I'm a Celebrity a winner, 10 says, despite finishing third in reality war
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I'm a Celebrity a winner, 10 says, despite finishing third in reality war

Network 10 has pronounced I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! a winner despite its finale on Sunday night finishing in third place in the battle of the reality TV juggernauts.

Hollywood gossip reporter Richard Reid was announced the winner of the competition, collecting $100,000 prize money for his chosen charity, Beyond Blue.

He defeated former Gogglebox cast member Yvie Jones and former AFL star and Footy Show regular Shane Crawford after a shocking challenge that saw the three being zapped by their loved ones in a life-size buzz wire course.

The "winner is announced" segment, three versions of which were pre-recorded last week in order to prevent a leak of the result, was watched by an average audience of 1.24 million viewers nationally (894,000 metro, 340,000 regional), making it the fifth highest-rated show of Sunday. The finale itself was watched by an average national audience of 959,000 (684,000 metro, 275,000 regional), placing it seventh.

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Married at First Sight on Nine, which owns this masthead, won the night with a national audience of 1.7 million (1.29 metro, 414,000 regional) and Seven's MKR was second among the non-news offerings with 1.33 million (905,000 metro and 423,000 regional).

Despite its audience being almost doubled by MAFS in the capital cities, 10 hailed season five of its reality show as a "game changer".

The three finalists on <i>I'm A Celebrity ...</i>: Richard Reid, Shane Crawford and Yvie Jones.

The three finalists on I'm A Celebrity ...: Richard Reid, Shane Crawford and Yvie Jones.Credit:Ten

According to chief content officer Beverley McGarvey, this season of the show – which started earlier in the year and ran for fewer weeks than previous seasons, saw a different approach to both casting and challenges, and was broadcast against cricket on Seven and tennis on Nine – "proved there was an appetite for premium first-run entertainment over summer".

Before MAFS and MKR returned, McGarvey claimed, the show was a winner. "It beat the Big Bash [League cricket] every night and had a higher average audience than the tennis five out of the nine nights it was up against it."

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But media analyst Peter Cox said the network had perhaps erred in running the finale of the show on Sunday.

"They were up against the final of the Big Bash League, Married and My Kitchen Rules, and Married in particular really does have a head of steam up at the moment, so it was a pretty intense night. If I were them, I'd have not run it last night but tonight."

Nonetheless, Cox said there were some positives for 10. "They've done better with the younger audience than MKR, which tends to skew old like a lot of Seven's stuff, and it's up on last year's finale, so that's a good result."

Across the season, I'm a Celebrity increased its average national audience by 3 per cent year on year. It also increased its audience on social media and broadcast video on demand (BVOD), where 10 claimed it recorded its "biggest audience ever".

But compared to its reality rivals, I'm a Celebrity is no superstar of the increasingly important BVOD space.

OzTam figures reveal that the highest-rating episodes of I'm a Celebrity on BVOD have attracted between 30,000 and 40,000 viewers in the past month.

By comparison, MKR episodes have been watched by up to 118,000 viewers over the same period, while the most-viewed episode of MAFS has been seen by 411,000 viewers on catch-up to date.

Follow the author on Facebook at karlquinnjournalist and on twitter @karlkwin

Karl is a senior entertainment writer at The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

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