Dancing with the Stars is trouncing its Sunday reality TV rival in audience numbers.
In the 7.30pm slot, the Three show had a 5+ audience of 496,000 and a 25-54 audience of 223,000 on April 29, compared with TVNZ 2's Survivor NZ: Thailand's audience of 215,000 (5+) and 136,000 (25-54).
The dancing show triumphed again last Sunday, although copped a dip — audiences for both age groups fell, to 409,000 and 174,000 respectively.
The latter figure doesn't yet include numbers for viewers watching on demand.
Survivor NZ's audience was 131,000 for the 5+ group and 89,000 for 25-54 on Sunday, excluding time-shifting viewers.
It's been a tough second season for the Thailand iteration of the NZ show.
On debut last year, its 5+ audience was 253,000, peaking at 310,000 before levelling to 246,000 for the final. The 25-54 audience peaked at 191,000 last year, but hasn't topped 136,000 this year.
Dancing with the Stars' audience also dipped since its 2018 opener, falling from 496,000 to 434,000, 409,000 and 355,000 for 5+. Time-shifting viewers are not included in ratings for the last two episodes.
TVNZ 2 uses 18-49 audience data to gauge the success of its shows and the state broadcaster's spokeswoman, Rachel Howard, said Survivor NZ was "resonating with viewers across free to air, time-shifted and on demand".
"Feedback and engagement with the show has been overwhelmingly positive, so we're happy to see the changes we've made since season one are being so well received."
Mediaworks chief content officer Andrew Szusterman said Dancing with the Stars had won its slot every time since launch.
"As with any show there is heightened interest when they launch ... even with marginal decline week on week, it's still winning."
'We're going to learn more of what New Zealanders like'
Victoria University associate professor of media studies Trisha Dunleavy said traditional broadcasters were being challenged by non-linear TV, such as Netflix, and would target younger viewers through reality TV.
"Reality competition shows are monopolising the 7.30pm to 8.30pm schedule in a way they never have. We're going to see more of this head-to-head thing and we're going to learn more of what New Zealanders like."
She had doubts about the "very old format" of Survivor.
The successful United States version benefited from a bigger pool of talent and high production values. There was also a potential clash with viewers' values.
"They don't get stronger and more professional, they get sadder and more manipulative as you go along ... it might be New Zealanders don't like to see their own participants being so conniving."
In contrast, the Dancing with the Stars format was one of the most slick reality competition shows she'd seen, Dunleavy said.
It was also aspirational.
"Survivor ... is far removed from all the things advertisers would like us to have in our lives."
Local media 'cultural backbone' and should be supported - ad insider
Advertisers receive rebates if ratings fall below targets, but a senior advertising insider said they hadn't heard of any being given for Survivor NZ.
"TV ratings are falling .... but there's still a big demand from the ad agencies to put money on TV, because it's still one of the most cost-effective ways to reach a mass audience."
Local TV mattered, the insider said.
"You want a healthy domestic media environment ... one of your cultural backbones is a domestic media environment."