10 wants less focus on “meaningless” Overnight data

Network 10 is looking to shift the reportage of TV ratings from “increasingly misleading and meaningless” Overnight numbers to reflect performance including Broadcast Video on Demand, 7 Day Timeshifted viewing and even “encores.”

Writing for Mumbrella, CEO Paul Anderson said, “Overnight TV audience numbers do not tell the whole story. It’s hard to think of another industry where incomplete data is given such attention and is reported on so widely. And, yet, we keep sending those numbers to media and boasting about our overnight successes.

“From today, we’re going to start changing that. Network Ten will place a much greater focus on total seven day audience data (the combination of overnight viewing data and data over the following week). While we will continue to report overnight data, it will no longer be our main focus, and nor should it be.”

10 today sent media a new 5 city data snapshot which expanded the reporting of key shows from Monday May 3rd (note: but not all shows).

It also included Overnight data for key shows from last night encompassing Overnight metro / national and demo performance as it has done every day.

Unless advertisers are buying the same slots in encores repeats then those numbers should be reported separately. Adding together may be useful for internal purposes but not much use to advertisers looking for figures on who saw their product.

Most industry media report demo numbers and in some cases Timeshifted. There is less reportage of BVOD on a daily basis due to the “rolling data” from OzTAM which means the info varies slightly. Broader media is still focussed on Overnights, occasionally with national numbers.

Later this year OzTAM will launch Virtual Australia (‘VOZ’) with total national audiences with broadcaster video (BVOD) services included. This will be in addition to current data, such as Overnights.

Any notion of not looking and reporting on Overnights is unrealistic. There isn’t a TV executive in the country who doesn’t want to see numbers after 9am about how their show performed.

But it’s important to read the info contextually. News + Sport will not move much thereafter. Other genres, particularly Drama, perform much better in the 7 & 28 subsequent days.

I can’t see how that makes the numbers “meaningless” given they still form the bulk of the total accrued audience, even by 10’s own example today.

Each network likes to skew the numbers that puts their best foot forward and who can blame them? Broadly speaking, Seven favours total viewers, Nine likes demos, 10 wants Under 50s. Even dear ‘ol ABC, which downplays ratings, sends out a press release when something rates through the roof.

Anderson added, “Overnight data is an anachronism in a world where less and less people are sitting in front of a TV set to watch a program at a time dictated to them by a TV network. That just isn’t how people behave. Every month, our industry is setting records for industry BVOD viewing – new ways that our content is being consumed, new viewers, and new ways for advertisers to connect with our premium, brand safe content. Sure, linear viewing is still a big chunk of total TV viewing, but it isn’t the whole picture.”

Agreed, it is not.

Seven, Nine & 10 also jointly own OzTAM and if we are talking about change, I have long advocated moving from 5 city metro to national audience numbers. If we’re ditching anything, 5 city metro would be a good place to start.


  1. The burgeoning system of ‘encores’ (repeats) and the option to watch online or via other catch-up services was an effort to meet demand and changing consumption habits. Ie, it has evolved in order to be more convenient for the audience to see the broadcasters product. Somewhat ironically then it is also what has eroded the advertising market, the very cornerstone of the commercial television industry. If Australia made entertaining ads then I wouldn’t mind so much, but since we don’t, and I now have the option to avoid them completely, that is the option I will choose every time.

  2. Jᴏʜɴɴʏ1ᴘ5

    Well give your advertisers something extra and turn one of the two SD BOLD Channels into a +1 channel that shows what’s on TEN an hour later and call it TENPlusOne. Who knows perhaps shows like The Project may do well at 7:30pm on a secondary channel broadcast, as may Celebrity Name Game at 7pm and the others like Masterchef at 8:30pm. May boost your overalls seeing you are 3 channels to 4 and 5 against the others, no harm in doing something that is just a delayed telecast of what was on an hour before and the advertisers get their ads on air again (a boost in ratings from a secondary is what sees others across the line a lot).

  3. I don’t watch any Ten anymore. I use my PS4 as my primary entertainment device and Ten (and SBS) don’t have apps. There’s over a million PS4s in Australia. Sure, not everyone uses theirs like I do, but it’s still a massive potential market that’s not being catered to. If Ten really cared about timeshifted numbers, they’d be doing whatever they could to maximise them.

  4. I’ve always doubted these OzTams anyway. With a population of 25 million I can’t believe how few people watch these shows. 680 k for MasterChef. Ridiculous.

    • “680k” is 5 capital cities only. Not regionals, not Canberra, Hobart, Darwin. As many “Sydney” viewers get a better signal from Wollongong or Newcastle and/or their translators close to Sydney CBD many “Sydney” numbers are not counted.

      • Jᴏʜɴɴʏ1ᴘ5

        That’s interesting, I always just assumed like Melbourne poor reception areas in and around the area of the CBD would get a repeater of the Sydney feed, like how say down here in South Yarra they get it off the Como Building from Mt Dandenong (as does the CBD off Bourke Place).

        As do others to plenty to name so: ozdigitaltv.com/transmitters/VIC/280-Mount-Dandenong

  5. Numbers are down on overnight ratings. Programmers suggest that they repeat those shows “10 times” in any given week so viewers can catch up on the show. Networks then try figure out why numbers are down on overnight ratings.

  6. The data is what minutes a sample watched, and can be carved up by location, sex, age, household and income. Advertisers get all this. What the networks put out is PR, they want the biggest number they can get and are trying to boost viewing. What Oztam posts is a limited top 20 and top 5 lists to get the media talking about and promoting the networks shows.

    The Overnights are timely and the most useful. They are relevant to advertisers because they measure who is watching their ads, they don’t care how many people timeshifted and skipped them, or watch different ads on a streaming service. And because they matter to advertisers they matter to programmers. If show is doing poorly in the Overnights it will be moved, or dumped or cancelled.

    It you want to know the total number of viewers you have to look at everything. But most analysis of shows are relative comparisons. Did…

  7. I’m not sure about this, though maybe it would be cool to show a ‘total audience’ column in the ratings along with all other columns. That would surely boost up all the numbers and I think that some massive changes and shifting could occur because of this…

  8. Encore would have to be the oddest marketing term for repeat programming. Encore would suggest that the audience is asking for it to be repeated for the audience to see it again, or with additional content. I only watch an “encore” screening if I missed it the first time.

  9. DK- I’m interested in your thoughts on ditching the 5 city metro. Not keen per area on the ratings? Or you’d prefer to see results metro and regional merged?

  10. Going by what happened at the election last month. Anything that uses a small sample to see what people think or watch is totally pie in the sky stuff. For a very long time I have had my doubts on Oztam ratings. Until we get real numbers these figures that are published are just as good as a guess!

    • With the election poll the results were within the ‘margin or error’ – 2%-3%. Ratings figures are rarely all within 2%-3% of each other.

  11. Paul, snap out of it. We advertisers don’t give a damn about how many people watch your reruns and downloads of a particular program. We are only interested in how many watched that program when it contained my commercial, last night. as David says above “Unless advertisers are buying the same slots in encores repeats then those numbers should be reported separately. Adding together may be useful for internal purposes but not much use to advertisers looking for figures on who saw their product”. What we do hate is seeing MasterChef repeated the next day then at least twice again over the weekend, thus diminishing the urge for viewers to watch the first run. The one that contained my commercials. Remember? And stop calling them “encores”. They are not. They are “repeats”.

  12. Of course they do. When the network is at risk of being overtaken by SBS and coming last in the ratings you do anything to cover up the blindingly obvious fact that Ten is on the nose with viewers.

  13. jezza the first original one

    I think tv execs and ceos should just be allowed to focus on numbers that make themselves look good….y’know just fiddle around while Rome burns and the rest of us switch to our favourite streaming service…

  14. He’s got to be joking right? ‘Encores’ shouldn’t even be a thing, it’s just lazy programming and shows a lack of confidence in right program, right timeslot.

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