Nine back on form thanks to Harry Potter

There’s
no doubting the attraction of Harry Potter: in books, in the cinema and on our TV
screens.

The
Nine Network likes him because he’s enabled it to finish this most difficult year of ratings with
another weekly win. It was
a year when Nine’s audience share fell to its lowest level, but Saturday night it
was the Nine of old – winning the final night of ratings easily and the final
week.

PBL likes Harry
because the fourth movie in the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, opens in Australia on
Thursday and will be the last chance for the company to halt the slide in the
value of its 50% stake in the struggling Hoyts cinema
chain. Like the
rest of the cinema business, Hoyts is doing it tough as DVDs, the internet and a shortage of genuinely
interesting movies keep patrons away.

But at Nine, Harry Potter and
the Chamber of Secrets
attracted 1.474 million viewers for its free-to-air premiere on Saturday
night, which the Network to win the night
with a 38.5% share to 25.4% for Seven, 18.2% for Ten, 13.5% for the ABC and 4.5%
for SBS. Nine
won everywhere on the night, even Perth.

Over
the week Nine won with a share of 31.2% to 26.6% for
Seven, 22.9% for Ten, 14.1% for the ABC and 5.1% for SBS. Nine
won four of the five major metro markets: it was second to Seven in Perth.

AFI Awards hurt by late start
Controversially delayed until after Harry Potter on Saturday night, Nine’s telecast
of the AFI Awards only averaged 399,000 people from when they started
just before 11pm to when they finished around 1.30am. Now that’s not a
big audience, after starting with a peak of 895,000 viewers.

Last night’s TV
ratings

The Winners The first night of summer ratings was hit by
the Kath and Kim telemovie on the ABC that was watched by more than 2.09
million viewers. That enabled Seven to jump to a clear win, its first Sunday
night victory in months – even if it’s out of the official prime time ratings
season which finished Saturday night. The final night of the gymnastics did well
for Seven with 1.142 million people tuning in from 7.30pm to 10pm. Seven’s Hot
Property
at 6.30pm also did well with 1.347 million, narrowly behind Nine News
(1.406 million) in the first half hour, then easily beating Backyard Blitz
(924,000 in repeat).The ABC 7pm News also did well with 1.04 million. Nine had
two episodes of the slow Midsomer Murders series from the UK back to back from
8.30pm to 1am. The repeat did better (470,000) than the new episode (452,000)
and that’s why Nine’s share went backward.
Ten’s best was its 5pm News with 834,000. Smallville (a former Nine program) at
7.30pm for the first time, was watched by 834,000, while Brainiac, which
preceded it was watched by 711,000.
The Losers

Well hard to find any losers, it’s summer ratings and
all sorts of audience levels are tolerated. The third day of the cricket test
averaged 928,000 up to 6.30pm, which was pretty good, but Nine News couldn’t
drive to its usual win. It was watched by 1.406 million to Seven’s 1.516 million. Not losers, but an interesting
development.

News & CA Seven News won because of the big margin in Perth, which it
gets regularly on Sundays but usually it’s offset by big winning margins for Nine
in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Last night, Nine beat Seven in Sydney 456,000
to 450,000 – interesting given that Seven had a soft lead-in at 5.30pm and Nine
had the cricket. In Melbourne, Nine News was easily beaten by Seven News, 507,000 to
382,000 (a real turn-up). In Brisbane, Nine won by a 1,000 viewers, but in
Adelaide (where the Test is being played) Nine won 180,000 to just 126,000 for
Seven.
The Stats Seven won with a national share of 29.0% to 23.9% for
Nine, 22.7% for the ABC, 19.4% for Ten and 5.1% for SBS. Seven and Nine dead
heated in Sydney, Seven won Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth and Nine won Adelaide.
Glenn Dyer’s
comments
Don’t believe anyone in TV who says summer ratings don’t matter. They
do, but more latitude is given to programs that have low audience
numbers. Viewing levels are falling and won’t be rising again until
late January but these slower nights are financially important. The
finish of the cricket at 6.30pm didn’t help Nine’s traditionally strong
Sunday night news which was beaten by Seven at 6pm. It seems it’s the
tradition of News at 6pm that might be important, not the network.