The Bachelor NZ

returned to our screens for a third season this week but fewer viewers settled in to follow Zac Franich on his quest for eternal love.

230,000 viewers aged 5+ watched the debut episode, down from 284,000 last year and 278,000 in 2015.

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In the key commercial demographic of 25-54, 133,000 viewers watched the debut episode, compared to 165,000 last year. However, it still beat the competition to become the most-watched programme in its timeslot.

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Monday night saw those figures decline further with 118,000 settling in for night two of The Bachelor.

The numbers reflect an overall trend across the industry, which has seen the total number of viewers watching traditional television decline in recent years.

MediaWorks remained positive about the series' performance, saying: "Nearly 400,000 viewers tuned in this week, with live streams of the premiere up 50 percent year-on-year and an average audience of over 124,000 across episodes one and two."

THE BACHELOR NZ: OPENING NIGHT

2017:
5+: 229,608
25-54: 132,715

2016:
5+: 284,000
25-54: 165,000

2015:
5+: 278,000
25-54: 160,