Australia's Seven tops in revenue, ratings


SYDNEY -- The Seven Network has taken the mantle of Australia's top-ranking TV network from incumbent Nine in both ad revenue and ratings, according to data released this week by industry body Free TV Australia and ratings agency OzTAM.

Seven claimed a near-record 39.2% share of the AUS$1.34 billion ($1.15 billion) in TV ad revenue generated by the major metropolitan TV markets in the six months ending June 30, Free TV Australia said Tuesday.

The new total marked a 3.3% increase from the 35.9% Seven recorded in the six months through Dec. 30. Competitors Nine and Ten, meanwhile, saw their share of revenue drop to 32.7% and 28.1%, respectively.

On Tuesday, Seven said it had booked more than AUS$1.05 billion ($900 million) in ad revenue for the fiscal year ending June 30, while its share revenue for the half-year is its second-highest ever, falling only behind June-December 2000, when it claimed a 41.5% share thanks to its broadcast of the Sydney Olympics.

Seven's near-record revenue share comes as the network, home of such top-rated programs as "Dancing With the Stars," "Grey's Anatomy" and "Border Security" claimed a win for the first half of the official Australian TV ratings year, which ended last week.

At the midpoint, Seven claimed a national commercial primetime share of 37.4%, compared with Nine's 34.7% and Ten's 27.8%. Seven also led in the key 25-54-year-old and 18-49 demographic categories.

Media buyer and ratings analyst Steve Allen said Seven is now "totally dominant." "It is clearly in a purple patch and totally capitalizing on market sentiment," Allen said.

The fact that Nine's share of revenue has dropped below 33% means that the former No. 1 network is now "in a previously unimaginable position," Allen said, adding that it is "now well adrift of its audience share for the first time ever."

"The second half of 2007 is now set for a very competitive battle, with Nine and, to a lesser extent, Ten, needing to boost ratings in desirable demographics and turn market sentiment back on," Allen said.

Overall, Australia's free-to-air TV networks have seen year-to-year ad revenue growth of more than 6.57%, registering a total AUS$1.74 billion ($1.5 billion) for the six months ending June 30, beating market expectations of 4% and exhibiting its strongest growth in two years.

Free TV Australia said free-to-air TV audiences had grown 3% in the last three months. The top-rated events for the year included Seven's coverage of the men's final in the Australian Open tennis tournament, with 2.44 million viewers, and the Season 7 finale of "Dancing With the Stars."