Seven in 2021: Network returns to TV ratings leadership – with or without Tokyo

Seven West Media

James Warburton on Seven in 2021: ‘When we’re good we’re unbeatable’

Seven in 2021 is a continuation of the turnaround story that has been underway since the arrival of chief executive officer James Warburton in 2019.

The network’s performance this year allows them to claim a return to form: “For the last 15 years we have won 13 of them,” Warburton told Mediaweek.

“After being in the wilderness for a couple of years it is good to get the winning mojo back. It is good to know you get the TV ratings crown because more people have watched Seven than any other network.

“While everybody is talking about how they performed this year, you just need to remember we are back to #1 [all people] with or without the Tokyo Olympics. That indicates the momentum we have with the shows that Australians want to watch.”

What about the demos? “We are up in under 50s and up in 16-39 and up 25-54 for the full calendar year.”

Seven 2021

Picking out some high points, Warburton noted Sunrise is enjoying its 18th year as the TV ratings breakfast leader. “The gap in metro markets this year is 37,000. We didn’t lose a single week.

The Morning Show has been a leader for 14 years, Seven News is #1 for a sixth year in a row. 7mate was also #1 again.

“There’s many other market-leading programs from Home and Away, to The Voice and Better Homes and Gardens.”

Warburton said Seven’s performance comes despite not being able to get everything that it had scheduled to air because of Covid. “We lost Australia’s Got Talent and we haven’t yet been able to make Australian Idol.”

Warburton doesn’t gloss over shortcomings, and he’s noted before the disappointment of Holey Moley early in 2021. “When we’re good we’re unbeatable, we’re just not consistent enough.

“We need a much better start to the year. The Winter Olympics, The Voice Generations, SAS Australia and Dancing with the Stars will do a really good job for us in 2022.”

Seven 2021

Seven’s ratings outlook

“We have strong momentum into next year and then you look at Dancing with the Stars, SAS Australia and then bring back MKR and Australian Idol. You put all that together with the Winter Olympics and the Commonwealth Games, plus the AFL, we are very confident we will as strong again.”

As to the underperformance of Big Brother VIP, Warburton said: “To be fair the year probably finished flat for everyone. The Bachelorette, Big Brother VIP and Parental Guidance didn’t do great numbers.”

Revenue outlook

Warburton said winning total people remains an important measure.

“Nine only started writing more revenue [than Seven] when they won all demographics including total people. When you have more people watching your network than any other network, revenue will follow. Revenue has always lagged ratings.

“In the past couple of years it has hurt this organisation and its people to not win everything we have always won. We have worked hard to get it back. One of our competitors can reflect on one thing – they were #1 for 24 months out of 15 years.”

Warburton is predicting Seven will win July to December 2021 in revenue. “The Olympics and now The Ashes have both been huge. We are expecting around a 40% revenue share and that momentum is why the market is responding.


BVOD leadership

Warburton: “The other point for us is that 7plus is the #1 BVOD service for the second year in a row. Seven had $6m of digital earnings a couple of years ago and that is now growing to more than $120m.

“We had a lot of work to do for 7plus to catch up to 9Now and we have now gone sailing past [9Now].”

Will any of the former hosts return to MKR 2022?

Who’s going to make My Kitchen Rules?

Returning this former TV champ to past glories could be a 2022 game-changer. Warburton told Mediaweek he had sat in on the pitches from production companies to get the job of refreshing what was once TV’s biggest format. He said it’s a little early to confirm who it will be. He did say: “There have been some exceptional pitches and there has been a real standout.”

Seven’s 2021 victory claims

Across the 2021 survey year (excluding Olympic weeks 31 and 32), Seven was:

#1 in prime time (6pm to midnight) in total people – Seven Network

#1 in 19 of the 38 survey weeks – Seven Network

#1 multichannel in total people – 7mate

#1 multichannel in 25 to 54s and 16 to 39s – 7mate

#1 multichannel group – 7mate, 7two, 7flix

#1 all day (6am to midnight) – Seven Network

Across the 2021 calendar year so far, Seven is:

#1 in prime time in total people, 16 to 39s and under 50s – Seven Network

#1 in prime time in total people and 16 to 39s – Channel 7

#1 in 26 of the 48 calendar weeks – Seven Network

#1 BVOD service – 7plus

#1 multichannel in total people – 7mate

#1 multichannel in 25 to 54s and 16 to 39s – 7mate

#1 multichannel group – 7mate, 7two, 7flix

#1 all day (6am to midnight) – Seven Network

Seven has the most watched shows in Australia:

#1 program – 2021 AFL Grand Final

#1 sporting event – Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

#1 winter sport – AFL

#1 regular series – The Voice

#1 entertainment show – The Voice

#1 news program – 7NEWS (#1 for six years in a row)

#1 breakfast show – Sunrise (#1 for 18 years in a row)

#1 morning show – The Morning Show (#1 for 14 years in a row)

#1 Australian drama – Home and Away

#1 lifestyle show – Better Homes and Gardens

#1 daily quiz show – The Chase Australia

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