Television ratings in Australia

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Television ratings
in Australia
1996 · 1997 · 1998 · 1999
2000 · 2001 · 2002 · 2003
2004 · 2005 · 2006 · 2007
2008 · 2009 · 2010 · 2011
Television in Australia

Television ratings in Australia are used to determine audience size and composition of television programming across Australian broadcast and subscription television, primarily for the purpose of informing advertisers what programming is popular with the audience they are attempting to sell their product or service to.[1]

Ratings are monitored year-round, however are only counted for 40 weeks during the year, excluding a two-week break during Easter and ten weeks over summer. Thus, the majority of locally produced programming and popular international on commercial networks is shown during the ratings period.[2][3]


Until 1991, AGB McNair provided television ratings data, covering only homes in Sydney and Melbourne. From 1991 until 2000, 'Nielsen Media Research Australia' was the company that measured television ratings, introducting People meters for the first time. From 2001 onwards, OzTAM and Regional TAM took over.[4] OzTAM is wholly owned by the three commercial broadcasters (Seven Network, Nine Network and Network Ten), while Regional TAM is owned by a number of regional broadcasters, however both operate independently.[5][6]

In total, OzTAM measures ratings from 3,500 homes, with 950 homes in Sydney, 900 in Melbourne, 650 in Brisbane and 500 each in Adelaide and Perth, with these ratings commonly referred to as 'five city metro ratings'.[7] A further 2,000 homes outside these five cities are measured by Regional TAM, and an additional 1,200 homes monitor viewing of subscription television in Australia.[2][8] Nielsen are contracted to provide the audience measurement services to both OzTAM and Regional TAM[7] having previously operated their own measurement service.[9] In 2017, the metropolitan homes measured will increase to 5,250.[10]

From 27 December 2009, OzTAM and Regional TAM introduced time shift ratings, measuring viewers who watch a program within seven days of its first broadcast.[11] Ratings reports were subsequently broken out into two parts:

  • Overnight ratings - preliminary figures combining real time viewing and 'as live' viewing (timeshifted and watched the same day of broadcast), which are released the following calendar day at 9am AEST.
  • Consolidated ratings - final figures combining overnight ratings and timeshifted viewing watched within 7 days of initial broadcast, which are released the afternoon of the following week.

In October 2014, Australia became the third country to introduce Nielsen Twitter TV ratings, measuring reach and activity of television related discussions on the social media platform.[12]

From 3 April 2016, OzTAM began releasing timeshift viewing data for programs watched up to 28 days after broadcast, noting that genres such as dramas, mini-series and films could add up to 20% of their audience with the new data, even though viewing between 8 and 28 days after initial broadcast accounted for only 1.8% of total television viewing.[13]

Ratings performance[edit]

Up until the mid 2000s, the Nine Network had generally been the ratings leader in Australia, typically followed by the Seven Network and Network Ten respectively. While Network Ten generally rates lower in total viewers, it has traditionally been the market leader for younger viewers. The two national broadcasters ABC TV and SBS One typically attract fewer viewers than the three commercial networks due to their various public service obligations.[14]

FOX8, the flagship channel of the Foxtel and Austar services is the most viewed subscription channel.[citation needed]

The 2007 ratings period was unique in that, for the first time since 2000, the Seven Network overtook its rival Nine Network in terms of average viewers.[15] ABC TV has also, since the early 2000s (decade), seen ratings (as well as audience reach) as a major performance indicator - this has, however, led to a decline in viewers rather than the expected increase. The Nine Network has, in the past, aggressively marketed its long-time ratings dominance through its promotional campaign Still the One.[citation needed]

The highest rating multichannels are generally Go!, 7Two and ELEVEN. The addition of these channels has fragmented the market leading to lower individual channel percentages and total viewers for programmes.[citation needed]

In 2011, for the first time since OzTAM record keeping began, the Seven Network won all forty weeks of the official ratings period.[16]

Sporting Events and reality television grand finals are usually top rating events in Australia.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About Ratings". ThinkTV. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Walters, Conrad (23 April 2011). "Made to measure but can we trust TV ratings?". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  3. ^ "Explaining TV's non-rating period". Crikey. 11 January 2005. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  4. ^ "In the archive - About the archived ratings data". Screen Australia. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  5. ^ Knox, David (22 November 2013). "How robust is our Ratings system?". TV Tonight. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  6. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". OzTAM. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  7. ^ a b "OzTAM extends long-term agreement with Nielsen" (PDF). OzTAM. 10 September 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  8. ^ "Latest Available reports". OzTAM. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  9. ^ "Regional Television Diary". Nielsen Media Research. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-04-14. Retrieved 2007-07-15. 
  10. ^ Knox, David (20 July 2016). "OzTAM to increase homes with people meters". TV Tonight. Retrieved 20 July 2016. 
  11. ^ "Consolidated ratings FAQ". Think TV. Archived from the original on 3 May 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  12. ^ Knox, David (17 November 2014). "Sport, Reality top first Twitter TV Ratings". TV Tonight. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  13. ^ Hickman, Arvind (30 March 2016). "OzTam to release 28-day time shift audience data". Ad News. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  14. ^ Warneke, Ross (2 December 2004). "Nine wins year again". The Age. 
  15. ^ "Nine scores ratings goal on back of league draw". The Age. AsiaMedia. 2007-05-29. Archived from the original on 12 March 2008. Retrieved 2007-06-06. 
  16. ^ "40 weeks makes a clean sweep for Seven". TV Tonight. 2011-11-27. Retrieved 2011-12-25.