Newcastle’s television viewing habits have always been a little different to the national average. Since aggregation in the early ’90s NBN has maintained its local dominance in defiance of national trends, and we’ve just come to accept that.
But lately the commercial TV viewing habits in Newcastle have been more puzzling than ever. In fact, they are inverse to the national viewing figures. Look at last weeks ratings for example:
Seven 27.0 NBN (Nine affiliate) 31.5
Ten 25.8 SC TEN (TEN affiliate) 22.3
Nine 25.2 Prime (Seven affiliate) 19.9
Why is the affiliate for the nation’s top rating station struggling to 3rd place in Newcastle?
Why is the affiliate for the nation’s 3rd rating station winning by a country mile in Newcastle?
Its probably easier to address NBN’s continued dominance in the face of Nine’s misfortunes. NBN was the incumbent station and has long been the dominant performer. NBN is the only local station to run a full local news service, the high-rating one hour NBN News. Newcastle is a Rugby League town and NBN enjoys healthy ratings during league season for their NRL coverage on Friday nights, Sunday afternoons and The Footy Show.
News is probably the key to the inverted Prime/Seven results too. Three of Channel Seven’s top 10 programs last week were news. Today Tonight was also in the top 10. So clearly news gives Seven a great leg-up each week and delivers audience to their nightly programs.
In Newcastle, Prime doesn’t run a local news and NBN does. While Nine’s national news is not as popular as Seven’s, NBN’s local news is enormously popular. The Seven News that is so powerful nationally is rendered irrelevant in Newcastle against a strong local program.
Meanwhile, TEN / SC TEN tend to fight a different game. Their news is at 5pm and their programming is tailored to a younger demographic.
In previous years when Prime had some very strong nightly content they managed to minimise the lack of local news issue. But currently Seven’s non-news product isn’t rating well (only one non-news program in Top 10) meaning that their affiliate starts well behind and never catches up.
So my viewer inversion theory is that no news is bad news for Prime.
What do you think?