TV stations reckon they are the big election winner
Politics wasn't a turn-off for viewers during the election campaign, and come the night itself, it was the only show in town.
Both major TV networks are claiming victories for their audience figures for Saturday night.
MediaWorks' Three recorded a significant (21 per cent) leap from 2014 in their average audience in the advertiser-friendly 25-54 year old demographic they prefer, while TVNZ's reach amongst all ages increased by almost 29 per cent, according to Nielsen figures released by the networks.
If the drift towards the political left wasn't quite enough for a clear majority in our electoral system, there was certainly a shift amongst 25-54 year old viewers as to what channel they tuned into on the big night. Last time out, the average audiences were 164,345 to 138,766 in favour of TVNZ, this time around it was a 176, 294 to 143,801 victory in favour of Three.
Once again though, TVNZ proved how much of a dominance it has amongst the 55-plus audience, with the overall average viewing numbers of those aged over five tilting in their favour 472,000 to 341,000, although the difference between the networks reduced from 45 per cent to 27 per cent from election night 2014.
In comparison, Stuff's domestic unique audience topped 1.4 million on Saturday, and again on Sunday, according to Nielsen Market Intelligence. Stuff had by far the biggest online audience on the day of the election, with more than 430,000 unique users ahead of its nearest rival.
Stuff editor Patrick Crewdson said the live blog and dynamic results pages proved enormously popular with the audience.
"Having it confirmed, again, that Stuff is where Kiwis turn for comprehensive coverage of major news is a fantastic reward for our journalists' hard work on the campaign trail," he said.
MediaWorks' chief news officer Hal Crawford said the network's audience figures were a "great end to a great campaign for Newshub" and applauded journalists Duncan Garner, Lisa Owen and Paddy Gower.
"We put in the groundwork and planning to produce five hours of quality TV and it showed," he said.
"Our reporters, producers and camera operators in the field got to the big names first. Online and on social networks, the audience came to Newshub for information and analysis - and streamed the coverage in unprecedented numbers. 314,000 live steams in total, across web and social networks."
However, while that's no doubt a cause for celebration at MediaWorks, TVNZ's head of news and current affairs John Gillespie has declared himself more than happy with what was "a massive night for the country, for journalism and for 1News".
"We had a quarter of a million live streams for election night, which reflects the massive change in viewer behaviour since this time three years ago.
"To have nearly 1.5 million TV viewers turning to us on election night is what we live for. We're all about getting the story out there. I'm proud of how we served viewers throughout the election campaign and on Saturday night.".