That old adage “no news is good news” seems
to be something of a mantra at the Nine Network’s newsroom in Sydney.
Why else would they be asking readers of the Sunday Telegraph to fill in a survey “telling us what you think” in Sunday’s edition or online?

It’s
as though Nine News doesn’t trust or understand what its viewers want,
and there’s a touch of push polling about it with Nine setting out the
list of issues in the questionnaire but not asking those who respond to
nominate the issues that concern them.

On air promos of new
programs/episodes etc for November were tagged last week with the line
“November to Remember.” It has a hint of the old Seven Network ratings
trick when it was weak: store up some ratings strength and go all out
in that month to boost share and leave a strong impression with
advertisers.

There are supposed to be more than 1.6 million readers of the Sunday Telegraph each week. Circulation is around 700,000 or so, depending on time of year. If
the paper and the Nine Network are fair dinkum, they will release
verifiable figures on the number of times the surveys were filled in,
either online or in the paper.

The Sydney audience for Nine’s
6pm News is around 330,000 on average at the moment, with more than
half a million on most Sundays, falling to around 250,00-270,000 on
Friday and Saturday nights. It’s down between six to eight per cent
(again depending on the time of year) on 2004.

Peter Fray

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