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Australia’s Top 20 “most engaging” TV shows?

Period drama Versailles on SBS has topped a survey of TV shows Australians most choose to deliberately watch, according to Roy Morgan Research.

The unusual survey asked respondents about viewing of over 400 shows broadcast on commercial free-to-air  television in 2016:

‘I especially choose to watch’,
‘I watch if there’s nothing better on’
‘I watch only because someone else in the household wants to’.
(And none of the above, of course, when they never watch the show).

The answers drew a wildly different list compared to OzTAM ratings based on engagement and commitment vs what would amount to more casual or sporadic viewing.

Often a show can appear to rate highly but have a higher share of casual viewers, and then when it changes timeslot or a different show comes up against it the ratings fall – whereas the shows with more ‘especially choosing’ will follow timeslot change etc (and of course audience is more likely to grow if those watching are choosing to).

Versailles on SBS took the crown for having the highest share of viewers in the audience especially choosing to watch (76 percent).


Lisa Meunier, General Manager – Media, Roy Morgan Research, says: “Television remains the dominant at-home media, however the increasing competition makes it vital that the market plays close attention to the levels of audience engagement.

“Almost half of all commercial TV viewership is by people who ‘especially choose to watch’. Another 35 percent is being watched because there’s ‘nothing better on’ and 16 percent because a ‘household member watches’.

“Dramas may not always rate as well as reality TV, broad comedies, news and sport, but their value to broadcasters and advertisers is enhanced by the level of dedication among those watching. Hyde and Seek and The Secret Daughter are two new Aussie dramas that premiered last year on commercial TV and quickly gained a strong following.

“Roy Morgan Research has been closely monitoring the trends in traditional television viewership alongside the rapid take-up of smartphones, tablets, Smart TVs, casting devices, and Subscription Video On Demand services, as well as the changing behaviours on multi-screening, downloading and streaming, recording and viewing catch-up TV.

“Australians have more at-home entertainment options than ever, and more personal viewing devices. Increasingly, audiences have less reason to watch anything they don’t especially choose to, and so monitoring audience using this metric is vital. By definition, viewers who aren’t watching by choice are more inclined to switch—whether to another free-to-air TV channel, an SVOD service, or YouTube.

“Audience that especially to choose to watch are more reliable, and potentially more valuable to advertisers seeking to maximise the ROI of their commercial TV budget.”

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