Martin Place siege: ABC / SKY News

How did our two rolling news channels cover the Sydney siege?

2014-12-16_2217As a further insight into how our networks addressed the Martin Place siege, I asked networks for some details of their coverage.

Both ABC and SKY News sent through some information early yesterday morning, which I am republishing in full.


The ABC had more than 40 staff in the field including reporters, camera operators and linking staff. Overnight there were two reporters on site, three camera operators and a links operator. Those numbers don’t include editors, producers and graphics back at base. Director of News Kate Torney and Head of Content Gaven Morris also worked through the night to oversee the coverage, which was led by the radio, television and digital producers.

News 24 mounted rolling coverage from around 10am AEDT yesterday throughout the day and overnight from strengthened teams of producers and presenters, including live coverage of all news conferences and analysis from experts. It was live through the night and broadcast live pictures of the cafe when the siege was broken with the storming of the building by police just after 2am.

ABC1 picked up the rolling coverage from 1030am yesterday and is sticking with it until this afternoon at least. NewsRadio went to rolling coverage at about the same time and also carried on right through the night. ABC Sydney 702 also went to rolling coverage from shortly after 10am until 10pm. They also ran regular updates throughout the night.

When news of the siege first broke, ABC News Digital moved into live coverage mode, launching a live blog and utilising reporting from across the ABC to cover the story as it unfolded. Rosters were shuffled and resources re-allocated to cover the story through the night, allowing us to bring the news direct to the audience when events came to a head in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

At all times the ABC was careful to report only what could be verified and waited to confirm all facts before broadcasting.

·         Yesterday, ABC and ABC News 24’s combined metro reach was estimated to be 3.7 million (23% of the metro population).

·         Yesterday, ABC News 24 reached 1.3 million viewers across the five cities (8% of people living in metro markets). This was the highest daily reach this year. This year to date, ABC News 24’s average daily reach was 773,000 (4.8%).

·         ABC News 24’s five city daytime (6am-6pm) share was 3.8% and prime-time share was 2.5%, both higher than ytd averages. This year to date, ABC News 24’s average daytime share was 2.7% and prime-time share was 0.9%.

·         Last year’s Federal Election coverage (7th September) and the Leadership Spill coverage (26th June) achieved higher audiences.

·         Yesterday, Sky News’ prime-time share was 1.5% and its day-time share was 2.6%.

·         Yesterday, ABC’s reach was 3.1 million (19.1% of the metro population).

·         ABC achieved a five city prime-time share of 9.5% and ranked third behind Seven (18.3%) and Nine (17%). ABC’s day-time share was 7.1%.

Source: OzTAM metro overnight data. Reach based on 5 consecutive minutes.

ABC News 24 Streams

·         There were 428,000 plays of ABC News24 (on all platforms – geoblock lifted). This is up significantly on the estimated 2014 daily average of 12,000.

SKY News

We have been Live on air and in rolling coverage since the ordeal began. We’ve also had a Live blog online during this time and 24-hour activity across social media.

A number of our team have been (and continue to be) on location including; Cameron Price, Dan Murphy, Celina Edmonds, Laura Jayes, James Bracey, Chris Kenny.

We’ve also had commentary back in the studio the entire time with David Speers, Peter van Onselen, Stan Grant, Helen Dalley, Jim Middleton, Kristina Keneally, Paul Murray, Ashleigh Gillon, Vanessa Grimm, Sharon Mckenzie, Terry Gallaway and this morning Nina Stevens, Kieran Gilbert and Stan Grant.

10 Responses

  1. @Dean.

    Aren’t you Sky loving ABC haters always telling us ABC should be run like a business?

    Well any good business has a good PR team. And that should include ABC. In fact when they are spending the public’s money they should be able to provide a detailed account of coverage and ratings as they did.

    Sky has no idea how to run a business – and their PR on the biggest news event in 5 years shows it.

    Have you got STV Ratings to show in STV homes more people watched Sky than News 24? Your guess could be right.

    But I would suggest it is driven by the mentality of “If I’m paying for foxtel I mise well watch it”


    Sky Snooze SD was out-watched by ABC News 24.

  2. Thanks David. Well just as bad. A publicist is meant to give great PR for the network.

    I mean…

    “We have been Live on air and in rolling coverage since the ordeal began”

    This statement amounts to nothing. You are a 24 hour news network. Of course you have been live on air. Gosh.

    “We’ve also had a Live blog online during this time and 24-hour activity across social media”

    A live blog and tweets? I’m floored.

  3. Yeah Russell, it is so wonderful that our taxpayer funded broadcaster has the capacity to fund a large publicity team that can pump out information about how wonderful they are to the media including petty lines about how great their ratings were compared to SKY.

    Given their respective national reach, it’s clear that homes with the option of both SKY and News 24 chose SKY in droves. And to pre-empt those who will argue that this is because Foxtel only broadcasts News 24 to HD subscribers, this is no longer the case, except for those homes with digital boxes (non-IQ) which Foxtel is now actively replacing at no cost.

  4. LOLing at Sky’s non existant press info released on their coverage.

    The same request from TVTonight goes ouyt to ABC 24 and Sky News. Look at the info ABC was able to provide – in depth deep dive stats and info on just about every aspect of their coverage.

    Sky sends a sentence or two.

    This network can’t even do a press release well.

    Can ABC 24 run promos “Australia’s most watched 24 hour news channel” etc – aimed at Sky. I would be if I were them

  5. The produced hours of coverage over 6 channels
    How many facts backed up by evidence did they get right? Surely that is the standard by which journalism should judged, not how many cameras you can deploy and what you can make up.

    The police supplied them with no information so they reported from social media and pundits. In some cases ignoring police requests not to (e.g. The demand that Abbott speak to the gunman was broadcast).

    They got the number of hostages wrong. They stated that hostages that exited the building may been from upstairs, they claimed that more people were trapped elsewhere in the building when they weren’t , they claimed that they were released through negotiation with police.

    In fact they bolted out doors while the gunman was distracted.

    They got information about the flag incorrect.

    The actual facts fit into nice concise newspaper articles…

  6. It was rather petty of Sky to block their Youtube channel videos in Australia. Somewhat unhelpful as well. This is yet more evidence why we still need a publicly owned non-commercial broadcaster.

Leave a Reply

Related Posts