The Seven Network has called an early TV ratings survey win in 2023. With the official 2023 ratings year set to end on 2 December, Seven has stated that it is in an unbeatable position nationally. This means Seven has been number one in 15 of the past 17 years.
In the 2023 TV ratings survey which started on 12 February, Seven has a 42.3% commercial share nationally in all people, 40.8% in the capital cities and 45.2% in regional Australia. It also leads nationally in 25 to 54s, 16 to 39s and total shoppers.
In the calendar year to date (1 January to 7 October), Seven is #1 nationally in total people and 25 to 54s. Across the calendar year to date, Seven has captured the #1 position nationally in 26 weeks and has been #1 in the capital cities in 21 weeks.
Seven’s year in numbers (Calendar and survey year to date):
• #1 nationally in all people
• #1 in the capital cities in all people
• #1 in regional Australia in all people
• #1 in audience share growth nationally in all people
• #1 in news and public affairs
• #1 in sport
• #1 at breakfast
• #1 regular local drama
• #1 in multichannels (7mate, 7two, 7Bravo, 7flix)
National free-to-air network commercial shares (%) Survey year:
Seven Network 42.3%
Nine Network 36.6%
Network Ten 21.1%
National free-to-air network commercial shares (%) Calendar year:
Seven Network 41.9%
Nine Network 36.9%
Network Ten 21.2%
Capital city free-to-air network commercial shares (%) Survey year:
Seven Network 40.8%
Nine Network 38.3%
Network Ten 20.9%
Capital city free-to-air network commercial shares (%) Calendar year:
Seven Network 40.2%
Nine Network 38.8%
Network Ten 21.0%
Regional free-to-air network commercial shares (%) Survey year:
Seven Network 45.2%
Nine Network 33.1%
Network Ten 21.7%
Regional free-to-air network commercial shares (%) Calendar year:
Seven Network 45.2%
Nine Network 33.1%
Network Ten 21.7%
Following this announcement, Mediaweek caught up with Seven’s CEO and managing director, James Warburton, as well as Seven’s chief content officer Angus Ross about what these results mean for the present and future of the broadcaster.
When asked about why they decided to announce their win now, the pair said that it was indisputable that Seven was #1 following growth from some of their key franchises.
JW: “This is the most dominant Seven has been in a very long time. When you look at every single sector and every single section of the schedule, any way you cut it, whether you look at Metro, or nationally we’re pretty much in every case the leader in the category.
“We’re growing franchises like Dancing with the Stars, Farmer Wants a Wife, and My Kitchen Rules as well as bringing the number one new entertainment show to market in the 1% Club. We also set records with the Matildas, setting the record with 7Plus for a sports streaming event.”
AR: “Seven’s number one, that’s that’s just indisputable. That’s with no fine print or disclaimers. We’ve grown Farmer, Dancing and MKR and I reckon we’re going to grow SAS Australia when we launch that. It’s really important for us to grow these key franchises year on year because it’s something you don’t see that often nowadays.”
When asked what the key was to growing these tentpole franchises, Ross said that it was about having the right people across the production units.
AR: “We’re always looking at how we can freshen franchises. In the case of MKR, we took the show back to basics and back to what made the show successful. It lost its way for a year and then almost played it too straight in another year. We put the ingredients back in to take it back to what made it successful this year in how we approach the casting, the marketing, and everything on that show. The same with Farmer and Dancing, they still stay true to what people love but through the casting and hosts, we’re always looking for a bit of reinvention as well.”
JW: “As an industry we reached 20 million people last week. VOZ is just at the beginning, that will be out in the market which will show a true reflection. Everyone is always having a potshot at free-to-air but the reality is as both VOZ streaming and VOZ gets to market, you will be seeing the daily reach numbers of the programmes. It is chalk and cheese, in terms of looking at metro averages. It’s getting back to the basics of how we market the industry and how powerful the industry is.”
A Sports Streaming Revolution
Off the back of the record-breaking success of the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the Matildas, Warburton and Ross said that with the new sporting rights deals signed with both the AFL and Cricket Australia, Seven is about to take its sports streaming to the next level.
JW: “We’re about a year away now from an absolute sports streaming revolution. We will effectively have a FIFA World Cup, Summer Olympics, and Winter Olympics combined with 4 billion minutes across the year. This will make 7Plus unbeatable from a total television point of view.”
AR: “When we get this live streaming rights from the AFL and cricket next year, it will make 7Plus an absolutely unbeatable proposition.”
JW:” The biggest winter code and the biggest summer sport have never been available in front of a paywall during the regular season. The reason we’re not winning the race from a 7Plus total TV point of view is that we don’t have sports streaming regularly. Yes, we had the Matildas and yes, we have Super Cars in bits and pieces, but having those big codes there 52 weeks, 4 billion-plus minutes is the Tokyo Olympics and Matilda’s together.”
AR: “We have been running that race with one arm tied behind our back. and now we’re going to have two to throw all the punches.”
The Importance of BVOD, VOZ and Total TV
According to the numbers presented by Seven, the broadcaster reaches more than 17 million people nationally across broadcast and digital. The audience of 7plus has jumped 17% during 2023 and it has a 36% share of the BVOD market year-to-date.
Warburton and Ross agreed that with the launch of VOZ and VOZ Streaming, the industry is going to improve at effectively communicating the strength of free-to-air TV from a Total TV perspective.
JW: “With VOZ and VOZ Streaming, the fact that it goes into everyone’s tools and analysis will absolutely turbocharge the industry. The fact that buyers and agencies can actually start to work with it will just show the effectiveness of the total television as a video solution, particularly against YouTube which marks their own homework and do things in a very, very different way. We are third-party verified, the network’s own OzTAM contracts Nielsen which is a global research company that does everything at a verified, audited, third-party level. No other industry has anywhere near the sophistication and the validity of that third-party verification that we do. That’s going to make a big, big, big change, certainly for Seven.”
AR: “On the BVOD side of things, we’ve got local content and several overseas pipelines like NBC that heavily drive that. We’ve got a couple more under construction that I think is going to drive BVOD to the next level.”
Seven in 2024
When asked about their plans for next year, the pair didn’t want to give away too much before the Upfront next week but did say they were confident of another win in 2024.
AR: “The great thing for us is, when you look at those key tentpole franchises, they’re all returning. We’ve got a few gaps which will be filled by some new shows, but I think what we’ll be delivering is known, consistent franchises across next year in the tentpole space. Along with our dominant news and sport, we’re pretty confident about how we’re heading into 2024.
“We think we will improve Q1 with a few initiatives we’re doing there. Beyond that, there are some new show announcements but we’re confident about being number one in 2024 as well.”
JW: “We’re also having a second crack at Australian Idol. We bought it back and we’re really pleased with how it went, but we thought that there were a few areas that we could tweak a bit to make more of an impact. We’re very happy with the pre-production on that and where we’re heading from that perspective as well.”