More than 1m viewers watch Sydney Easter services

16 Apr 2020

By The Record

A Sydney family watches Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP celebrate Easter Sunday Mass broadcast live from St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney by Channel 7. Photo: Peter Rosengren.

By Debbie Cramsie/The Catholic Weekly

More than 1,300,000 people across Australia watched the Good Friday and Easter Sunday services broadcast live via the Seven Network, making this the most watched program nationally in their respective timeslots.

In a 7News special, the network streamed the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday and the Easter Sunday Mass across the country on Channel 7 and on Prime 7 in regional areas and live-streamed on 7 Plus.

Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, who celebrated both services, said Catholics across Australia were extremely grateful to the Seven Network for making these national broadcasts possible.

“Easter is our holiest celebration of the year and during the COVID-19 pandemic, we sadly have not been able to gather physically while our churches have been closed to public Masses,” Archbishop Fisher.

“These national TV broadcasts have therefore ensured that well over 1,000,000 people have been able to come together to maintain our life of prayer and worship at such a special time for us as Catholics.”

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP is seen live on national television as he celebrates Easter Sunday Mass in St Mary’s Cathedral. The Mass was livestreamed and broadcast across Australia by commercial television station Channel 7. Photo: Peter Rosengren.

The Good Friday service reached 545,000 broadcast viewers with an additional 86,000 livestreaming and social media viewers, reaching a total of 631,000 viewers or a share of 42.4 per cent of the available audience in this timeslot.

The Easter Sunday Mass reached 568,000 broadcast viewers with a further 113,000 livestreaming and social media viewers, reaching a total of 681,000 viewers or a share of 46.3 per cent of the available audience at that time.

Both broadcasts won their timeslots nationally across all channels, with most of the audience watching based in NSW and the ACT, followed by WA and Queensland.

The Good Friday Lord’s Passion was livestreamed and broadcast live across the nation by commercial television station Channel 7. Photo: Sourced.

Anita Quigley, Director of Communications and News Media for the Sydney Archdiocese, said the broadcasts were a resounding success.

“We embarked on this partnership with the Seven Network to reach as many Catholics as possible across the nation in the easiest way possible and these figures show we have done just that,” Ms Quigley said.

“While so many people have embraced the livestreaming of Masses from our parishes

and cathedrals in recent weeks, and will continue to do so while our churches remain closed, we also knew there were people we weren’t reaching – particularly the elderly and isolated and we wanted to ensure they could participate.

“The feedback I have received from people right across the country – from regional

WA to far north QLD and country NSW – is that they are so grateful that they could watch these Easter services alone or gathered around the television with their family. The response has been truly touching.