What are people watching on TVNZ on Demand in 2019? Some of these fabulous faces.

The latest TVNZ OnDemand figures reveal a TV-watching nation divided

Today, TVNZ released its latest findings on who is watching what on TVNZ OnDemand. Sam Brooks analyses the results.

Today, TVNZ released the 2019 figures for who is watching TVNZ OnDemand, what they’re watching and in what kind of numbers. The big numbers are hopeful – over 1.4 million people reached so far this year, 340,000 people reached each week, 175 million streams in total – but the little numbers might be a little hard to parse.

I’ve run down some of the stats and included some short explainers on what they tell us – or sometimes simply scratched my head, because some of these stats gave me a lot of pause. Like pause the television and go make a sandwich kind of pause.

Let’s get into it.

People are still watching Shortland Street – just maybe not at 7pm

While the show might not be going as strong as it once was, it’s pointless to deny that people are still tuning in to see how many children the literal human stud Chris Warner has populated one suburb with. Shortland Street is TVNZ’s most streamed show, the show with the highest reach, the most locally watched show, the show most watched on mobile and the most binged show on demand.

People still bloody love Friends

It might not be cool anymore, and there’s a whole lot of homophobia, gaslighting and abusive relationships in it, but goddamn if it’s not 10 seasons of bingeable content. Friends, despite ending its run 15 years ago, is the second-most streamed show on TVNZ, and the third most binged show.

Did you know if you were born in the same year Friends started airing (1993), then you’ll be the same age now that the characters were then? Death comes for us all!

The highest reaching shows are a mixture of local faves and international hits

New Zealand may well be the only country in the world where Killing Eve is one of the highest-reaching shows (“reach” in this context means number of people who’ve seen it, if only briefly), and that’s pretty awesome. In saying that, so is The Big Bang Theory, so let’s not pat ourselves on the back too hard here. The other highest reaching shows on TVNZ are Shortland Street, Anika Moa Unleashed and Wentworth.

Men love to watch men – and naked people?

The most watched show by men is Catch-22, in case you had any concerns that a brown-tinged George Clooney miniseries based on one of the Great Literary Classics was going to go by unnoticed. The second most watched show is The Walking Dead, which proves that men would rather watch dead people than women. (I have not seen an episode of The Walking Dead, but I understand not a lot of women feature in it.)

More bizarrely, the third most-watched show by men is… Naked Attraction? I suspect across the nation there are many men in stained white singlets explaining to their long-suffering wives that they ‘just watch TVNZ on Demand for Catch-22’.

And women love to watch women!

The most watched shows by women tend to feature quite a lot of women! Their most watched show is The Bachelor, which has, if nothing else, a large woman-to-man ratio. It’s followed up by Grey’s Anatomy (season fifteen!), Call the Midwife (season eight!), Gloriavale: The Return (season return!), and Love Island UK.

The North Island and South Island have hugely different tastes

In the North Island, the most streamed TVNZ show was Surviving R. Kelly, while in the South Island it was Hyundai Country Calendar. Colour me surprised that the, uh, target demo of HCC is able to access streaming services. I remain, as ever, wrong about fifty percent of the time.

The rest of the North Island is watching Legacies (a supernatural teen show that exists), My Kitchen Rules Australia, Anika Moa Unleashed, and Wellington Paranormal. Meanwhile, the rest of the South Island is digging their eyeballs into Coronation Street (the concept of streaming that show is wild to me), The Bay, Naked Attraction and The Cry.

Feel free to use any of this statistical information in your next ‘people from the North Island be like this, while people from the South Island be like this’ comedy routine.

The most popular shows per episode are, unsurprisingly, shows that are streaming-only or dropped on the service first

In what feels to me like a strange metric, the most popular shows per episode tend to be shows that people can’t accidentally watch – they have to properly turn on the telly/computer/fridge and watch them. They’re the Lost-but-not-Lost drama Manifest, Ruth Wilson vehicle Mrs. Wilson, Michael Jackson doco Leaving Neverland, British lady cop procedural The Bay and aforementioned Naked Attraction excuse Catch22.

Of these, the only one to air on terrestrial television is Catch-22, quite a few weeks after it dropped on streaming.

The top live stream moments are a mixture of obvious, sad, and sports

The most watched live stream moment is the March 15 One News special, for obvious reasons. The rest of the top 5 includes The Chase, the Sevens coverage, the T20 Black Clash and the Oscars, which is proof if nothing else that a lot of offices let gay men stream whatever they want at 2:30pm on a certain award-filled afternoon.

Our people are watching the best of our local shows – and Heartbreak Island

Of course Shortland Street tops this list out, but it’s super heartening to see that people are also streaming Anika Moa Unleashed, Wellington Paranormal and Educators. All world-class television, all-worth watching. Running up behind is Heartbreak Island, proof that people loving watching shows with a worrying skin-to-clothing ratio.

Lots of people are streaming in Auckland!

Auckland is, maybe due to internet speeds, the place in New Zealand with the highest number of streams. Fellow metropolis Wellington brings up the rear at fifth place, with Northland, Canterbury and Hawke’s Bay filling in the middle. Best hope you’ve got unlimited data!

People loved watching all kinds of Sheldon with their family

I have no Big Bang Theory related commentary. But hey, people also like watching George Clooney and Jackie van Beek with their family! Good on those families.

People watch Shortland Street heaps on their phone

It’s the most-watched show on mobile! Weirdly, so is Wentworth, which seems surprising for such a moody, atmospheric show.

People watch, uh, shows featuring scantily-clad humans alone

No comment.

People binge shows that, shock-horror, have a lot of episodes to get through.

There are 110 minutes of Shortland Street a week, the same of Home and Away, approximately 7260 minutes of Friends total, 7314 minutes of The Big Bang Theory, and only god knows how much Coronation Street. So it’s no surprise all of these are OnDemand’s most binged shows.

Also, TVNZ defines a binge as ‘more than three episodes in the same show in the same day’. If that’s bingeing, I don’t want to know what the hell I’m doing.

A substantial amount of people still watch on-demand TV on an actual television

Even though the stereotype is that lots of people watch television on their phones (36%) or on their laptops (26%), it appears the most common way for people to watch TVNZ OnDemand is still on their actual television screen, be it through an app on their television or some other kind of console, at a whopping 38%.

That’s quite important information! While there’s definitely people who are, for some reason, watching Naked Attraction or Catch-22, on a bus or whatever, there’s still a lot of people who are sitting down to intentionally watch some show or another on an actual television. 

This graph shows some great data in the most misleading way possible!

Get your year 11/fifth form maths books out, because we’re here to look at these graphs.

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So, yes, streams are way up from 2018! Looking at this bar graph, never the most ideal way to present detailed information but a very visually appealing way to do so, it appears that daily streams are up from an average of 385,000 to an average of 475,000. That’s a 23% increase, which is nothing to sniff at.

But! Streams are not as up as this graph makes it seem! The graph makes it look as though the 2019 streams are nearly triple what they were in 2018! Which is not the case, as you can see. It’s the streaming equivalent of putting Gandalf closer to the camera so he looks taller than Frodo. You’ve already got Gandalf there, TVNZ! You don’t need to make him bigger.

1,352 shows were watched.

And not one of them was Desperate Housewives.


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