The kiwi soap Shortland Street has grown over the past year to become the juggernaut of the 7pm slot, outrating both the current affairs shows.

With an average of 470,000 viewers, it has 35 per cent of the total audience - just beating Close Up, on 33 per cent with 447,000 viewers.

Shortland Street's audience last month was up 12 per cent on last February and Close Up was down by 12 per cent.

The current affairs shows had record low audience levels last month and were fighting to win back viewers who had turned to Shortland Street while current affairs was on summer holiday.

The audience share last month of Close Up and Campbell Live were at their lowest for the past year, while Shortland Street's audience increased by three share points since last February.

Shortland Street was watched by 46 per cent of Auckland 18-to-49-year-olds - double the audience of Close Up and Campbell Live.

Total Media's Martin Gillman said Shortland Street was the beneficiary of The Simpsons viewers looking for a refuge from current affairs.

He said Close Up and Campbell Live had split the current affairs audience between them.

Last month Shortland Street broke the 60 per cent mark among the 15-to-24-year-old audience and 531,000 people watched the Valentine's Day civil union between lesbian characters Maia Jeffries and Jay Copeland.

In its own demographic of 18-to-39-year-olds, it now attracts nearly 57 per cent of that audience.