What reality TV shows are Australians watching?

4 mins

Reality TV shows have become a ubiquitous part of Australian culture, much like avocado toast and flat whites. It’s hard to find anyone who hasn’t indulged in at least one reality TV series in their lifetime, whether they admit it or not.

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Australia’s reality TV landscape is as diverse and complex as the nation itself. From Love Island to The Block and Ninja Warrior, the shows Aussies love to watch reflect the country’s love for DIY, food, and drama. And, with such a diverse range of options, it’s no surprise that Australians across all states and territories have become avid fans of reality TV.

As the summer holidays draw to a close, TV networks and streaming platforms are gearing up for another exciting year. If you’re curious about the reality TV shows are Aussies are watching and loving, read on. 

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On social media, Survivor, Married At First Sight, and The Block are the most talked-about reality TV shows

We analysed the Share of Voice (SOV) for 11 of Australia’s most popular reality TV shows. SOV refers to the number of conversations about a particular topic, including both negative and positive sentiment.

One of the highlights of 2022 was the return of Network 10’s Australian Survivor. This season, known as Australian Survivor: Blood V Water featured both new and returning contestants competing against one other alongside their loved ones. While the show was relatively free from controversy, viewers took to Twitter to express their annoyance at the excessive use of frankenbiting, an editing technique that spliced different conversations together for narrative cohesion. For some viewers, the edits were too abrupt and distracting.

Diversity Down Under

Our findings indicate that when it comes to reality TV shows, Australians have varied interests across states and territories. Our analysis using Google Trends revealed fascinating insights into the most searched-for TV show in 2022. While popular shows like Masterchef Australia, MAFS, and Survivor were searched for repeatedly nationwide, other shows such as The Traitors, Ninja Warrior, and Love Island dominated specific regions. 

For instance, Ninja Warrior was the most searched show in the Northern Territory. The show, where everyday athletes compete for a chance to ascend Mount Midoriyama, had 212,000 regional viewers per episode in 2022, according to Nine, the show’s network.

Love Island Australia, on the other hand, was the most searched show in Western Australia, where Perth local, Maddy Gillbanks garnered significant attention. Tasmania, meanwhile, had a high search volume for The Traitors, a psychological thriller based on the Dutch series De Verraders that features Nigel Brennan, a former photojournalist who escaped after being kidnapped by insurgents while in Somalia.

Interestingly, all three shows are relatively new to the Australian reality TV scene, indicating that some viewers may be seeking fresh perspectives while perennial favourites like The Block and Masterchef Australia remain popular.

Local and global streaming players jockey for supremacy in Australia

Unsurprisingly, global provider Netflix dominates the streaming market in Australia. In 2022, Media Partners Asia found that Netflix claimed 30 percent of the nation’s 22.1 million premium streaming subscribers.  However, local streaming services have emerged over time, giving more options to fans of reality TV shows and more localized content. 

Finder, an Australian financial comparison site, released a report revealing how Australians are using other streaming platforms such as Disney+, Prime Video, and Binge as alternatives to Netflix. Additionally,  free-to-air networks like Seven Network, Nine Network, and Network 10, offer online demand streaming services such as 7Plus, Stan, 9Now, and 10Play, that feature popular shows MAFS, Masterchef Australia, and The Bachelor.

Expect new genres in 2023

Aussies have a long-standing love affair with popular shows like Survivor Australia and The Block. However, with the introduction to new reality TV genres and concepts in 2023, this relationship may change. 

One such show that has already made a splash is Taskmaster Australia, which is an adaptation of the popular British comedy series of the same name. The Australian versions of the show premiered in early February and has already gained over 621,000 viewers in five major metropolitan cities. According to tweets from Aussie viewers, they find the series to be a refreshing addition to the genre.

Building on this momentum, the creators of Masterchef Australia are introducing a spin-off series called Masterchef: Dessert Masters. The show will focus solely on desserts and sweet treats, and will premiere on Network 10’s streaming service, 10Play in the winter. 

Additionally, after a 14-year hiatus, Australian Idol has returned. Australians can also expect exciting new reality shows like FBOY Island Australia, which focuses on singles looking for drama-free love, and The Challenge—a spin-off of the reality shows The Real World and Road Ruleshow, where contestants are made to compete against one another in various extreme challenges to avoid elimination.

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