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Media briefs and TV ratings

There’s something missing at ABC-TV. The ABC has started promoting How The Hell Did We Get Here, a “me too” version of Nine’s 20 to 1 program. There will be five episodes hosted by Shane Bourne. Here’s what the ABC press release says: “The five one-hour episodes take a fresh look at a broad range of topics including: The Baby Boomers Guide to Big Events; The Baby Boomer Songs That Divide the Nation; The Baby Boomers Guide to Music Milestones; The Baby Boomers Guide to Movies and The Baby Boomers Guide to Comedy.” But it was commissioned as six one hour (actually 55 minutes) programs, based on the results of a survey commissioned by ABC-TV: “ABC TV commissioned an independent poll to rank the defining moments in order of significance to baby boomers (45-55 years of age) nationwide. The results are fascinating…” The ABC struggled with the concept from the start and that resulted in it missing the scheduled airdate of April-May of this year. The production difficulties were sorted out and it was eventually put into the schedule from 9 December, which is a couple of weeks into the non-ratings (official) summer period. So which program is missing? The sixth episode was supposed to be one entitled “People We Love To Hate”. Top of the list was the late Christopher Skase but in the top ten was the late Steve Irwin, who is approaching sainthood if you look at how he’s being treated in the media these days. It wouldn’t have been a good look to have the “most hated person” in Australia a dead man or a top ten contender a newly emerging Australian icon whose life was tragically cut short. If the ABC’s survey is to be believed, Australians had a very different view of Steve Irwin when he was alive!  — Glenn Dyer

ABC advertising? An employee at ABC Television has managed to get five minutes of straight advertising for a commercial venture onto ABC television, Canberra news site The RiotACT reports. They held a commercial sale of vintage clothing over the weekend (with an entry fee) that was promoted on Friday’s Stateline.  — Christian Kerr

League gives Nine another ratings week. A close win to Nine last week thanks to the Tri-Nations Rugby League which won Saturday for the network in Sydney and Brisbane. The Rugby League averaged 961,000 viewers, which put it outside the top five programs nationally on the night, but the 416,000 who watched in Sydney was the biggest audience in any market. Seven went to the lead after winning Friday night: 29.9% to 23.9% for Nine. That left Seven on 28.8% and Nine on 28.4%, the only time Seven had led during the week. But Nine won Saturday night 30.9% to 26.7%, which left Nine the winner over the week by a narrow 0.2% margin; 28.7% to 28.5 per cent for Seven. Ten was on 21.0%, the ABC on 17.0% and SBS on 4.8%. Nine won Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane; Seven won Adelaide and Perth. In regional areas it was a win for Nine affiliates, WIN/NBN with 31.0% from Prime/7Qld with 28.8%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 24.3%, the ABC with 11.1% and SBS with 4.8%. Seven’s weak Sunday nights (a factor over the past three years) is hurting it and will continue to do so until the network really bites the bullet on whether to abandon Sunday night movies or not.  — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
Seven, weak; Nine, OK; Ten, Idolised. It’s what we will be expecting Sunday evenings until the end of ratings. Australian Idol bounced back to 1.602 million viewers, beating 60 Minutes into second place with 1.450 million. CSI was third with 1.413 million and the repeat of 20 to 1 at 6.30pm instead of Overhaul, pulled in another 1.377 million. Seven News had 1.317 million, ahead of Nine News which was next with 1.214 million and the ABC 50 Years of TV special at 8.30pm averaged 1.155 million. Ten’s movie School of Rock averaged 1.150 million (a rare million plus audience on a Sunday night for a movie) and Seven’s hour-long episode of The Real Seachange at 6.30pm averaged 1.131 million. CSI: New York averaged 1.101 million at 9.30pm for tenth spot and the last program on the night with a million or more viewers.

The Losers: Overhaul was yanked from the schedule by Nine at the last minute and moved to the non-prime time slot of 5pm where it died, attracting just 350,000 viewers. It lasted just two weeks in the 6.30pm timeslot: another triumph for Eddie McGuire and his Light Entertainment Director Cos Cardone (not to mention programmer, Michael Healy). Ten News and Sports Tonight easily accounted for Overhaul.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in Sydney (giving Chris Bath in Sydney three wins, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. She’s slowly moving into contention for when Ian Ross goes). Seven also won Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Nine won Melbourne. Ten News averaged 804,000, the 7pm ABC News, 944,000. In the early morning chattery, Weekend Sunrise averaged 351,000, up 50,000 from the first week of daylight saving the previous Sunday. Nine’s Sunday shed 17,000 viewers to average a very average 224,000 viewers. Landline on the ABC at midday split them with 315,000. Business Success (Nine, 8.30am) averaged 126,000, meaning Sunday added just 98,000 viewers; not good. Insiders on the ABC at 9am, 116,000, Inside Business at 10am, 95,000, Offsiders at 10.30am, 89,000 and Meet the Press on Ten at 8am, 54,000.

The Stats: Nine won with a share of 29.9% (30.9% last week) from Ten with 25.9% (27.9%) Seven with 22.4% (21.4%), the ABC was on 17.8% (14.5%) and SBS with 4.0% (5.2%). Nine won all five metro markets. In regional areas, Nine’s affiliates, WIN/NBN won with a 30.4% share from Southern Cross (Ten) with 23.8% and Prime/7Qld with 23.3%. The ABC averaged 17.5% and SBS was on 5.0%

Glenn Dyer’s comments: While it was a good night for Nine it was also a night of failure with the yanking of Overhaul. That’s bad news for 2007 for a network already struggling to find programs to fill the timeslots in next year’s prime time schedule, with no new successes from the US and a declining performance in some old favs, such as McLeod’s Daughters and Getaway. Now Overhaul has gone. How many 20 to 1 programs can be made without ruining the idea with viewers? The ABC did well with its 50 Years of TV special on the right night as well. But was 8.30pm the right timeslot? The ABC stuck a program called Wild Europe in at 7.30pm because of the strength of Idol and 60 Minutes. Wild Europe averaged 876,000 people, the 50 Years special more than 1.15 million, so viewers went looking for it. The 50 Years program was supposed to be a celebration of all the good things (and highly political at the end) the national broadcaster has done over the years. So it deserved a bigger potential audience and another 30 minutes. It was originally down as a two hour special. Viewers will see a difference between that program and tonight’s first part of the 50 Years special looking at ABC news and current affairs. Compared to last night, which was full of themes and explored the growth and changes in the ABC, the Newscaff specials resemble an ABC version of 20 to 1 on Nine. It could have been better. Don’t mistake it for What A Year on Nine tonight at 8.30pm. But it should be said that all the ABC specials on its 50 years take TV and its relationship to Australia and Australians far more seriously than anything the commercial networks have managed. As several executives have said: the ABC will show commercial TV how to mark and celebrate 50 years of their industry!

Womens Agenda

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