Aussie drama the quiet achiever

When Total TV numbers are in, dramas like Mystery Road and Home & Away are bigger than Reality TV shows.

They may be noisy and do well in Overnight numbers but after Total TV numbers are in, Reality TV shows don’t always come out on top.

Who knew there were Dramas outranking Reality TV shows? They are rarely afforded the same amount of column inches.

Episodes of Home & Away & Mystery Road: Origin have all outranked MasterChef Australia, Australian Ninja Warrior and Big Brother.

Here are Total TV numbers (Metro / Regional / BVOD / Timeshifted) for recent Drama episodes.

* higher than all Reality shows for the same date.

Home & Away 969,000 * Monday 20 June
Mystery Road: Origin 968,000 * Sunday July 3
Home & Away 956,000 * Tuesday June 28
Home & Away 948,000 * Tuesday July 5
Home & Away 931,000 Monday July 4
Home & Away 909,000 * Wednesday June 22
Home & Away 901,000 * Wednesday June 29

Although Five Bedrooms, Neighbours, Troppo and Barons have been more modest performers, Underbelly: Vanishing Act pulled a massive 1.52m and 1.48m viewers for Nine.

TV critic Colin Vickery said, “The recent ratings for Aussie dramas have been terrific. All of them have had fantastic catch-up percentages but quite a few have had super-strong overnight figures too. It proves that when you get dramas right audiences will absolutely switch on. Aussie viewers still love great Aussie drama.”

And while Reality shows do well to gain a lift of 30 – 40%, NITV drama True Colours has seen lifts of up to 136%.

True Colours 383,000 Monday July 4
True Colours 363,000 Tuesday July 5

TV historian Andrew Mercado said, “With local drama quotas relaxed, Aussie drama is being replaced by Reality TV, because it’s cheaper to make. Commercial networks are too scared to do niche dramas, but look at those ratings for Mystery Road: Origin and True Colours. Never underestimate the power of local stories, there is an audience there but you have to work hard for it.”

Sandy George, author of Nobody talks about Australianness on our Screens agreed, saying, “Drama set in our own backyard is a very special viewing experience when it sucks you in for the long haul. Given the current challenges in that part of the production sector, it is thrilling to see these ratings results.

“It’s also thrilling to see how interest in Indigenous stories just keeps on growing, and a reminder that change can happen if influential and determined people set their mind to it, create the right conditions, concentrate their effort and give it time.”

4 Responses

  1. The formula for any successful TV drama / mini series is not that complicated especially when you have limited budgets and story development opportunities, you write screenplays that has something in it for everyone and more importantly is entertaining. In my opinion most viewers are not interested in political or social messaging but do like understanding modern racial and cultural issues if they are written into a screenplay well, which was the case for the SBS’s True Colours. I I liked the ABC’s Troppo but the character development for the show could have been better.

  2. Thanks for sharing this info David….very insightful….now to get the networks to recognise this for FTA….or maybe its too late given subscription priorities.
    Reality very rarely gets a future repeat however drama lives on forever and can be excellent binge material in years to come. I have just started watching Packed to the Rafters for the first time…and revisiting All Saints

  3. I think before BVOD numbers were included, Home & Away overnight numbers were around 700k – 750k so catch up tv helps bring in additional audiences who were perhaps missing it at 7pm and now can still watch it at a later time/date.

  4. Excellent! Great to hear! Thank you for sharing. I’m always up for a positive spin where Aussie Drama is doing well and great to hear out ranking reality 🙂

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