Why does ABC under-report its NYE ratings every year?

Ratings share was up on 2020, and even better than the numbers ABC issued to media.

ABC’s broadcast of New Year’s Eve Midnight Fireworks was down this year compared to 2020, but more viewers than ever streamed via iview.

The broadcast averaged 1.19m metro viewers, down on 2020’s 1.63m when Sydney was still in the grip of its Northern Beaches outbreak.

But the network share for the night overall boomed at 31.0%, up on 2020’s 28.5%.

However yet again ABC under-reported that figure in its press release, quoting a 26.1% share.

This is the figure if you add Subscription TV audiences into the mix, which ABC (for some bizarre reason) continues to do. No other broadcaster makes this a practice.

Michael Carrington, ABC Director Entertainment & Specialist, said: “It was exciting to have so many people celebrate New Year’s Eve by tuning in to the ABC for a night of live music, fun and fireworks . Seeing everyone come together on television, ABC iview and social media, in a shared celebration to farewell a challenging 12 months and welcome in the new year, was an incredible experience. Thank you to all the ABC staff and crew who worked through the night to beam such amazing images to the world. I wish everyone a happy and healthy year ahead. Bring on 2022!”

There were again media headlines around the broadcast: “Social media users have accused the City of Sydney and ABC of politicising the 9pm children’s New Year’s Eve fireworks show.” Yep, it’s gonna be a long year….

TV and iview Audiences

The ABC iview live stream results of NYE coverage was the strongest ever! ABC’s NYE coverage achieved 635,000 plays on ABC iview yesterday, up considerably (+64%) on the 2020 result of 387,000. The ABC TV Main channel achieved its highest daily live stream result ever, generating 471,000 daily plays.
Last night, ABC was the leading network in the metro markets with a 5 city metro prime-time share of 26.1% (up on the 2020 result of 23.2% and top overnight share for 2021). The highest share was in Sydney with a prime-time share of 34.4%.
ABC TV’s NYE2021: Midnight Fireworks was the #1 program of the night and NYE2021: Countdown to Midnight was ranked #2.
NYE2021: Midnight Fireworks achieved an average audience of 2.0 million across ABC TV and ABC NEWS (Combined Metro & Regional).
NYE2021: Countdown to Midnight achieved an average audience of 1.3 million on ABC TV (Combined Metro & Regional).
Sources: OzTAM & Regional TAM Preliminary Overnight data; OzTAM VPM data, live stream based on: ABC TV, ABC NEWS and ABC ME channels, highest result ever based on daily results across 2017/18 since measurement commenced.

Social Audiences

ABC’s New Year’s Eve 2021 coverage was live streamed directly to ABC TV and ABC iview’s Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts and shared with more than 50 ABC and partner accounts. This included more than 40 of the ABC’s location-based regional and capital city Facebook pages, giving viewers right across Australia the ability to join in the live coverage and bringing the ABC’s vast audience into the New Year’s Eve conversation.

On Facebook, the live streams and highlights packages amassed a combined total of 493.3K view on ABC and partner pages
On YouTube, ABC TV’s live stream and highlights packages had 434.3K views at the time of reporting
Audience engagement and sentiment was positive throughout the night, with over 4.6K comments and 3.1K shares collected on the Facebook live streams and highlights alone
In 2021 the NYE Concert was also live streamed to TikTok for the first time, amassing 254K views
#NYEABC trended number 1 on Twitter during the broadcast, with over 4.1K tweets using that hashtag across the last 24 hours
Sources: Khoros, Facebook Insights, Twitter, YouTube Analytics and Tik Tok Analytics. Numbers correct at 9am 1 January 2022

5 Responses

  1. Potentially some under reporting through data selection (not manipulation). Incentive there to report lower numbers to stave off commercial competitors from bidding on NYE rights. ABC aren’t necessarily beholden to the same shareholder scrutiny that demands ratings success as commercial networks.

  2. I personally wouldn’t have agreed to the political content as it can potentially become divisive or provocative, but it was probably one of those times they decided it wasn’t overly offensive or swearing.

    I think there’s potential to have a theme for the next New Year’s concert for some added extravagance and hype, as was the case with the Countdown Live concert for NYE 2017. The concert this time was enjoyable and I was especially amazed by the band Shouse. They had some pre-recorded content from across Australia though there should also be more of a live interactive national theme. Live crosses, joining in on a large scale activity etc. It can appear too inner-Sydney-centric.

  3. ABC’s might be an unusual metric when compared to other networks but it seems to be a more accurate one rather than dismissing a whole chunk of audience who might watch FTA but have a Foxtel box.

  4. They obviously held a meeting and introduced a policy of using total share instead of FTA. Does it matter? The ABC doesn’t make any more out of having more viewers. Sky News is their main enemy SVOD their competition for first run drama and comedy.

  5. “Social media users have accused the City of Sydney and ABC of politicising the 9pm children’s New Year’s Eve fireworks show.”
    Thankfully, no protesters set fire to the Harbour Bridge although the Pyrotechnic company gave it a damn good try!

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