Nine News zaps pay-TV audiences

09 January, 2014 by Don Groves

The Nine Network’s initiative of extending the nightly news to one hour, starting last Monday, has taken viewers away from Seven and the ABC’s 7 pm bulletin.

But the biggest losers collectively are the pay-TV networks which have suffered double-digit declines across the three half hours from 6 pm.


“Pay-TV is getting belted,” Fusion Strategy’s Steve Allen tells IF. “The losses are in each half hour for pay-TV, slightly greater as the evening rolls on.”

Allen regards Nine’s move as a bid to reassert the network’s position as news and current affairs leader nationally and as a Trojan horse to fight Seven news’ dominance in Adelaide and Perth.

He considers the ratings for the first three nights as far from conclusive, particularly as Seven is screening the Australian Open Tennis before the return of Home and Away.

Alllen doubts that Seven would move to a one hour news although he says the network “may be tempted” if the ratings for Today Tonight continue to be down by 11%-12%.

He noted the solid gains for Nine News on Monday have softened, with the five-city metro audience falling from 1.18 million to 968,000 on Wednesday. Network Ten and SBS World News’ audiences have improved for each of those half hours.

Allen believes Nine is committed to the one hour news for this year and perhaps 2015 but questions whether it will endure after that.