TV execs describe their Drama audiences

Drama execs joined a Screen Forever panel yesterday to tell Australian producers what they were looking for in 2021 and beyond.

They included top Drama bosses from ABC, Seven, Nine, Stan and Amazon Prime Video.

Top of the agenda was a question on  just who comprises their own Drama audience? Here is what they said.

Sally Riley, Head of Drama, Entertainment and Indigenous, ABC
The ABC audience is, I guess, predominantly an older audience on broadcast… apart from Wednesday night, which is our Comedy night. We get more younger people there. But we’re really trying to push our audiences to iview. We know that the iview audience and the broadcast audiences are very different. They crossover a little. But on iview we get a much younger audience, in that 20 to 45 age group. On air it depends on the show of course  -something like Mystery Road will draw a younger audience. But generally, a large percentage of our audience is Over 50. But they’re pretty groovy Over 50s. They will take on challenging content, and they will come on the ride with us, which is really exciting.

Julie McGauran, Head of Drama, Seven
Seven drama audience is quite broad. So you’re looking at a 25 – 54 year old demo. But really, for a drama to excel, you’ve got to get the bulk of 40+ women. Our priority at the moment is Home & Away. -one of our priorities. It’s into primetime four nights a week, it’s doing really well, it’s a great team. Given everything that’s been thrown at all of us in the industry, everyone’s doing really well with COVID…. It’s doing over a million a night with all the figures.  But it’s interesting Sally’s talking about iview (because) 7plus is huge for Seven as well, particularly, for Home and Away. It’s the number one streaming show. But really the bulk is 40+ women for Drama. So when you’re thinking of Seven think of something that would entail that audience.

Andy Ryan, Head of Drama, Nine
Our audience as a network is very rigorously 25 – 54 and drama is very aligned to that. All our dramas tend to garner about 65% female viewers -that’s the universe of Drama viewers, on Free to Air generally speaking. About two thirds women. So that doesn’t mean our dramas or any of our shows have to be female leads, but they have a strong female appeal because that’s the audience we have at our disposal. Our Dramas are going to sit off big stripped reality shows. There’s a really strong alignment on the linear broadcast with us to have Dramas which are going to be a good match with their lead-ins. But having said that, an increasingly big part of our audience is the additional audience we get over the next 28 days on Timeshift and 9Now. That’s a really important part of the decision-making process. Two or three years ago, I’d say we talked about it a lot but now it’s very much a reality. Halifax last year was a prime example of a show that did really well on Overnights but it extremely well when you tabulated the 28 day catch-up…… Those 7:30 strip shows are juggernauts. They are commercially the biggest show in town. Drama is usually significant but that flow of audience from 8:30pm / 9pm into Drama is something we have to be very mindful of and producers shouldn’t ignore that.

Nick Forward, Chief Content Officer, Stan
We’re not we’re not looking for advertiser so the audience for Drama can be anything from from 7 year olds through to 60 year olds. I think we probably skew a little younger than the broadcast networks. But ultimately, it’s a very diverse slate that we run that attracts quite differing audiences for each one of them. We’re not looking for flow-through from one into the other. Ultimately, it’s about finding shows that have a really distinct voice, but will find an audience that’s large enough to warrant that kind of level of investment in them.

Tyler Bern, Head of Content, Amazon Prime Video ANZ
Our audience is broad, and it’s a reflection of the content that we’re offering to our customers. If you think about big global originals like The Boys and Jack Ryan, we have great shows coming from the UK, The Grand Tour and Fleabag, big Indian originals, Breathe, Made in Heaven. We have all this great content flowing into our service in Australia. But why I’m here is to talk about the content that we’re making in Australia. When you think about the variety of content that we have it’s not targeted… I can’t say we’re having Females 25-55. We really are a broad service and have a broad swathe on our Australian customer base.


  1. The ABC saying they attract “Pretty Groovy over 50s”… nope I don’t buy it… They attract people who think they’re pretty groovy, say they groovy, but aren’t in fact groovy because they’re using the word groovy. Classic ABC.

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