SYDNEY — Australia’s OzTam TV ratings year has reached the halfway point. While the terrestrial webs are talking up their perfs, the real winners are payboxes, which have seen auds rise 13% to a total viewing figure of nearly 16%.
In a country known for its love of sports, feevee auds were at their highest during live televised rugby matches, thanks to the Six Nations tourney earlier in the year and the current Tri Nations competition.
However, actual viewing numbers remain small. Pay TV platform Foxtel had 998,000 subscribers as of March 31, up 13,000 on the previous quarter.
In contrast, auds for terrestrial TV have fallen by 2%, with the ABC suffering most; pubcaster was off 8% for the first six months of the year.
The terrestrial webs have fought a fierce ratings war, with traditional winner Nine given an early bloody nose by rival Seven, which started strong with boffo imports “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost” but has since lost ground.
Nine leads with a 30.3% audience share, beating Seven’s 24.6% and Ten’s 23.2%. Ten remains the web of choice for younger auds, winning three of the first five surveys for 18- to 39-year-olds.
Seven has improved on last year’s figures, with local hits like “Border Security” helping the strong U.S. skeins. Seven’s primetime aud was up 13%, while Nine dipped by 7% and Ten fell by 9%.
Ten has had only one show in the Top 10 for 2005 so far: the “Everybody Loves Raymond” finale drew 2.06 million viewers. The rest of the list is carved up between Seven and Nine. Seven takes top spot with the local version of Stateside hit “Dancing With the Stars.”
Trends for the six months show a weakness in U.S. police procedurals such as the “CSI” franchise; soft ratings in sitcoms, with “Joey” faring poorly for Nine (only the final season of “Frasier” has bucked this trend); and a big improvement by multicultural broadcaster SBS, with auds up 6% overall.