Big Win for TVNZ 1 Debate UPDATED

Last night’s leaders debate ignited TVNZ 1’s ratings, with the hour-long live telecast averaging 11.1% of the network’s target audience, 25-54 year-olds, and 16.2% of viewers 5+.

In this era of media fragmentation and declining free-to-air viewership, that was an extraordinary result, earning TVNZ 1 a 25-54 channel share of 36.9% and a 48.8% share of 5+.

Shortland Street beat the first half of the debate in the 18-49, 18-39 and household shoppers demos but overall the leaders’ first one-on-one primetime encounter still averaged impressive ratings in these demos of 8.3% – 9.5%.

The debate reaped a big lead-in from 1 News at 6pm with its latest poll results: it averaged 9.2% of 25-54s compared to Newshub Live at 6pm’s 6.2%.

The debate’s popularity helped lead-out Prince Harry in Africa to win its slot with a 25-54 average of 5.4%, 18-49 average of 4.5% and a 5+ average of 8.5%.

Why TVNZ 1 chose to transmit the debate in SD is a mystery, given the network’s other news and current affairs programmes are now all in HD.

Since posting this, TVNZ has just issued a press release:

More than a million New Zealanders watched the first live Leaders Debate between Bill English and Jacinda Ardern last night on TVNZ 1 and streamed online – up on 2014 audience numbers.

Last night was the first time voters got to see the leaders of the country’s biggest parties going head-to-head in an hour long primetime debate.

The first 1 NEWS Vote 17 Leaders Debate reached 1.1 million TV viewers and was watched by an average audience of 783,000 (AP5+).  Nearly half of New Zealand’s TV viewing audience were locked on the programme (48.8% share).

There were a total of 144,000 streams across TVNZ’s online channels. The debate was available on’s live stream and OnDemand, 1 NEWS NOW, RE:  and TVNZ’s YouTube channel, as well as Facebook Live.

John Gillespie, TVNZ’s Head of News and Current Affairs says: “Last night was a big TV moment. In the country’s living rooms, pubs and bars, people were riveted by the debate.  It was a massive news day in so many ways with our latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll coming shortly before the debate adding to the drama of the night.

“The debate was a galvanising event for so many New Zealanders. The keen interest and engagement in the political process is great to see.  It’s important to us to be able to bring it to so many people.”

The debate was moderated by Mike Hosking. “Mike did an outstanding job,” says John Gillespie.  “We look forward to next Friday’s debate.”

On 8 September at 7pm on TVNZ 1, 1 NEWS’ 90 minute Multi-Party debate brings together the potential coalition partners of the major parties.

1 NEWS’ Vote Compass tool has now been used 225,000 times. Vote Compass gives voters a clear picture of how their views line up with the policies of the political parties.

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2 Responses to “Big Win for TVNZ 1 Debate UPDATED”

  1. Warning: preg_replace(): Unknown modifier '/' in /home/customer/www/ on line 66
    September 1, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    I’m most likely the only person around who wasn’t interested in watching this.

  2. Make that 2 of us not interested.

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