Sunrise dominates breakfast by a whopping 45% ratings lead as EP Michael Pell accuses rivals of copying successful formula


New research obtained by TV Blackbox shows Seven’s Sunrise continues to outpace its rivals

In the battle for breakfast Channel 7’s Sunrise continues to show its strength. Just recently Nat Barr took over from Sam Armytage and it would appear the transition has gone very smoothly.

TV Blackbox can reveal, in data collated from OzTAM and regional audience measurement system RegTAM, for the calendar year to date for 2021 Sunrise has averaged 438,000 nationally compared to 302,000 for Channel 9’s Today show. That’s a lead of 45%, which is an astonishing result.

If we take a look at the metro figures we can see the race is a bit tighter with the margin dropping to (a still impressive) 25%. Sunrise leads with 254,000 to 203,000 for Today.

Currently a PR battle is taking place between the red (7) and blue (9) teams over which ratings measurement to use.

Since the mid ’10s Seven has pushed the national figure, which includes regional and metro figures.

Nine has continued to talk about gains in specific metro cities, specifically Melbourne, even though Sunrise remains #1 in that market.

Sunrise Executive Producer Michael Pell takes issue with any reporting broken down by state as he believes that is not indicative of the big picture, as he revealed while speaking to me recently on the McKnight Tonight podcast:

“For a show to come out and say ‘Yay, we won Melbourne’ and you go well what happened in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and the rest of the country – did you lose them? I mean, I think it’s wiser to look at the country as a whole.”

Breaking ratings down to a city-by-city report is something Seven has been known to do, but Pell has evolved his thinking over the years:

“My view is that we’re one country, not a country made up of different cities or coasts,

“I think we still do sell ourselves on the idea of a 5 city metro, which is so outdated.”

There’s no doubt Today has made significant ground on the East Coast whereas Sunrise remains very strong in Perth and Adelaide, where Seven has a stranglehold. Despite those increases though, Sunrise remains number 1.

TV commentators, including myself, believe the 200k metro mark is the level the TODAY show needs to stay above in the short term while it is still rebuilding its brand.

Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon have proven to be a good team who are reconnecting with viewers. It has been acknowledged within Nine that it will take time to get viewers back after the turmoil of the past few years which saw Stefanovic bumped from the show for Georgie Gardner and Deb Knight.

While Pell believes the Today show is on a better path than recent years, he says they are copying Sunrise in an attempt to bring in more viewers:

“I like some of what they do but it looks familiar to what we have been doing. I don’t wanna call copy-cat but some of it does look very similar”

But whichever way you look at it, Sunrise continues to remain #1 with an impressive list of stats:

  • Sunrise is averaged 438k nationally in 2021 v Today 302k
    • 45% more audience nationally
  • Metro Sunrise 254k nationally vs Today 203k
    • 25% more audience in metro markets
  • Sunrise is Number 1 Nationally
    • Number 1 in Metro Markets
    • Number 1 on the East Coast
  • Sunrise has won every week this year
    • Nationally and in metro markets
  • Sunrise won every week in 2020
    • Nationally and in metro markets
  • Sunrise has won breakfast every day since 2017 Nationally
  • Sunrise has won every day at a metro level since 2018

You can hear more from our wide-ranging interview with Michael Pell in the player below or search TV Blackbox and McKnight Tonight in your favourite podcast feed

Robert McKnight
"Leading TV commentator" - The Daily Telegraph | "Known for his impeccable sources in the TV industry" - The Daily Mail | "Always first with the correct info" - Beau Ryan | Robert McKnight is a highly regarded Australian Television Producer having worked at SEVEN, NINE and TEN during his 25 years in the industry. Publicly he is most well-known for creating and producing STUDIO 10 but has worked on SUNRISE, THE MORNING SHOW plus other prime time productions in addition to creating award-winning news campaigns for both 7NEWS and 9NEWS. Currently, Rob is the host and producer of the TV BLACKBOX, MCKNIGHT TONIGHT and MONSTERS WHO MURDER podcasts plus host & executive producer of the video streaming show THE ANJ, ROB & ROBBO SHOW.



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