Glenn Dyer writes:|
Nov 25, 2007 12:00AM |EMAIL|PRINT
The Nine Network’s last remaining claims to be “the one Australia turns to” were killed off on Saturday night when the network comprehensively lost the election night coverage battle with the ABC and Seven.
But not only was it humiliation for Nine, it was also defeat for Seven and its all singing, all dancing new look “not boring” election coverage. The ABC easily won the night.
The win in the count and the night caps what has been one of the best years for some years for ABC TV and Nine’s worst ever year.
The ABC did so well on Saturday night that it easily won the ratings battle on the night and picked up its highest prime time share of the year and also the week. No such joy for Nine, beaten not only by Seven in the battle of the commercial election broadcasts, but also done over by Ten’s repeat of The Empire Strikes Back.
The ABC’s coverage had the biggest audience with 1.112 million viewers from 6 pm to after 11pm. Seven’s
News at 6pm (they had a 4.30 pm News as well) averaged 1.106 million.
They were the only programs with more than a million viewers. Seven’s
coverage was third with 967,000 from 6pm to well past 11pm. The Empire Strikes Back
averaged 829,000 viewers for Ten from 7.30pm to 10pm for 5th spot and
Nine’s coverage was next with 763,000. Nine’s 6pm News did better than
the coverage with 862,000 people. So when Nine News finished at 6.30pm
around 100,000 viewers went elsewhere.
The Nine Network was
sensitive to the loss on Saturday night. Ninemsn had a story pointing
out the ABC win yesterday afternoon but it didn’t last. It had
“expired” by 5.30 pm yesterday afternoon.
But looking at the coverage, Seven’s promised new approach was at times confused and scatty with missed calls and odd figures that didn’t gel. The same could be said for the ABC where a bottom of screen graphic had the opposition ahead for an hour or more, or was it the state of the old parliament? The graph wasn’t clear and it disappeared after 9 pm.
Host Kerry O’Brien looked testy and snaky as more and more cheering erupted on the floor of the tally room. At around 9.30pm he claimed angrily that a commercial TV network was working the crowd in an attempt to show the coverage could be done in a non-boring way. Maybe. More likely the crowd on the floor had realised the enormity of the win for the ALP. It was all a bit petty as the ABC was improving as the night went on, as was the Nine Network, thanks to professionalism of Laurie Oakes and the experts they had assembled.
Co-host Ray Martin played several characters: serious Ray, flirty Ray, matey Ray, blokey Ray, all depending on who he talked to. At times it was cringe-making and the competition on Seven and the ABC had it all over Nine for authority and crispness (except for Laurie Oakes, it must be said).
The highlight of the night was that bone-head Jackie Kelly fronting up for Seven and being made to hear Jeff Kennett bag the phony pamphlet and call for an inquiry into it. The shot of her listening to Kennett was worth the price of admission.
In fact the whole election coverage was as bad for Nine as its one hour election special edition of A Current Affair did badly on Friday night, shedding half a million viewers on the night compared to Thursday and the previous Friday.
The reaction of viewers to Nine’s coverage of the election through ACA and on Saturday night begs the question if the Network has any relevance left when it comes to the impression viewers have of its expertise.
Friday night’s election edition of ACA was probably the most humiliating part of the weekend. The hour long special from 6.30pm averaged just 644,000, more than 620,000 behind rival Today Tonight which only had a half hour program and averaged.275 million, and Home and Away at 7pm which averaged 1.227 million people. Neighbours and a repeat of Futurama at 6.30 and 7 pm respectively on Ten beat ACA.
That meant the ABC beat Nine on Friday night into second behind the Seven Network. Saturday night the ABC got a share of 30.1% with Seven second, Nine third and Ten fourth. The ABC won Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide while Seven beat the ABC in Perth.
To add to the Nine Network’s humiliation it finished fourth in Adelaide and Perth for its newish owners, WIN Corporation. Seven did a special edition of Weekend Sunrise at 8am Saturday: it will stay a one-off as it only averaged 287,000 people, around 170,000 below what the normal Sunday edition gets and around 150,000 under what week day Sunrise rates.