Yesterday the ABC got into the Ratings Press Release game, with just as much spin as their commercial counterparts.
This is disappointing.
The ABC has traditionally taken the view that it isn’t driven by ratings, yet it is happy to remind media when it scores well with shows such as Gruen Nation and Yes We Canberra!
Perhaps it’s a case of damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Some may think the network would be remiss not to document its ratings results for 2010.
But if we’re going to go there, then why are we moving the goalposts just as much as the commercials have?
ABC’s issued Ratings data for Weeks 1 – 48. That includes summer and Easter non-ratings. Either it should stick to survey ratings and play with the big guys, or it should be transparent and wait until the end of Week 52.
But including summer no doubt helps ABC, when commercial networks have suspended their best stuff.
Based on those weeks, ABC says it has increased its total prime-time average audience by 4%.
It notes its top performers on ABC1 were select episodes of Gruen Nation (1.7m), Spicks and Specks (1.6m), Yes We Canberra! (1.6m), Doc Martin (1.6m), The Gruen Transfer (1.5m), Midsomer Murders (1.5m) and New Tricks (1.3m). It neglects to average episodes as a series total (Seven for instance says Spicks and Specks actually averages 1.19m -a mighty big difference).
Top shows on ABC2 were select episodes of The Gruen Transfer (311,000), Spicks and Specks (276,000), Gruen Nation (248,000), Movie: The Italian Job (242,000), Yes We Canberra! (241,000), The Graham Norton Show (234,000), and Dirty Jobs (229,000).
ABC3, which turns one on Saturday, is the number one daytime channel (6am-6pm) among 5-12 year olds across all FTA and Subscription TV. The share for that audience has lifted from 16.1% in its first three weeks to 22.1%. In defence of the channel, it is frequently forgotten that its ratings share if based on 6pm-midnight, yet it ends transmission at 9pm. ABC notes Dance Academy, Prank Patrol, CJ The DJ, Good Game: SP, Dead Gorgeous, and My Place amongst its hits, but no data was supplied.
Data for ABC News 24 was only supplied as Reach (audience who sampled a show) as 1.5m viewers across a week.
However one of the continued success stories for ABC is iView.
Average monthly unique browsers this year were 588,000 (235,000 last year) and visits have increased from 708,000 to 2 million. It peaked during August, no doubt thanks to the federal election, with 793,000 unique browsers, 2.4 million visits and 3.2 million plays of programs.