Roy Morgan Research
May 13, 2019

News and Reality TV are the most popular TV genres

Topic: Press Release
Finding No: 7969
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Australia’s leading TV networks know the importance of the early evening TV news bulletin for setting up their evening programs and the latest research from Roy Morgan confirms that News is the most watched TV genre in an average week seen by 61% of Australians – the only TV genre seen by more than 1-in-2 Australians.

The second most watched TV genre in Australia is Reality TV seen by 41% of Australians in an average week. The popularity of shows like My Kitchen Rules, MasterChef Australia, The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Survivor drives the relatively new TV category comfortably ahead of more traditional TV formats.

Just over a third of Australians watch Current Affairs shows (34%) such as Four Corners, A Current Affair or 60 Minutes in an average week or Dramas (34%) such as Criminal Minds, Midsomer Murders or Call the Midwife on TV in an average week.

Coming in next and watched by just under a third of Australians are Quiz/Game Shows (33%) such as Hot Seat, Hard Quiz or Have You Been Paying Attention or TV Sport (32%) led by the AFL, NRL and (until this week) The Footy Show AFL.

Other popular categories include Home/Lifestyle/Travel shows (30%), Comedies (30%) or Documentaries (29%). The tenth most watched TV genre is Chat seen by 19% of Australians in an average week.

The results provided here regarding the most watched TV genres of Australians are based on interviews with over 50,000 Australians during 2018 as part of the Roy Morgan Single Source survey.

Top 10 most watched TV genres 2018

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, January – December 2018, n=50,853. Base: Australians 14+.

Women prefer Reality TV, Dramas & Home/Lifestyle/Travel whereas men opt for Sport

In an era of proliferating entertainment options the TV still retains a key role as an important medium to reach large numbers of Australians and there are some trends that emerge even when looking at a relatively simple gender break-down for different types of TV genres.

Of the top 10 TV genres women are more likely to have watched eight of the top 10 TV genres than men. The only exceptions are Current Affairs shows, seen by 34% of both women and men in an average week, and Sport, watched by 36% of men compared to only 28% of women in an average week.

The TV genres with the largest gaps in favour of women are Reality TV watched by 45% of women and 37% of men in an average week and Home/Lifestyle/Travel shows seen by 34% of women and only 26% of men in an average week.

Other TV genres which are seen by far more women than men include Dramas watched by 37% of women and just 30% of men and Chat shows seen by 23% of women and only 16% of men in an average week.

Top 10 most watched TV genres: Women cf. men 2018

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, January – December 2018, n=50,853. Base: Australians 14+.

Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan, says the old staple of the News is still the most watched TV genre and the only genre watched by more than half of Australians in an average week despite the growth of alternative media options:

Block Quote

“Over three-fifths of Australians watch the News on TV in an average week – far higher than the viewership of any other category and this fact underlies the importance TV networks place on providing a comprehensive run-down of the day’s news in their 6pm (or 7pm) daily early evening news broadcasts.

“Coming in unchallenged in second place is Reality TV watched by 42% of Australians and including some of the most popular shows on TV such as My Kitchen Rules, MasterChef Australia, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.

“The impressive viewership numbers these shows attract are a key reason why we are likely to see more Reality TV shows on our screens in the years ahead as Australia’s commercial TV networks compete with Streaming Video on Demand services such as Netflix – now viewed by more than 11 million Australians.

“Behind these leading genres there are several that are watched by around a third of Australians including Current Affairs (34%), Dramas (34%), Quiz/Game Shows (33%), Sport (32%), Home/Lifestyle/Travel (30%), Comedies (30%) and Documentaries (29%).

“This spread of varied TV genres underlines the importance attached to understanding the different types of Australians that are attracted to these very different shows. To get the most ‘bang for the advertising buck’ it is vital to have a full understanding of who is watching what.”

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Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size Percentage Estimate
40% – 60% 25% or 75% 10% or 90% 5% or 95%
1,000 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2

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