“SBS last night recorded one of its highest audiences of the year for Vikings and its highest rating drama on SBS ONE since Marx and Venus in January 2008, with a total of 1.3million people tuning in to the first two episodes,” claimed an SBS press release.
At those kind of numbers the public broadcaster would be close to toppling The X Factor! If only they were true.
Alas, it’s all spin.
Reading more into the press release we learn:
Episode one attracted a combined metro and regional audience of 744,000 (506,000 metro and 238,000 regional) with a free-to-air share of 12.4% metro and 11.9% regional.
Episode two attracted a combined metro and regional audience of 613,000 (424,000 metro and 189,000 regional) with a free-to-air share of 12.8% metro and 12.4% regional.
So not only are these national numbers, but SBS has actually added two episodes together to create a magical 1.3m viewers, as if to suggest the people watching episode one was a different set of viewers to those watching episode two. In fact the show lost 82,000 metro viewers between episodes.
It’s a shame it needed to spin this way because the numbers for 5 city metro, at 506,000, were actually very good by SBS standards -more than double what Better Man had a week earlier in the same timeslot.
Outside of sport, episode one was the third highest rating program on SBS ONE this year, beaten only by Eurovision and Who Do You Think You Are?
But it still wasn’t 1.3m no matter how you try to fudge it.
Lift your game please…
SBS has issued a second Release now noting in part:
Coming off the back of Better Man, SBS’s first commissioned drama in 3 years, historical drama Vikings had its Australian debut on SBS to a combined average audience of 746k viewers (Metro + Regional), holding a 12.4% Metro FTA share.
SBS treated audiences to two episodes of Vikings back-to-back on Thursday, resulting in a 5 minute consecutive reach of 1.29 million (908k Metro + 381k Regional). The 9 part series continues next Thursday at 21:30, with an encore screening on SBS 2 Tuesday 21:35.