Killing Season, Dr. Blake, Gruen top ABC series


The Doctor Blake Mysteries was the most popular Australian series on ABC last year, according to a wrap of their annual year.

In a press release of metro+regional numbers it drew an audience of 1.6m viewers (it averaged 1.1m in metro), just ahead of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries 1.4m (990,000 metro).

But The Killing Season, which had 1.5m metro+regional eclipsed it in the metro markets at 1.14m. Gruen as its biggest entertainment hit at 1.07m metro and 1.4m in metro+regional

ABC’s biggest single for the year was the Asian Cup final at 1.65m metro.

International titles that also did strong business but aren’t included here are: New Tricks, Grantchester, Grand Designs Revisited and Grand Designs.

Overall ABC’s network share was 17.6%  (up on 2014’s 17.4%), with the primary channel at 13.0% (up on 12.7%). ABC2 and ABC News 24 were also up but ABC3 was down.

Richard Finlayson, Director ABC Television, said: “At a time when there’s never been more ways to watch television, I am proud of what the ABC TV team has achieved.”

“We went into the year acknowledging that audience viewing habits were shifting and we had to reflect this in our programming, delivery platforms and the way in which we reported on audiences, and I’m delighted with the results on all fronts.

“Our success is testament to the value and importance audiences Australia wide and of all ages place on the ABC as the home of Australian stories, culture and conversations. We will remain true to this fundamental audience need and in 2016 will continue to lead the way with a diverse slate of entertaining, challenging and informative programs, offered when and where viewers want to watch.”

The ABC 2015 release (which includes metro+regional plus iview numbers) is as follows:

Australians of all ages have turned to the ABC during 2015 for major national events, breaking news, returning dramas, entertainment and hard-hitting documentaries, across ABC TV channels and ABC iview.

Total ABC prime-time share was stable year-on-year at 14.3%, and ABC TV remained the leading daytime network.

ABC iview maintained its pole position as the most used free-to-air internet TV site in 2015*. Its popularity with Australians continued unabated: ABC iview hit a new record in November with more than 40 million program plays (which is more than double the program plays from the same time last year) and had over 2 million visitors to its site and apps each month.

The big success story for the year was the ABC KIDS iview app. Launched in March, it has had over half a million downloads, and is already the number one destination for children’s television on demand.

Program Highlights

In 2015 ABC TV was the destination for major events such as New Year’s Eve, Asian Cup, Anzac Day and breaking news.

ABC TV’s 2014 New Year’s Eve coverage reached 4 million Australians.

A total of 7.3 million Australians tuned to ABC and ABC iview across the six game tournament, making Asian Cup the most watched ABC TV program for 2015.

ABC TV Anzac Day coverage reached 3.6 million people – with a million more viewers tuning in year-on-year. ABC TV was the leading network for Anzac Day coverage. There were more than 260,000 plays of Anzac Day coverage and featured programming on ABC iview.

Returning favourite series and stalwarts from the news and current affairs stable proved popular and audiences also formed new loyalties with intriguing new ABC dramas and documentaries.

The latest series of The Doctor Blake Mysteries and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries were among the most popular programs on ABC in 2015. Doctor Blake was the highest ranked Australian drama on ABC TV, achieving an audience of 1.6 million and 512,000 total iview plays, with Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries at 1.4 million and 600,000 total iview plays.

Original and distinctive new dramas this year included The Secret River, Glitch, Hiding and The Beautiful Lie. With a broadcast audience of 1.2 million and an average 90,000 iview plays per episode, The Secret River was among the top 10 locally produced ABC programs for the year.

Glitch delivered a combined average audience of 744,000 on ABC TV and proved particularly popular with ABC iview audiences: 1.2 million program plays were recorded across the series, averaging almost 200,000 plays per episode. It was the most watched non-kids program on ABC iview this year.

Series 2 of Utopia increased its broadcast audience by 26% (to 1.3 million) and recorded an average 96,000 iview plays per episode (767,000 total), making it the most watched Australian comedy in 2015.

Gruen proved it hadn’t lost any of its appeal after an 18 month hiatus. Returning for its 10th series, it drew an audience of 1.4 million and a total of 700,000 iview plays. Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell had its best series to date with 1.1 million across both metro and regional markets, and 549,000 total plays on iview. Kitchen Cabinet and Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery also grew their audiences this year.

New entertainment entrant The Weekly with Charlie Pickering was especially popular with young viewers. The series achieved a combined broadcast audience of 942,000 and was one of the most viewed programs on iview with 834,000 plays.

ABC TV’s news and current affairs line-up on Monday evenings drew larger audiences this year. Four Corners peaked at 1.4 million on 21st September with Dethroning Tony Abbott and the 2015 series average was up 10% on last year. Q&A (+14%), Australian Story (+6%) and Media Watch (+10%) also delivered higher audiences in 2015.

ABC’s unmissable political series, The Killing Season, achieved an audience of 1.5 million on ABC and more than 500,000 plays online.

ABC’s rolling coverage of the Liberal Leadership Challenge (Monday 14th September), drew a combined 4.9 million viewers across both ABC and ABC News 24, and saw 200,000 live streams on ABC iview and ABC News.

Factual series Redesign My Brain and Life on the Reef both enjoyed audiences over a million while new program Restoration Australia drew a combined audience of 979,000.

Three-part arts series Stop Laughing…This Is Serious attracted an audience of 1.1 million, and 133,000 total iview plays. ABC2’s factual special Australians on Drugs was among the top five ABC2 programs of the year.

For the younger audiences, ABC3’s top program (year-to-date) among 5-12s was local production Smackdown Games with a combined metro and regional audience of 117,000. Other program highlights were Studio 3, Wallace & Gromit, Nowhere Boys and new comedy Little Lunch. Also premiering this year on ABC3 were Ready for This, Tashi and The New Adventures of Figaro Pho.

ABC3 plays on ABC iview in 2015 were up 9% on last year. Activity peaked during school holidays with ABC iview’s ABC3 Best Fest, featuring complete series of ABC3’s most popular programs.

ABC channel
The ABC channel prime-time share was 10.5% (stable year-on-year) with ABC being ranked fourth behind 7 (16.6%), 9 (15.7%) and TEN (10.7%).

ABC2 channel
ABC2’s 6pm-midnight share was stable year-on-year at 2.3%.

ABC News 24
ABC News 24 remained Australia’s most watched 24 hour news channel, reaching more viewers this year than ever (3.7 million viewers reached each week, up from 3.5 million across 2014. This equates to 15% of the metro population and 20% of the regional population reached each week).

The live stream figures were up 10% this year.

Top news events included coverage of the Liberal leadership spill in February and change in September, the Queensland state election, Anzac Day, bushfires in South Australia, and the Paris attacks.

In 2015, reach peaked around coverage of bushfires in South Australia at 4.7 million TV viewers for the week.

ABC3 was the most popular channel among primary aged children with a share of 19% among 5-12 year olds during daytime.

ABC3 reached more than one in three 5-12 year olds each week.

ABC KIDS maintained its position as the most popular channel for Australian pre-schoolers with a share of 47% during daytime.

Each week ABC KIDS reached 64% of children aged 0-4 years.

Online viewing of ABC KIDS content increased significantly. The incredible popularity of the ABC KIDS iview app saw program plays of ABC KIDS content more than triple from the same time last year.

Source: OzTAM & RegionalTam; Webtrends data (weeks 1-48, 2015)

* Nielsen Australian Connected Consumers Report February 2015, Online Australians 16+

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