TVNZ responds to TV3 ratings press release

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TVNZ recently, and proudly, announced their ratings figures for One News in July.  A 5% increase for them over the previous year while TV3 had suffered a 15% drop.  Granted, these are 5+ figures so it was inevitable that TV3 would respond with a demographic subset of the data stating they were dominating.

TVNZ’s Andi Brotherston wrote to Throng this afternoon to clarify the data further.


I see that you’ve published a media release issued by Mark Jennings about 3 News’ performance in July.

I have gone through it and equated the share percentages to numbers of viewers in the hope of providing Throng readers with a clearer idea of the ratings landscape so they can judge for themselves whether TV3 does in fact ‘dominate’ and has a ‘stronghold’ as Mark claims.

I’m possibly flogging a dead horse here because TVNZ usually gets criticised for ‘bullying’ TV3 when we do this but I thought your readers understand and are interested in television more than most and they may appreciate the analysis.

Mark Jennings’ comments are in pink, mine are in black.

3 News maintains its stronghold over the 18-49 demographic year on year beating One News with a 29.7% share (or 206,100 viewers) compared to their 29.1% share (or 202,000 viewers).

Continuing to dominate the Auckland market, 3 News also maintains its lead year on year in the 18-49 Auckland Urban demographic, with a 27.6% share (or 58,400 viewers), compared to One News on a 22.6%  share (or 47,800 viewers).

3 News is also winning in the all important One News demographic of 25-54 Auckland Urban – with a 26.5% share (or 58,000 viewers), compared to their 23.8% share (or 52,100 viewers).

It is also very hard to justify the claim that Auckland urban is a KEY demograph when you can’t actually buy an Auckland urban advertising spot.

You can see from the actual number of viewers that TV3 doesn’t ‘dominate’ the Auckland market in 18-49 or 25-54, in fact we are neck and neck.  In terms of total audience in Auckland, ONE News had a 34.5% share (or 150,700 viewers) compared to 3 News’ 20% share (or 88,100 viewers) watching per evening in July.

It is true to say that in July, 3 News had a slightly better share of the urban Auckland audience than ONE News.  It is also true to say the ONE News had a significantly better share of the OUTSIDE of Auckland-urban audience than 3 News.

Three million people – and by far the largest number of viewers – live OUTSIDE of Auckland-urban.

For the record, ONE News had a 44.9% share (514,400) compared to 3 News’ 25.1% share (287,100) of viewers outside of Auckland-urban watching every evening in July, on average.

Ultimately, TV ratings are very difficult to understand and very easy to manipulate.  In an effort to make the statistics digestible and transparent we issue the data in numbers rather than share percentages and talk in terms of ‘total number of viewers’ rather than narrow target demographics and TARPS.

For example: in July, 665,110 viewers watched ONE News every night on average compared to 375,190 viewers who watched 3 News.

I think you will agree that it’s much easier to understand.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.


We eagerly await TV3’s response…

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About the author

Regan is one of the co-founders of Throng Media.
If they're on, I'm usually watching Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, 24, Battlestar Galactica, The X Factor, Survivor, House of Cards, Mad Men and the NRL.
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  • Rachel

    With a small sample size of approximately 550 18-49 year olds, a difference of 0.6% is too close to make any sort of claim about which network is in the lead – either could be, or there could be no difference statistically.

  • MTar

    Dear TVNZ, since your so good at explaining things, please explain how inaccurate the ratings system is, and why you are actually splitting hairs over incredibly inaccurate data. You must have better things to do like piss into the wind.


    Since you’ve taken the liberty to convert percentages to viewers, can you please explain how many viewers are in the margin of error?

    “29.1% share (or 202,000 viewers)” give or take how many hundred and thousands of viewers do you think?

    I eagerly await your response.


  • anon

    Though both networks rely heavily on advertising during the news and that statistics are key to advertisers, one thing is being lost in this tittle tattle argument of “he said she said” between both networks… namely the news itself.

    The news on both networks has become an homage to tabloid journalism, sensational alliteration to draw you in to a story compiled by a News Reporter from another international network, and whose story has no baring on New Zealand whatsoever. A story which we could have watched 6 hours ago on Pay television, when it went out live, or for free Online.

    For a nation that prides itself on news, we are beginning to lack the experienced journalism and local content. Maybe instead of arguing over a thousand or two thousand imaginary viewers and twisting statistics to make each network look good and pat itself on its back, the networks should look at who is doing the journalism and how they are reporting to a nation.

  • dextra

    It is sort of amazing, the nerve of these two arguing over who’s turd looks better polished.

    Broadly TV3 seems to be struggling with their schedule in general at the moment. July Share was down about 13% year on year, if memory serves.