and, unlike streaming, can react to viewers almost immediately. But they’re not just guessing about what people are watching – TV networks are expensive things to run, and to make sure that advertisers get what they’re paying for, a real measure of viewer numbers is needed.
That’s where the official TV ratings come in. If you’ve ever wondered why your favourite show moved to a new time slot or a different day, or disappeared entirely, chances are it was because of the results of the official ratings that showed exactly how many people were watching it. Ratings numbers are delivered to TV networks regularly – once weekly, there are now daily and even hourly reports, thanks to advances in technology. For many years, these ratings reports were kept largely secret. From time to time you’d hear about a show doing well in the ratings, or failing to pull viewers in. But the up-to-date results were only available to the networks. That’s not the case anymore, though, and on these pages you’ll be able to browse through the latest TV ratings across a range of categories, updated every day so you know exactly what’s getting the attention of viewers.
The Research Behind the Ratings
Years ago, ratings were collected by sending out paper “diaries” to selected viewers, who would be asked to write down what shows they watched and on which channels. In those days, it was all about “who’s watching what”. The huge changes in how we watch TV thanks to technology, though, have meant that ratings need to be measured differently. Now, there are several different elements that feed into the ratings system – including pay TV, time-shifting (like catch-up TV or recordings on a DVR).
It’s a complex system that’s actually not that hard to understand – check out the links below for detailed information about how the system works:
In this report of Australian TV ratings, we look at the following categories:
Top 20 Consolidated 28 Programs
|Rank||Description (grouped)||Channel\Network||Consolidated 28||Consolidated 7||Overnight||000s Increase on Consolidated 7||000s Increase on Overnight|
|1||SEVEN NEWS||Seven Network||1,162,000||1,162,000||1,160,000||0||1,000|
|2||SEVEN NEWS / TODAY TONIGHT||Seven Network||1,096,000||1,096,000||1,093,000||0||3,000|
|3||THE VOICE -MON||Nine||1,033,000||1,026,000||962,000||8,000||72,000|
|5||NINE NEWS 6:30||Nine||968,000||968,000||967,000||0||2,000|
|6||A CURRENT AFFAIR||Nine||837,000||835,000||821,000||2,000||16,000|
|7||HAVE YOU BEEN PAYING ATTENTION?||Network 10||809,000||805,000||673,000||3,000||135,000|
|9||HOME AND AWAY||Seven Network||776,000||768,000||727,000||7,000||49,000|
|10||HOUSE RULES – MON||Seven Network||734,000||723,000||668,000||11,000||66,000|
|12||MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA MON||Network 10||693,000||675,000||600,000||17,000||93,000|
|14||THE CHASE AUSTRALIA||Seven Network||635,000||634,000||633,000||1,000||2,000|
|20||THE PROJECT 7PM||Network 10||488,000||488,000||486,000||0||3,000|
Daily Free-to-Air Share
All Free-to-Air Channels
|Channel||Overnight 17/06/2019||Consolidated 7 10/06/2019||Consolidated 28 20/05/2019|
Top 20 Programs
All free-to-air Multi Channels
|Rank||Description (grouped)||Channel\Market||(r) 5 City Metro||Sydney||Melbourne||Brisbane||Adelaide||Perth|
|9||SCHOOL OF ROARS-PM||ABCKIDS/COMEDY||156,000||24,000||48,000||44,000||18,000||22,000|
|10||ANDY’S SAFARI ADVENTURES-EV||ABCKIDS/COMEDY||154,000||24,000||49,000||38,000||20,000||22,000|
|11||MOLLY AND MACK-PM||ABCKIDS/COMEDY||152,000||20,000||45,000||42,000||23,000||21,000|
|14||BOB THE BUILDER-PM||ABCKIDS/COMEDY||142,000||22,000||44,000||25,000||25,000||26,000|
|16||SPICKS AND SPECKS-EV||ABCKIDS/COMEDY||133,000||24,000||30,000||37,000||26,000||17,000|
|17||M- AVATAR-PM (R)||7mate||130,000||34,000||44,000||20,000||10,000||22,000|
|19||LAW & ORDER: SVU EP 2 RPT||10 Bold||126,000||41,000||31,000||24,000||15,000||15,000|
Top 20 Consolidated 28 Programs
All Subscription Channels
|Rank||Description||Channel\Market||Consolidated 28||Consolidated 7||Overnight||000s Increase on Consolidated 7||000s Increase on Overnight|
|1||GAME OF THRONES||FOX SHOWCASE||333,000||332,000||331,000||1,000||2,000|
|2||GAME OF THRONES||FOX SHOWCASE||245,000||244,000||243,000||1,000||2,000|
|3||GAME OF THRONES||FOX SHOWCASE||232,000||231,000||230,000||1,000||2,000|
|4||THE BOLT REPORT||Sky News Live||113,000||113,000||110,000||0||4,000|
|5||PAUL MURRAY LIVE||Sky News Live||106,000||106,000||102,000||0||3,000|
|6||CREDLIN||Sky News Live||88,000||88,000||87,000||0||1,000|
|7||GAME OF THRONES||FOX SHOWCASE||86,000||86,000||85,000||0||1,000|
|8||LIVE: AFL 360||FOX FOOTY||82,000||82,000||81,000||0||1,000|
|9||GAME OF THRONES||FOX SHOWCASE||81,000||81,000||81,000||0||0|
|10||KENNY ON MEDIA||Sky News Live||73,000||73,000||72,000||0||1,000|
|11||SPEERS||Sky News Live||72,000||72,000||72,000||0||0|
|12||PML LATER||Sky News Live||71,000||71,000||67,000||0||4,000|
|13||LIVE: ON THE COUCH||FOX FOOTY||70,000||70,000||65,000||0||5,000|
|14||GAME OF THRONES||FOX SHOWCASE||68,000||68,000||68,000||0||0|
|15||THRONES 360: LIVE||FOX SHOWCASE||64,000||64,000||57,000||0||7,000|
|16||LIVE: NRL 360||FOX LEAGUE||61,000||61,000||59,000||0||2,000|
|17||LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER||COMEDY CHANNEL||55,000||55,000||37,000||0||19,000|
|20||THRONES 360: LIVE||FOX8||46,000||46,000||35,000||0||11,000|
About the OzTAM Ratings System
Working out the viewer numbers for Australian free to air and pay TV channels is a complex task made much more accurate by advances in technology. Today the OzTAM ratings, an acronym for ‘Australian Television Audience Measurement’, measures actual television viewing in 5,250 homes all around Australia, with an additional 2,120 homes being monitored for their viewing of pay TV such as broadcast giant Foxtel. While it might seem like a small number of homes to monitor compared to the size of the Australian population, statistically it’s more than efficient to get an accurate picture of who’s watching what and when. Compared to other countries’ TV ratings systems, OzTAM uses one of the largest number of households in the world compared to the total population size, making it incredibly accurate.
The TV Ratings Process
Because the ratings data being collected directly reflects what each household in the survey is watching, OzTAM installs a special device in the homes of those selected to be a part of the ratings panel. Known as Unitam, the device is better-known to some as a “people meter”. This clever little device can monitor and record a full range of information about the channels and shows being watched, as well as who’s watching them. All the household members need to do is “check in” with a remote control when they start watching (as do any guests who happen to be there at the time). From that point on, they watch TV as normal, and Unitam silently captures the details of what’s being watched in the background whether tuned into Network Seven, Nine, Ten, ABC, SBS or the subscription based Fox Sports channel. The date and time, how long shows are watched for, and even whether individual TVs are switched on or off is all captured, along with the audio from the watched channel so the correct shows can be identified.
Each night, Unitam “phones home” to OzTAM headquarters, uploading all of that day’s viewing data. Then, sophisticated software takes over, processing the data to identify what was being watched – not just the show, but whether it was a time-shifted recording of that show. The system can identify shows watched (from devices such as Foxtel iQ or Fetch TV) up to four weeks later.
By the morning, the results of the previous day’s surveys are ready to be released – outlining minute-by-minute ratings numbers for each channel and show. Those numbers are further refined that afternoon, when the television broadcasters supply the actual broadcast times of the night’s shows so any that ran overtime can be taken into account. Those ratings, based on what are called Confirmed times, are the most accurate, and are released the following day.
The Ratings Panel
Selection of homes to take part in OzTAM ratings is the result of a survey of thousands of homes across Australia each year. Any home can be selected and interviewed, and from those results a pool of 5,250 homes is chosen in the five largest cities. A separate pool of homes is chosen for regional ratings (3,198 homes) while for pay TV ratings, 2,120 homes are chosen from both the metropolitan and regional pools.
The exact requirements for being accepted as a ratings household are kept secret – and change from year to year – to make sure the results represent a true sample of the Australian TV viewing audience, across many different age groups and economic backgrounds.
Those chosen to be on the OzTAM panel can stay for up to four years – though they can leave at any time if they no longer want to take part in the survey.
Terms Used in the Ratings Reports
There’s a lot of “industry lingo” used in the official ratings, as you’ll see when you browse the results. While much of it is straightforward, there are some terms that are well worth explaining:
Consolidated 7 and Consolidated 28
These numbers include not just TV watched live, but also include viewings of recordings of shows later that night, within the following seven days or during the four weeks after broadcast. Those numbers are all brought together to give a much more accurate picture of how many people watched a show using technology like DVRs as well as the basic time-shifting features found on some TVs.
5 City Metro
These numbers extract just the viewers from the ratings homes in the five major capital cities that are surveyed – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
Subscription TV – basically, any form of TV that requires payment to view. In most cases, that simply refers to Fetch TV and more importantly Foxtel. Note that it doesn’t include paid streaming services like Netflix and Stan, or “catch-up” streaming services.
While it might sound straightforward, the “overnight” viewership figure is the least accurate – as it doesn’t include playback of recorded shows watched after 2am the following morning and doesn’t yet incorporate the time schedule corrections sent by the various TV networks to OzTAM the following day. It does, however, give an incredibly fast basic idea of how many people watched exactly what the previous night. If you see media referring to “the overnights,” that refers to these numbers.
Reading the Ratings
Armed with the terms above, interpreting the ratings data is pretty simple. OzTAM can dig deep into their data to reveal information like the exact times of day the numbers cover, whether shows were repeats or first-run episodes, and even drilling down into the hard data that advertisers want to know, such as the viewing habits of the household’s main grocery buyer (who’s referred to as the “MGB”!)
The numbers you’ll see on these pages will give you a more general overview of what rated well overnight, as well as a longer-term look at how shows did when 7-day and 28 day playback numbers come in. For many shows, it’s that delayed playback that can make all the difference, with some shows more than others tending to be watched later from recordings rather than live as they air.
Latest Australia TV Ratings News
© OzTAM Pty Limited 2019. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM. Program performance and ranking information subject to change when not based on final program logs. Ranking information is for individual episodes. Includes Preliminary data.