In depth: Seven Sharp's first month report card

One month of Seven Sharp vs Campbell Live ratings data

TVNZ made it quite clear from the outset that despite the initial ratings snapshots for Seven Sharp “it was still too early to draw conclusions on how the show was tracking” but they’re “very happy with the way the new show is bedding in, but wouldn’t expect to have any firm idea of the trends for another month or so.”

Now that we have a month’s worth of data, we asked TVNZ to comment on how they feel Seven Sharp is performing. A spokesperson for the network told us:

“TVNZ is upbeat about Seven Sharp’s performance so far and we’re pleased with how the show is bedding in.

Seven Sharp is the most popular nightly current affairs show with all New Zealanders. Since it launched last month Seven Sharp has performed ahead of Campbell Live in terms of ratings and audience share for the 5+ TV audience.

There’s growing interest in the show and we’ve got a great base to build on.”

5+ Ratings

TVNZ told us that they use the 5+ ratings measurement to evaluate the ratings success of Seven Sharp.

Here is the 5+ data for Seven Sharp‘s first month vs Campbell Live:


After its first month on air, Seven Sharp had an average audience of 343,938 viewers per episode, 22% higher than its rival on TV3.  Campbell Live had 75,225 fewer viewers per episode on average.

Most notably, Campbell Live won two of the twenty nights, the first (and second) time in its history that TV3 had beaten TV One in the weeknight 7pm timeslot.

Key 25-54 demographic

While TVNZ use the 5+ figures to evaluate the ratings success of the show, others in the industry like to examine more specific demographics. In the key 25-54 demographic, Seven Sharp was not ahead of Campbell Live:


Seven Sharp only won seven of the twenty nights.  Last year, Close Up won sixteen of the twenty nights.

While Campbell Live won more nights, the average 25-54 audience was only very slightly higher with 1,385 viewers more than Seven Sharp.  Last year, Close Up’s average 25-54 audience was 12,300 more than Campbell Live.

Year-on-year performance

To evaluate the ratings success of Seven Sharp, TVNZ also told us their aim is to improve year-on-year performance for the TV ONE 7pm zone. Each year, audience numbers grow in size then taper off again over the summer so just looking at audience sizes from month-to-month is not a good indication of the show’s ratings success or failure.

When comparing this year with last year, Seven Sharp had an average audience that was 16% less than what Close Up had. Meanwhile, Campbell Live increased its average audience by 29%.

In 2012, Close Up had an average audience of 408,000 viewers per episode, almost twice as many as Campbell Live with 208,000.  As mentioned earlier in this article, this year Seven Sharp had an average audience of 343,938 viewers per episode, and Campbell Live had 268,713.

Lead in audience

In 2013, Seven Sharp has appeared hemorrhage its lead in audience: it lost an average of 42% of the massive One News audience every night.  TV3 lost, on average, 16% of its lead in audience from 3 News.

In 2012, One News lost 31% and Campbell Live lost 29% of their lead in audiences.

In conclusion

TV ONE retained the most watched 7PM current affair show title, despite heavy criticism of Seven Sharp‘s format.    The gap with Campbell Live was significantly closer in the 5+ ratings than it was a year ago.  In the 25-54 demographic, Campbell Live and Seven Sharp were neck and neck.  Seven Sharp lost more of ONE News’ audience than last year, while Campbell Live lost less.

February television viewership are usually some of the lowest for the year so it will be of interest to see what happens as more tune in as the evenings get darker and cooler and as new television habits form for the year. Seven Sharp had a rocky start and Campbell Live has much to be happy about with its ratings for February 2012.

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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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  • nigel godfrey

    ‘TVNZ is upbeat about the first month of Seven Sharp’ – that statement says everything one needs to know about the competence of those at the helm of our state broadcaster. I wish I was on what they are on – How marvelous it must be to be able to believe your own BS … and I really think that they do !

  • Anon

    Thanks for that Regan! Interesting.

    I’m enjoying Seven Sharp, the new format is refreshing. Good to see that the ratings are improving despite the criticism! Those that hate on it must still watch it which is amusing!!

    • Mat

      This is the thing. If ever there was a case of damned if you do damned if u don’t, it’s Seven Sharp. The show has put itself in a position where the haters won’t change their minds, largely due to the fact that their minds were quite clearly made before the first show went to air. In the context of the dire opinion pieces that met its arrival on tv1, I think Seven Sharp has made alot of progress . They are shaping a new kind of current affairs tv, and they are slowly getting there. Alot of work still to do in refining the product, but they are getting there.

  • Daniel

    Seven Sharp is absolute rubbish and it should have been pulled after the first broadcast. It is insulting to watch. Who do they think we are?

    • Mat

      Im guessing they see the 340,000 odd people that tune in as people who want to watch it? Im guessing they see the fact that more people (most of the time) would prefer to watch 7 Sharp as would prefer to watch Campbell Live.

      I go on about this, but I am completely happy to read good reasoning for people having a dislike for the show, but the facts are that the ratings are showing that there are people out there (a fair few people) who after 1 month, for whatever reason, actually like what they’ve come up with.

      • Daniel

        What rubbish. TV One can put anything on at that time slot and it will rate because they always have the dedicated viewer numbers. Close Up, from what I remember, had a good couple of hundred on that.

        Most people would agree that Seven Sharp is pointless. And three presenters?

        • Anon

          I agree with Mat. You can’t say that the ratings mean nothing. TV One may have dedicated viewers but you can’t say they don’t know where the off button is or how to change the channel. If it’s crap, people aren’t going to watch it. It’s obvious not everyone thinks it is!

  • Reamonn

    I’m in the process of writing a 3000 word essay for seven sharp… these were my questions. “Discuss how the economic, technical, social, historical and political Influences impacted on the decision to axe close up, and help create the style, influence the scheduling of seven sharp” and “Using specific examples, how does the content reflect the influences as defined in Part A? Your analysis should include reference to the structure, the script, the performance style of all the presenters, the production techniques (camera, sound, graphics). The one thing I noticed, is that I was one of the ones who hated it before I had even watched it. Looking at it this way, we have already made up our minds, even though it’s made up from no evidence whatsoever… To the haters, actually watch the show, you might actually enjoy it! Also bear in mind, Seven Sharp is pushing for a younger target audience, from 25-54 years old… If you aren’t in this demographic, as the show isn’t aimed towards you, you may not like it.