I will start by saying I don’t watch either Home and Away or Neighbours – not like I watch other shows. I’ve seen episodes (only parts, not a whole one in years). I frankly lost track with both since the second Pippa and the first Helen Daniels left their respective enclaves. But I digress.

With Neighbours moving to Eleven in 2011, and Home and Away remaining on 7’s primary channel, I felt it was time to make the obvious comparisons from the last week of 2010 to the first week of 2011 when they were both airing. Very scientific.

The first obvious difference for Neighbours is the number of people watching it from 2010 to 2011 with the change in channel. Some of this can be attributed to people not having access to digital television. Home and Away has remained roughly on par with it’s ratings from ’10 to ’11.

What I found to be most interesting is the demographic comparison (unfortunately, the additional demo data was not available for me for the 2010 period) between the two shows. The 16-39 demographic is home to both these soapies, and yet the numbers reveal perhaps where Home and Away has the edge over Neighbours.

Nearly half the nightly ratings for Neighbours come from this key 16-39 demo, whereas Home and Away draws only one quarter of it’s numbers from the same pool. This opens up their figures to a wider range of people, meaning it is attracting a wider audience. It’s also providing a pretty solid lead-in to the 7:30pm shows for Ch7.

But what does this mean? What does it meeeeeean? It’s no double rainbow, that’s for sure. Home and Away is killing Neighbours, and as yet the move to a digital multi-channel hasn’t done much beyond shrink the ratings. That it is in the top5 of the digital multi-channels daily is good – but not enough. It won’t belong before budgets match and the show becomes but a memory of a time when “good neighbours become good friends”…