News Ratings Richard CraillRichard Craill March 1, 2021 (Comments off) (622)

TV RATINGS: Strong start for new era on 7

THE NEW era of Supercars TV coverage has had a solid start – but it is clear that the growing influence of streaming means the full picture won’t truly be known for some time.

Channel Seven’s return to the sport saw very solid numbers on Saturday and Sunday – both an improvement on what Channel 10 delivered for Races 1 and 2 of the 2020 season twelve months ago.

The Seven Network hailed their ratings performances in an official release here.

Fox Sport’s numbers were down on both days, however we suspect this points more to a shifting streaming audience than it does a lack of interest in people watching from the Subscription TV provider.

The fact that both Kayo Sports and 7plus were streaming the action for free, without commercial breaks, from Mount Panorama means that a substantial audience is likely to have forgone the traditional means of taking in their favourite sport for watching on a digital device.

And because streaming numbers are not included in the daily TV ratings report released publicly – the numbers are generally only provided by the broadcaster themselves – we can only guess as to the audience watching digitally.

Still, the numbers are far from disappointing; Saturday’s season-opener was the largest in at least five years and Sunday’s race a healthy gain on the 2020 opener.

RACE 1

CHANNEL Seven’s first foray back into Supercars launched with 286,000 watching Race 1.

It was the 10th most-watched program on free-to-air TV on Saturday and represented an improvement of 28% over the figure scored by Channel 10 last year from the Adelaide 500.

221,000 stuck around to watch the podium while 198,000 watched the build-up on Seven.

Race 1 was easily the most-watched product on Subscription TV on Saturday with 14 of the top-20 programs Supercars’ Bathurst coverage.

144,000 watched on Fox Sports, taking the total metro audience to 430,000.

That’s the largest to watch a season opener since the 2016 Adelaide 500 Saturday race, watched by 445,000.

A further 234,000 watched the Channel 7 coverage regionally, taking the Race 1 total to over 660,000 (a massive 100,000 up on 2020).

RACE 2

A slightly larger 290,000 watched Race 2 on the screens of Seven in the capital cities, while the 170,000 watching on Fox Sports took the total metro audience to 460,000.

However, a massive 250,000 watching regionally pushed the total to 710,000 – 5 per cent higher than the full audience that watched the 2020 Season opener in Adelaide.

Seven’s broad reach across Australia was shown by the substantial non-metro area audiences watching – almost 40% higher across both days than 2020.

That the numbers are up so significantly in the ‘heartland’ for the sport will be of serious interest.

While the capital city numbers gain all the attention, the broad audience in places Supercars visits – Darwin, Townsville, Tasmania, Country Victoria, Country New South Wales – is vital and a major reason the sport gains governmental support for those events.

Supercars dominated on Fox Sports, filling the top 12 most-watched shows of the day. The Dunlop Series (122,000) and Touring Car Masters (107,000) will be particularly pleased with their respective audiences.

STREAMING IMPACT

IT has never been easier to stream a Supercars race than right now.

Something of a war over the Supercars streaming rights erupted prior to Bathurst when Kayo announced they would be providing the opening round of the championship via their new ‘Kayo Freebies’ inituative.

Predictably, Channel 7 didn’t much like that and reports emerged over the weekend that the outcome was a renegotiated deal between the network and Supercars.

Ironically, the spat was a good outcome for fans: As well as chosing between 7Plus or Kayo to watch, Seven confirmed that their streaming coverage would be commercial-break free for the Bathurst weekend – essentially mirroring what Foxtel / Kayo offers.

As always, full streaming figures are provided by the networks themselves – and not the TV ratings monitoring companies – so we’ll have to wait for those.

But it’s very, very reasonable to assume that a very healthy audience was watching the action at the weekend via either platform.

Seven claimed that more than four million minutes were streamed via their 7Plus platform across the weekend, including 978,000 minutes for Sunday’s race alone.

TRT had a stab at analysing the Supercars’ digital audience last year.

TRT will report on the figures from Kayo and 7Plus once they are made available.


SOURCES: TV Tonight, Mediaweek, TV Black Box.

(NOTE: Numbers are overnight metro (5 capital city) and Foxtel ratings supplied by ratings agency OzTam to media outlets. They do not include any additional reporting, including time shifted content, regional ratings or broader reach, unless released and freely available. They also do not include streaming numbers on Kayo or SuperView, etc).

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