The battle for TV news supremacy heated up in 2018 - with Three's offerings closing the gap on their TVNZ rivals - in its key ratings demographic.
Both The Project and The AM Show made good headway through the year with viewers aged 25-54; the age-range which both Three and TVNZ1 target commercially.
Despite still trailing for the most part in the ratings war, the two shows closed the gap significantly, with The Am Show surpassing rival Breakfast for a month in November.
Ratings data for 2018 shows The Project - co-hosted by Kanoa Lloyd, Jesse Mulligan and Jeremy Corbett - made steady gains on TVNZ's Seven Sharp, hosted by Jeremy Wells and Hilary Barry.
The show averaged 61,000 viewers between 25-54 in its first week and peaked in September at 79,000.
For the same period, Seven Sharp had fallen from 100,000 viewers in February to 91,000 in September.
The gap between the two 7pm shows was much wider when all viewers aged five-plus was used. For the year, an average of 408,000 people watched Seven Sharp, while 167,000 tuned in to The Project.
One of the biggest battles was in the morning between The AM Show and Breakfast; with Three's offering winning in November when it had 32,300 viewers (25-54), compared with the 32,100 who watched Breakfast.
Between January and May there was turbulence for the show with jumps and drops in viewer numbers but from there it was a steady climb.
From May it enjoyed a solid upward trajectory - at the same time Breakfast was in a slow decline from 39,500.
Media commentator and former TVNZ news and current affairs boss Bill Ralston said The AM Show concept, which sees it broadcast simultaneously on television and radio was a good one.
"It works well because you can watch in the morning then hop in the car and continue to listen to it on your way to work," Ralston said.
"They are keeping people engaged with the same show."
The battle for the 6pm news slot was still dominated by 1News but rival Newshub was closing the gap.
The viewer numbers were closest in December when 1News' 25-54 audience dropped to 130,000 while Newshub remained stable on 80,000.
Ralston said TVNZ bosses would be scratching their heads at how they could increase viewers in the 25-54 bracket - especially in the primetime 7pm slot.
"That's where the marketing department want viewers because they are the ads that make money," he said.
"The household shoppers are who they want to appeal to, you don't sell stuff to five-plus."
Ralston said all of the shows - especially Seven Sharp - had strong hosts who appealed to viewers, so any decline was down to content.
"Jeremy Wells and Hilary Barry are a good combo so the issue isn't the hosts," he said.
"People might be tired of the traditional format but usually it is the content not up to scratch, so they will be addressing that."
Ralston said The Project had won viewers with the three regular anchors, guest presenters and a live studio audience.
"The Project is more varied, lighter and easier to digest after dinner."
Ralston said Lloyd was "a real find" and a presenter the audience could bond with.
"She's been on TV for a while now but I think this show really suits her, and viewers have warmed to her."
A spokeswoman for Three said they were happy with feedback they were receiving on The Project.
"From breaking news to having honest conversations about topics such as mental health and fertility, we are passionate about sharing stories that resonate with New Zealanders," she said.
"We are proud of what our teams have achieved this year and look forward to seeing the success continue in 2019."
A spokeswoman from TVNZ said that in October Seven Sharp had won the battle of most nights for the 25-54 age bracket against The Project.
"The pattern would be similar over the final two months of broadcast for the year."
Last week TVNZ announced journalist Jenny Suo would front its late-night offering 1 News Tonight in 2019.