2020 Brekky Battle | SUNRISE wins breakfast as TODAY and ABC BREAKFAST lift across the year


It’s been a massive year for our friends who get up before the dawn, and while “everybody” won something, some won more than others.

First of all, we need to cut Sam, Ally, Lisa, Kochie, Kochie, Karl and Michael (and the rest of those involved in front of and behind the camera) all a break: delivering 15-18 hours of TV every week is really hard work.

That said you’re only as good as the numbers the next morning, and here’s how they look from week 2 through to week 50 inclusive (I figure everyone gets four weeks a year off, right?).

Both Seven and Nine have put out their releases claiming their segments of our breakfast viewing habits, and it is no question Seven have finished the year on top again. However, as the graph above shows it wasn’t one-way traffic for Kochie and Sam – despite what their PR Jedis tell us.

So let’s have a look at those claims and see how they stack up…

Sunrise had a massive year, with their biggest morning (381,000 – 06/04/20) coming in the first month of what became rolling coverage of Coronavirus press conferences. They did win Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth markets, however were pipped in Brisbane (often a bellweather market for the East Coast).

Sam Armytage and David Koch didn’t win every day of the survey year though, incredibly unseated for just one day in November which broke a near two-year record.

Of critical concern for Executive Producer Michael Pell and his team is that downward trendline across the year, though it can largely be explained away due to the huge spike in March/April during the start of the pandemic coverage.

Their 5CM average across the ratings year was 279,000 viewers.

The Today Show started the new year early, and with another new team (most notably with a returning Karl Stefanovic). Their biggest day (314,000 – 23/03/20) was the initial announcements by the Prime Minister about the Coronovirus and how we would approach dealing with it. They won Brisbane on total people, and Brisbane and Melbourne in the key 25-54 demo. Year-on-year importantly the show is up just under 11% – critical when unfairly comparing teams.

Karl & Allison Langdon did come close to Kochie and Sam – twice. On both Monday 07/09/20 and Tuesday 20/10/20 they came within 7,000 viewers of their rivals at Seven.

The trendline across the year ticked every so slightly up for Executive Producer Steven Burling and his brekky team, and one they’ll be keen to see continue (if not rise more sharply) in 2021.

Their 5CM average across the ratings year was 215,000 viewers.

ABC Breakfast had the entire year with new host Lisa Millar joining stalwart Michael Rowland as the sun came up in Melbourne. They benefitted from being made in Melbourne (both Seven and Nine’s offerings are hosted out of Sydney studio facilities), particularly during the second lockdown in Melbourne, regularly winning that market over both Sunrise and Today. While the ABC don’t play for ratings (*cough* rubbish *cough*) the team had a very successful year, with one incredible milestone of note.

Lisa & Michael’s best day (313,000 – 05/11/20) saw them beat BOTH Sunrise and Today as we tuned in for information regarding the US Presidential election outcome. A first for the team, and a significant moment in breaking Sunrise’s record run.

ABC Breakfast beat Today an incredible 85 times across the week 2-50 period, and came in second behind Sunrise 15 weeks in that same period. Consequently their trendline across the year saw a significant positive movement and Executive Producer Emily Butselaar and her team should be credited for this outcome of their continuing hard work.

NOTE: ABC Breakfast is simulcast on both ABC and ABC News each morning (the latter live in non-AEDT markets), so their numbers are a summed average of both broadcasts. Neither of their commercial rivals offer this to non-SYD/MEL viewers.

Their 5CM average across the ratings year was 209,000 viewers.

All ratings data listed is Five City Metro (5CM), overnights only.
Ratings year = weeks 7-14 & 17-48 inclusive (weeks 15 & 16 Easter break).

Steve Molk
Steve Molk is sharply focused on the business of TV in Australia across all its formats - FTA broadcast, commercial, subscription, catch up & SVOD. Based on the Central Coast of NSW he's a passionate advocate for Australian-made programming, particularly drama and comedy. He loves podcasting, gaming & watching too much TV. For all media enquiries please call or text 0401-709-405



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