Sport and reality shows lead most viewed TV of 2018

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 6 February 2019

The AFL, NRL, Commonwealth Games and Melbourne Cup have dominated ratings as some of the most viewed television events of 2018, while The Royal Wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle helped secure Seven's overall network victory.

This year's AFL grand final between the West Coast Eagles and Collingwood Magpies took out the first and second most viewed spots, with the grand final 'presentations' and game itself, drawing in 2.616m and 2.615m metro viewers respectively.

Nine then dominated the next four spots, as its coverage of the first two games of the State of Origin series, NRL grand final and The Block 'winner announced' each drew in viewership in the low two milion mark.

The Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony was the last show of 2018 to draw in more than two milion viewers, coming in seventh place. The Royal Wedding Ceremony came close, drawing in 1.99m viewers.

Nine's Married at First Sight made its mark, with its finale coming in at 10th place, while its final dinner party came in 14th, drawing in 1.9m and 1.76m respectively.

Sneaking in at 20 was the My Kitchen 'winner announced' segment, drawing in 1.63m viewers.

Other key sporting juggernauts including the 2018 Australian Open men's final and the Melbourne Cup race, both airing for the final time on Seven, also made the list, with 1.908m and 1.74m.

SBS also made an appearance, with its coverage of Australia vs France and Australia vs Denmark in this year's FIFA World Cup coming in at 18th and 19th, and each generating a viewership of just over 1.6m.

Absent from the list was Network Ten, whose coverage of the Big Bash League final was missing, as well as its tentpole reality shows such as MasterChef, The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and I'm a Celeb.

In the main channel battle for the year, Seven took a 20.8% share, followed by Nine with 18.8% and Ten with 12.2%, which narrowly pipped the ABC which mustered a 12.1% slice. SBS remained last with a 5.5% share.

Over on the multi channels, 7Mate dominated the top 20 shows for the year, taking 17 spots, with ABCkids/Comedy taking the final three.

AFL once again dominated this list, however, no program was able to crack the elusive 500,000 viewer mark. The 2018 Winter Olympics was also a winner for Seven, cracking the 300,000 viewer mark on multiple occasions, while the 2018 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race drew 378,000.

Foxtel's top shows were also reflective of a network whose viewership is heavily invested in its sporting coverage, with the AFL, International T20 cricket and NRL taking the top three spots.

Fox Cricket also proved its value to the pay-TV audience, making multiple appearances throughout its top 20 programs, with game three of the T20 series between Australia and India drawing in 476,000, while day three of the second test between the two drew in 418,000.

According to the figures from OzTam, here is the full list of top TV shows for free-to-air and Foxtel in 2018:


Top free-to-air shows in 2018.


Top Foxtel programs for the year.

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