Saturday, November 26th marks the end of the year’s television ratings poll, but Seven has already been able to claim this year’s victory in both city and national viewership ratings.
The Seven network was the most watched network by total people and between 16 and 39 nationally in both the 2022 OzTAM TV ratings survey and calendar year 2022 to date. From 25 to 54, Seven was only 0.2 points, or 2,000 spectators, short of becoming No. 1 in the country.
In the rankings, Metro TV Seven ranked first in terms of total people in the survey year and increased its audience share in total people from 25 to 54 and from 16 to 39 during 2022.
By the end of the poll period, Seven will have won 29 weeks of the poll nationally. In urban markets, Seven is on track to win in 21 of the 40 weeks of the survey.
In terms of regional viewership, Seven was #1 in terms of total viewership, 25 to 54 and 16 to 39.
in BVOD, 7plus streamed 10.6 billion minutes and increased its audience by 16% year-on-year in BVOD and 41% in live.
Following these results, mediaweek met with the Managing Director and CEO of Seven West Media, James Warburton, as well as the director of a network programming company, Angus Rosswhat these results mean for the business and the broader issues affecting it.
JV: “We are very proud of the team that took the number one crown in 2022. It’s important to note that we’ve converted this to revenue, which we showed in our FY22 results.and then, obviously, the first quarter of KPMG’s performance for this year.”
When asked about industry feedback on Seven’s use of national rankings as a key metric, Warburton said it didn’t matter in the end because Seven was the winner anyway.
JV: “It doesn’t matter how you cut it, it’s a winning position. We win in the Metro, we win in the regions, no matter how you cut it, when you look at FY22 or even the beginning of the next fiscal year, from July to September, we are number one in revenue, we are number one in Metro we’re number one in the region, and then when you add that up from the total TV position, we’re also number one.”
Warburton also said that the acquisition by Prime and becoming a national broadcaster allowed Seven to build an emerging offering.
JW: “With 7Plus, we have been able to create a completely unrivaled platform. In terms of Metro, we win, we win ratings, we win revenue. That’s what’s important. We have an incredibly powerful network, from Sunrise in the morning, throughout the day. We dominate the lifestyle with The best houses and gardens dominate and lead the news with Chase. Our focus is on the TV offer. Our sales department deals with the sale and integration of linear urban, regional and digital transport. Selling 7REDIQ and data is an incredibly attractive proposition. You can see it in case studies. Unilever’s case study, PHD is an example in terms of convergence and how we are changing and changing the way we sell.
Seven’s deal with NBCU and possible future of SVOD
Warburton also predicts better results in 2023 with a new content deal with NBCU and the addition of more multi-channel content to 7Bravo.
JV: “There is so much more to come. You saw it with our advances with a lot of new programming and a lot of new investments.
“7Bravo launches on January 15th. It’s not just a linear product, but obviously streaming as well. The NBCU catalog is going to be huge for 7Plus. AFL digital rights coming later in 2025 are getting really important for 7Plus.”
AR: “In terms of programming, last year we were number one and this year we have one less channel than our key competitor.. I’m glad James gave us the opportunity to secure another channel. This is a very targeted channel for women under 50. It complements our existing set of multichannels, which is the leading set of multichannels. We see this as a great way to attract additional audience to the network. It keeps the key U.S. content pipeline open, which is becoming increasingly difficult for the network to both broadcast and stream.”
Beyond this content deal, Warburton said Seven is still exploring opportunities in the SVOD space to challenge the likes of Nine’s Stan or Paramount+ Paramount.
JV: “We have made it very clear that we are still negotiating with international partners. We still have ambitions to get into the SVOD space.. For us, this is actually a needle shift and a turn towards digital growth markets. It really took center stage, with deals like NBCU, not just 7Bravo as a channel, but as a streaming service, around 1,000 hours, plus the NBCU library. In terms of SVOD, there will definitely be consolidation in the market, and we are still actively discussing this issue. Our relationship with the NBCU certainly won’t hurt.”
TV ratings weren’t completely smooth for Seven, not in terms of performance, but rather with accurate measurements of their show. OzTAM has confirmed multiple adjustments to its TV ratings this year that have resulted in lower results for Seven, which together accounted for nearly a quarter of the TV ratings survey period. Warburton and Ross agreed that this was a disappointing result that had far-reaching implications for the entire business.
JW: “It was clearly disappointing. It’s been 94 days, effectively a quarter of a year of research, and the last correction was made on Monday. This caused a lot of angst online, with Angus looking tense in places..
“We always play what is ahead. We always work very, very hard on all the metrics in every time frame. As an example, Sunrise, seven of those weeks looked tough in Sydney and then we brought it back – we came back a year ago and won every market. Seven News looked really bad, as did the Commonwealth Games.”
AR: “We knew something was wrong and were very adamant about it. When you look at these numbers for a long time, like all of us, you understand when something went wrong..
“We started digging into it and put pressure on it. It took a long time. In some cases, this has taken years off people’s lives, but we have a fix. But it was a problem, a big problem for the network. And as James said, fixed very late in the day.
“It affects a lot. It affects programming, it affects sales, it affects next year’s rate negotiations. This is a big problem”.
Warburton also called for a change in the way television ratings are judged and hailed the imminent emergence of VOZ.
JW: “When you think about putting together the whole methodology and what we need to do in terms of bringing VOZ to market, having data from two years ago so that people can understand what the changes are compared to just leaving in VOZ. Implementing it in all software, as well as in post-analysis coverage and frequency systems for media buyers, is a huge undertaking. I was talking about how we don’t measure and accurately reflect visibility, we only measure what’s on the wall and we don’t even look at the numbers. The launch of VOZ on the market is quite timely. I’m frustrated that people really have to look at at least seven days and it’s starting to get there.
olympic games count
When asked about criticisms of Seven and OzTAM factoring in the Olympics, Winter Olympics and Commonwealth Games in television ratings, Warburton and Ross dismissed the concerns.
AR: “Before, they were never excluded from the ratings. Never. They can say what they like. Our sports team has done an absolutely incredible job of putting together an unmissable primetime event.. I mean, seriously, let’s start taking out the Australian Open or State of Origin.”
JV: “This has never happened before, I think it would be a sign of desperation.”
“The Nine had, they had Barty who won the Australian Open, they had Kyrgios who went to the Wimbledon final, the local T20 World Cup, they have an extra channel and however you cut it, the Seven is pretty dominant.
Cricket Future Seven
When asked about how Seven felt about the results of their cricket coverage, Warburton said it was a mixed bag, with the company far more satisfied with its Test matches than with Big Bash League (BBL) ratings.
JW: “We were very, very happy with it. From a BBL perspective, we have just been disappointed with the quality of the competition – Cricket Australia has made some changes to the draft and brought in more Australian players, so this could improve. We are in negotiations at the moment and have made it pretty clear that we want to run Tests but not BBL.“.
See also: ‘Commercially Viable’: Why Key Demos Are Nine’s Game Goal
See also: TV Ratings: How 10 Became Australia’s Youngest FTA Network