ABC tops scripted, doco titles in 2019.

Screen Australia praises Aussie producers for their achievements in a sea of content.

Screen Australia has praised Australian production companies for their achievements in 2019 in Scripted & Documentary titles, amid an onslaught of international content.

Graeme Mason, CEO of Screen Australia said, “In 2019 we saw a wave of new shows on the small screen that were of an incredibly high calibre. Foxtel’s Lambs of God became the most nominated show in AACTA history, ABC’s Total Control was Australia’s first series selected for the Toronto International Film Festival and Network 10 quickly ordered season two of Five Bedrooms such was the audience demand. True Australian stories on TV also remain perennially popular, with 2019 producing landmark titles such as Australia in Colour and Love on the Spectrum that became community talking points.

“It’s also fantastic to see creators benefiting from their original IP. Every Cloud Productions developed the Miss Fisher property originally for the ABC, followed by a hit spin-off for Channel Seven last year, a Chinese adaptation on the way and now one of the most anticipated films of 2020 in Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears.

“Amongst the new players, it was telling that Stan built its entire 2019 / 20 summer strategy around four Australian titles, which was a very public endorsement of the ability of local content to attract audiences.”

According to national ratings results, half of the top 10 Australian scripted titles in 2019 were broadcast on the ABC, with all the commercial free to air broadcasters also represented amongst the most popular shows. Most of the top 10 were debut series.

Position Title Episodes Broadcaster Ratings^
1 Utopia series 4 8 ABC 1,200,000
2 Home and Away series 32 243 Seven 1,031,000
3 Total Control* 6 ABC 1,012,000
4 Seachange* 8 Nine 997,000
5 The Cry 4 ABC 936,000
6 Bad Mothers* 8 Nine 934,000
7 Harrow series 2 10 ABC 934,000
8 Five Bedrooms series 1* 8 10 865,000
9 Ms Fisher’s MODern Murder Mysteries* 4 Seven 805,000
10 Les Norton* 10 ABC 775,000

*Screen Australia funded. ^average audience, metro + regional 28 day, see source notes.

According to Screen Australia, the decline in linear television viewing is in part being offset by growing catch-up consumption. For instance, The Hunting became SBS’s highest-rated drama commission ever with 624,000 viewers^, which was further amplified by 194,000 to 242,000# viewers watching each episode on SBS on Demand. The Cry recorded the biggest catch-up audience of any Australian drama with 267,000 – 318,000 viewers per episode on ABC iview#. The introduction of OzTAM’s Virtual Australia in 2020 is expected to make it easier to measure total viewership going forward. (#VPM, video player measurement).

“Although it premiered in 2018, special mention must be made for Ludo Studio’s now global hit Bluey, which had a series rating of 2.4 million in 2019 on ABC iview alone” (figure courtesy of the ABC, OzTAM Plays Begin Event, VPM Average). Disney reported Bluey reached 16 million US viewers in the last quarter of 2019 since its launch on Disney Junior in October.

Australian television documentaries remain popular, with the bulk of content commissioned by the public broadcasters.

Screen Australia reports due to complexities in the definition of documentary, only the top 10 Screen Australia-funded television documentaries are included below. A notable exclusion is the ABC’s Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds at 1,118,000 viewers^.

Series remain the most popular documentary format, however demand for the Michael Hutchence feature documentary Mystify was also strong, despite having had a successful cinema run in the same year.

Position Title Episodes Broadcaster Ratings^
1 Magical Land of Oz 3 ABC 928,000
2 The Cult of the Family 3 ABC 818,000
3 Love on the Spectrum 4 ABC 797,000 preliminary
4 The Crown and Us: The Story of the Royals in Australia 2 ABC 787,000
5 Aftermath: Beyond the Firestorm 1 ABC 767,000
6 Mystify 1 ABC 746,000
7 The Pool 2 ABC 669,000
8 Australia in Colour series 1 4 SBS 578,000
9 Employable Me series 2 3 ABC 556,000
10 Every Family has a Secret series 1 3 SBS 541,000

^average audience, metro + regional 28 day, see source notes.

  • Metropolitan data is copyright to OzTAM and Regional data is copyright to RegionalTAM and may not be reproduced, published or communicated in whole or part without the prior consent of OzTAM or RegionalTAM.
  • All ratings are courtesy of OzTAM and RegionalTAM, 5-city-metro, combined markets, total people, average audience, consolidated 28 day except where noted.
  • Top 10 Australian dramas (metro viewers): 941,000, 659,000, 693,000, 695,000, 675,000, 686,000, 643,000, 629,000, 518,000 and 481,000. Top 10 Screen Australia funded documentaries (metro viewers): 600,000, 554,000, 561,000 tbc, 531,000, 514,000, 538,000, 446,000, 428,000, 398,000, 379,000. Top 10 Australian TV Docos (metro viewers): 1,128,000, 971,000, 824,000, 794,000, 686,000, 731,000, 600,000 631,000, 591,000 and 585,000.
  • OzTAM Video Player Measurement – consolidated 28. VPM Rating: total minutes played divided by content length. Top programs are for episodes with a minimum length of 15 minutes. Includes catch up minutes only and is not restricted to the five metropolitan cities. Live streaming channel viewing is reported separately.

4 Responses

  1. Perfect headline and picture combo – great to see the documentary that is Utopia at the top. I try so hard with every episode to laugh, but working in a government department, it cuts way too close to the bone – I usually just sit there, jaw dropped to the ground, cringing at how spot on it is.

    1. Exactly the same reason my wife cannot watch ‘Utopia’ either. She doesn’t find it funny as she deals with it on a daily basis. Luckily I do not, so find myself laughing hysterically. Used to find Rory funny on ‘Little Lunch’ until my own son started losing his school hat, lunch box, swim bag, euphonium! Not as fun in real life.

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