Insiders boosted through pandemic

It’s a little known fact that Insiders is the top rating morning show on Australian television, albeit screening across two ABC channels.

Since taking the reins this year new host David Speers has enjoyed a surge in audience numbers, no doubt bolstered by lockdown and the politics of the COVID pandemic.

The 2019 average was 388,000 metro viewers across ABC / ABC News, although Barrie Cassidy left mid year.

In 2020 it has so far averaged 501,000 across, up by 29%.

Insiders achieved its top audience ever on the 5th April with a metro average audience of 661,000, up a whopping +71% on the 2019 average.

2020 5 city metro: ABC / ABC News
February 2: 292,000 / 133,000 = 425,000
February 9: 291,000 / 137,000 = 348,000
February 16: 292,000 / 116,000 = 408,000
February: 23: 268,000 / 136,000 = 404,000
March 1: 256,000 / 111,000 = 367,000
March 8: 266,000 / 140,000 = 406,000
March 15: 369,000 / 201,000 = 570,000
March 22: 364,000 / 243,000 = 607,000
March 29: 394,000 / 218,000 = 612,000
April 5: 437,000 / 225,000 = 662,000
April 12: 356,000 / 179,000 = 535,000
April 19: 389,000 / 176,000 = 565,000
April 26: 362,000 / 159,000 = 521,000
May 3: 356,000 / 157,000 = 513,000
May 10: 319,000 / 149,000 = 468,000
May 17: 325,000 / 156,000 = 481,000
May 24: 351,000 / 137,000 = 488,000
May 31: 343,000 / 139,000 = 482,000
June 7: 320,000 / 151,000 = 471,000
June 14: 328,000 / 112,000 = 471,000
June 21: 344,000 / 123,000 = 467,000

© OzTAM Pty Limited 2020. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM.


  1. The shows pro Governmant content and bias has become the norm under David Speers. Speers even re quotes Gov talking points in his questions. It is called Insiders, but now the weeks politics is just regurgitated.
    Barrie Cassidy could find new story or angles, or lead panelists to new stories,and treat then in a non biased way.
    Just watch the number of interruptions when Labor pollies are answering, compared to the Gov.

    More people are watching, because more people are at home, as community sport at all levels is still not happening.
    Finally,so many people under employed or out of work, they cannot afford to go out for breakfast or an outing.

    • Horror of horrors! An on-air ABC news commentator presenter who is perceived by some to be right-leaning. Surely this can’t be so. Can’t have balance on the ABC can we? Unless all the ‘balance’ is left leaning – something sometimes accused of the very excellent Barrie Cassidy who was press secretary to Labor PM Bob Hawke no less. Watching Sky News during the day, I thought that David Speers was very balanced politically in his questioning and comments re either side of politics, unlike Sky News from 19:00 onwards.

    • “More people are watching, because more people are at home, as community sport at all levels is still not happening.
      Finally,so many people under employed or out of work, they cannot afford to go out for breakfast or an outing.”
      Surely Ch 2 isn’t the only channel on TV, those unemployed hungry people could watch something else?

  2. David Spears is a great host, but it does feel like the panel doesn’t feature enough anymore, I think they need to change it back to the panel discussing the daily papers rather than David presenting from the video wall, and if the interview is going to be such a major part of the show they should push it through to 10:30 and then give Offsiders the 10:30 to 11 time slot.

    • “… daily papers …” I’ve been watching Insiders for years and years and I don’t recall that the program has ever been dedicated to discussing newspaper headlines like Sky News and BBC News both do – or sometimes do – around 23:00 EST.

      “… video wall …” It may have escaped your notice but there is a pandemic affecting the world right now, and most TV news programs around the world have had to introduce methods of interviewing or including panel members from remote locations very often including their homes via tele-conferencing, Zoom or Skype. It’s just the reality of the world today. Let’s hope that the need to do that will end sooner rather than later.

  3. daveinprogress

    I was an avid fan of his at Sky and found him one of the most even handed and skilful presenters and journos around. If anything since migrating to ABC he is a little more left favouring if I had to find even a smidge of it! Between Speeersy and Leigh us ABC viewers have simply the best.

    • Dave, please provide us with a definition of ‘left-leaning’? Seriously, please explain what you mean here.
      Since Speers has taken over Insiders, his approach has become so predictable – interviews with Coalition politicians are biased lovefests, spouting blatant Coalition talking points to the fullest. Any time a Labor politician is on, he talks all over them, rarely lets them finish a sentence, presents them with tonnes of hypotheticals, and very quickly shuts down when they state something that dares criticises the government. He met his match in Kristina Keneally and Chris Bowen in recent weeks, who used his own tactic and talked back over him until their point was made. And it made him furious.
      So please, a definition of what you mean by Left, because Speers has shown – week after week – he is clearly to the Right.

      • daveinprogress

        Did you not see his grilling of Arts Minister Paul Fletcher? Fletcher was sweating and was constantly interrupted to not obfuscate. He is equally tough on the opposition. The composition of guest commentators and his aligning more with the other media views suggests more left favouring on Insiders by him. I didn’t use the word ‘leaning’. To me he is pretty even handed but among more left media he is a tad more in agreement unlike when flanked by Paul Murray et al at Sky where he was the voice of centre not the right like everyone else on that network.

        • I agree. David interrupts everyone he interviews. Happy for him to stop the polly waffle…but I think he takes it too far. ( The Arts minister is not a good media performer…He got slammed on The Project too)
          I think any creditable political commentator who leaves Sky news, leaves because of the constant blatant right wing channel strategy. Wherever they go I think they probably feel they have got some making up to do. Be more left that right. TVO on 10 and The Project is the same….Loves kicking the government for any thing which probably frustrated him while at Sky News.

          • daveinprogress

            Yes, PVO is a weird one – he used to work for Julie Bishop. but i began to notice a shift in his approach towards the end of his time at Sky, and yes on Ten he relishes the kicks he flicks towards the Coalition. I have noticed David Speers is more probing since on Insiders, but of course he won awards for his grilling of Matthias Corman, Bill Shorten and the infamous ‘Fixer’ moment with Pyne. He is tough but generally pretty fair, much like Leigh Sales. I am always bemused and perplexed when peeps level bias any which way to her – i think she is also equally rigorous with all stripes.

          • daveinprogress

            sorry i sit corrected – i meant George Brandis and Metadata,not Matthias Corman.

  4. Great numbers for Insiders.

    Commercial TV would kill for those sorts of numbers for their morning shows. Some wouldnt mind those numbers in primetime too. Lol

  5. All of the week’s politics, with the best analysis, all in one hour. The best way to consume political news, and a bearable amount of airtime for politicians to spin their butts off.

  6. carolemorrissey

    Well a lot of people on twitter aren’t happy with him. You just need to read the tweets on the Insiders page while the show is on. His bias towards the Libs is glaringly obvious.

    • The Twitter fury was what got me curious about audience numbers post-Barrie. I guess the pandemic is likely a factor, but there’s certainly no numbers that back up the idea that people are switching off in droves!

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