End of Year Analysis: 3 News

3 NewsIn July of 2013, in the midst of a receivership, TV3 lost the Australian soap Home and Away as its lead in to 3 News. Home and Away had been long credited as setting up TV3’s nightly schedule with the audience that it delivered at 5:30pm sticking around for the rest of the evening.

In Home and Away’s absence, the first few weeks saw the average audience for the 5:30pm timeslot drop by more than three quarters. The flow on effect, however, wasn’t as significant with the average audience of 3 News down only 19%.

While 3 News had been impacted by the loss of Home and Away, Campbell Live was delivering audience levels that were 18% higher than its news bulletin lead in, a boost in part off the back of TVNZ’s initial attempt at rejuvenating their own 7pm time slot with Seven Sharp.

The lead in to 3 News had declined year on year for the past 5 years and in 2015, TV3 have an average audience that is 77% lower than what they were getting in 2010.

In 2014, the average audience of the lead in for 3 News fell by 52% with 2015 down a further 32%.

The average audience for the lead in to 3 News is now less than 50,000 viewers per night.

While it is argued that the lead in is important, the decline in the average audience for 3 News over the last 5 years is considerably more concerning than the previous 2.

Since 2010, the average audience for 3 News is down 36% compared to the 77% fall for the lead in. Since 2013 when Home and Away was lost to TV2, the numbers for the lead in have fallen by 67% and 24% for 3 News. In numbers terms, 3 News has lost about 68,000 viewers since losing Home and Away while the lead in has lost approximately 103,000.

If we go back as far as 2010, the loss of audience across the board between the lead in and 3 News is more similar with approximately 165,000 fewer viewers watching the lead in per night and approximately 121,000 less viewers for 3 News now than there were back then.

The most concerning trend, however, is the acceleration of the decline with the average audience for 3 News from the last 3 years seeing falls of 9%, 12% and 14% on the year before.

Irrespective of what is happening at 5:30pm, TV3 has a very serious problem with their news bulletin. I do not believe that the loss of audience to non-news programming is what is diminishing the 3 News audience. While there may be some correlation with the numbers, the argument that one show is reliant on its lead in points to problems with a shows inability to stand on its own merits. While a rejuvenated lead in might contribute to a small rise, the bigger issue is that the news bulletin is becoming less and less of being appointment viewing.

As mentioned, this is one of a number of final pieces of analysis I will be writing.

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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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  • Henry Scobie

    The way I see it, both news shows are afflicted by the same problems. At least, the same problems are turning me off both shows. So what in particular is tanking 3’s news so much more than One’s? I suspect it is the same problem that is tanking TV3 in general right across its viewing schedule, but I’m unable to pin down what exactly this problem is.