Monday, November 4th, 2013 - Roy Morgan Research

Gai Whathouse? Around two thirds of Australians don’t watch the Melbourne Cup, with declining rates of viewership over the last decade sharpest among people under 35.

In the year to June 2013, just 1 in 3 Australians aged 14+ (34%) said they watch the Melbourne Cup on TV ‘almost always or occasionally’, down from 38% 10 years ago.

At three o’clock on the first Tuesday in November, Australians under 35 are most likely going to just keep doing whatever they were doing at 2.59pm. 16% of 14-24 year olds (down from 26% in 2003) and 25% of 25-34 year-olds (down from 35%) say they watch the Cup on TV.

Even the most avid watchers, Australians 50+, began tuning out from 2007-2011 but are now back up, with 44% watching.

Those who watch the race on TV are, naturally, more likely to know who sponsors it. In the 12 months to June 2012, 22% of Australians overall associated Emirates with the Melbourne Cup—ranging from 26% of 35-49 year-olds to just 9% of the Under-25s. Over 10 years since it sponsored the race, Foster’s is still associated with the Cup by around 5% of Australians.

In Victoria, where Cup Day is a public holiday, overall TV viewership remains above the national average at 40%, although it’s also down slightly from 43% in 2003.

George Pesutto, Media and Communications General Manager, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“The Melbourne Cup may be an iconic national sporting event but Australians—under 35 especially—are less likely now than ten years ago to watch the race on TV.

“Perhaps it should be re-dubbed as ‘the race that stops an ever-shrinking proportion of the nation while the vast majority go about their normal business’.

“It is vital for brand marketers to carefully monitor changing trends in viewership to determine if their target market is actually tuning in.”  

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