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Seven wins the ratings year again, but the margin is narrowing

News, RatingsKevin Perry

My Kitchen Rules finishes 2015 as Australia's nb1 series
image supplied/Seven

The 2015 ratings year concluded over the weekend with the Seven Network taking the title of the most viewed network for Total People for the ninth consecutive year in a row, but the margin is narrowing with the Nine Network narrowly winning key demographics of People 25-54, 18-49 and 16-39.

Nine also had the greatest share of Total People in Sydney (30.4%) and Brisbane (28.9%). In Melbourne, Nine wraps the year with a 28.3% share of Total People, just behind Seven’s 28.8%. Ten and SBS were the only networks to grow their network share in 2015, with Seven, Nine and ABC feeling the effects of increased competition from the newly launched SVOD services.

Combined Network Share - Wks 7-48, 2015 (excludes Summer, Easter) Metro, 1800-2400 Data: Consolidated (Live + As Live + TSV) prior Wk 48, Overnight (Live + As Live) Wk 48

Nine had the three highest rating events of the year (see chart below) with the networks rugby league coverage again providing massive audiences. For Seven, My Kitchen Rules continues to dominate the television landscape as the most watched reality series, and 800 Words was the most-watched drama series.

Nine’s 6pm News service also finished the year as the most watched news service with wins in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Seven continue to dominate the Adelaide and Perth Markets.

Nine recorded an average nightly 5 City audience of 1.057 million, compared to 991,000 for Seven News – an average lead of 66,000 viewers each weeknight (more than double the average margin of 28,000 viewers in 2014).

Nine News 6.30pm also won the 2015 ratings year, posting an average week night audience of 1.024 million across the five mainland capitals, compared to 942,000 for Seven News/Today Tonight – an average lead of 82,000 viewers each week night (double the average margin of 41,000 viewers each week night in 2014).

In the world of breakfast television, Sunrise won the yearly survey for the twelfth consecutive year, but the margin is narrowing with Today increased its audience year-on-year by 3.1% to record an average 5 City audience of 304,000, while Sunrise went backwards by 6.8% (329,000). Today won the breakfast battle in Sydney, tied in Brisbane and posted growth in Adelaide (up 22.9% year-on-year).

Commenting on the 2015 win, Seven’s Director of Programming, Angus Ross, said:

"We're delighted to be the most watched network in a competitive year. We head to 2016 in great shape. We have key franchises, we have successfully launched new programmes. The Chase is a success and momentum is with Seven News.
We are about creating great content and our portfolio of new programmes and the Olympic Games in Rio will see us deliver again in 2016."

Seven’s Director of Production, Brad Lyons, adding

"The success of two major mini-series, Catching Milat and Peter Allen, the success of My Kitchen Rules and House Rules, and launching two new drama series - Winter and 800 Words - is extraordinarily gratifying and reinforces our belief in investing in and committing ourselves to Australian production. The breakout success of The Chase must be acknowledged. We are not resting on our laurels. There is more to come. Watch this space."

Michael Healy, Director of Television for the Nine Network, said:

“We finish this year having achieved precisely what we set out to do. That is, to maintain our position as Australia’s leading network with the key demographics we target and the ones preferred by advertisers. Our strategy is bang on target. It is enormously gratifying to achieve this result for the fourth consecutive year.”

It was a much-improved year for Network Ten which ended 2015 with its highest prime time commercial share (18.8%) since 2011. Newly appointed Network Ten Chief Executive Officer, Paul Anderson, said:

“Growth, momentum, consistency and innovation are at the heart of our strategic direction and we delivered strong results in all four areas this year.
We have finished 2015 with our biggest network and main channel prime time audience in years.
We are the only primary commercial channel and the only commercial network to increase their prime time audiences this year, and TEN has seen 25 to 54s audience growth in two thirds of the 63 half-hours that make up prime time each week,”

Ten’s Chief Programming Officer, Beverley McGarvey, adding:

“Successfully launching five new local series in one year is an outstanding result. At the same time, our key existing local shows increased their audiences, dominated their timeslots, or both.
MasterChef Australia attracted more viewers in its seventh season, which is an amazing result, and we were very happy to see other established series build their audiences year on year,”

It was a good year for SBS with the network growing its audience share to 6.2% across its channels. SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid telling Decider TV:

“It has been a strong 2015 for SBS.  Our TV audience reach is now at 12.7 million Australians per month and our average TV audience is up 10 per cent year-on-year. This is a great achievement. We have started big conversations with programs that explore and celebrate what it means to be Australian today with landmark series such as First Contact, the third series of Go Back to Where You Came From, Struggle Street, flagship drama The Principal, and Kebab Kings.
Our premium acquired dramas such as Masters of Sex and Fargo, continue to appeal to audiences as do our flagship event moments including Eurovision, the Tour de France and Mardi Gras.  It sets us up well for a strong 2016 with engaging and relevant content and most importantly, that point of difference which makes us unique.”

A spokesperson for the ABC was unavailable for comment at the time of publication. Audience levels for the ABC were slightly lower than the 2014 average finishing the year with a 17.6% share across its channels.