Channel 7 boss JAMES WARBURTON calls for the end of ‘antiquated’ overnight TV ratings

The CEO of one of Australia’s largest television networks, James Warburton has called for immediate end of reporting for overnight TV ratings data.

In an opinion piece published in the Nine owned Australian Financial Review, The CEO of the Seven Network, James Warburton has described overnight metro ratings figures as “misleading” and “antiquated” and has called on media journalists to cease reporting on the data.

“Overnight audience numbers are misleading. In some cases, they represent less than 70 per cent of a TV program’s true audience. When catch-up viewing in its various forms and live-streaming are added, some programs add hundreds of thousands of “new” viewers. Not hundreds, but hundreds of thousands.

For years, self-appointed experts have proclaimed TV is dying. They are, of course, wrong (and, in many cases, biased). TV isn’t dying. It is changing. It is adapting to changes in how, where and when people want to watch video content.”

James Warburton and Sonia Kruger (image – News Corp)

The call comes after ratings agency OZTAM recently started providing a new Total TV ratings report to media outlets at 9am. The new report combines metro and regional broadcast viewers for the last 7 days, combined with viewers who consume content online via Broadcast Video On Demand (BVOD).

The introduction of the new Total TV report has seen overnight data de-prioritised by networks with the information now released one-hour later at 10am. TV Blackbox is one of a limited number of media publications which is now reporting Total TV Ratings figures on a daily basis.

“Most of the journalists who write about TV are ignoring the total audience numbers and still focusing on overnights.” says Warburton.

“That is not even remotely surprising. As an industry, we spent decades feeding the media reporting of the overnight ratings. The only way to stop that is to stop the public distribution of the overnight ratings. That isn’t going to happen, at least, not yet”

The overnight ratings are not what we trade on with media buyers or for our clients, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong. The seven-day total audience numbers are an important currency and show the real reach and impact of our content.”


You can read the full the opinion piece from James Warburton published here.

Kevin Perry
Co-Creator and Editor of the TV Blackbox website, Kevin Perry is an experienced media commentator focused on TV Production, Consumer Tech, SVOD & Sports Broadcasting. Media enquiries please Call or Text 0428-275-111



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here



Featured Stories




Cox Plate and The Invitation live and free this Saturday on Seven

Some of Australian racing’s most coveted prizes go on the line this Saturday, as the Spring Racing Carnival heats up on the Seven Network with Cox Plate Day at Moonee Valley and City Tattersalls Club Cup Day at Royal Randwick.

NITV announces appointment of Peter Noble as General Manager

National Indigenous Television (NITV) has announced the appointment of Peter Noble as General Manager, to support the continued growth and evolution of the channel dedicated to First Nations voices and perspectives.