SBS nabs the sports broadcast rights bargain of the decade. SBS has
snuck up on the commercial networks and pinched the TV, Pay and internet rights to the 2010 and 2014
World Cup Soccer. While

Seven,
Nine and Ten have concentrated on paying hundreds of millions of dollars for the
NRL, AFL, Cricket, Olympics and Commonwealth Games, SBS has pinched the biggest
draw of all for just a few million dollars for each broadcast, plus
inflation. Foxtel, which has screened this
year’s highly successful A-League soccer when none of the free to air networks
including SBS showed much interest, was restricted by the anti-siphoning
rules. SBS
already has the rights to this year’s event in Germany and even
though Australia’s three
games in Germany will be played around or
after midnight, SBS will still attract large audiences and have no trouble
selling all the available advertising space. The
semi finals and final will also be an easy sell for the network. The
2010 World Cup will be from South
Africa and Australia’s qualifying route through Asia will be much easier
than for this year when we had to play Uruguay.

The internet’s ever-growing influence. Nearly one week after Helen Coonan’s mostly
non-specific announcement on media futures, it is worth reviewing some recent
straws in the wind – especially since the cross-media ownership regulations may
not be lifted until as late as 2010-2012. By then a great deal else will have
changed. A survey by Google has shown that the British
now spend more time on the internet than they do watching television. British
internet users spend an average of 164 minutes online each day, compared to 148
minutes watching television. Meanwhile in Australia, the take up of broadband has grown
seven times faster than pay television subscribers in the last year. Pay-TV
customers grew by about 2000 a week to 1.69 million last year, while broadband
customer numbers jumped 2000 a day to 1.67 million. Austar chief executive John Porter has said pay-TV has only three to four years
before advances in broadband speeds made internet-based entertainment more
commercially viable in Australia. And yesterday a study was
released showing that nearly three quarters of Australians who bought a car in the last
six months used the internet to do their research – a 27% increase on
the last three years. – Margaret Simons

Last night’s TV
ratings

The Winners Magical Monday is how Nine was describing it, and 2.211
million viewers can’t be wrong, can they? Day 5 of the Games gave Nine
another big win, but these victories are sort of fruitless. Bragging rights only
and nothing more. Seven News beat Nine easily and Today Tonight also beat A Current Affair. ACA is
fighting with one hand behind its back, being pre-empted in Adelaide, but even going
to air there would not have made much of a dent on TT. Ten’s The Biggest Loser
did well with 1.173 million at 7pm. But the previous elimination episode a
week earlier attracted more viewers. Seven’s Deal or No
Deal
with 896,000 was unaffected by the Games at 5.30pm.
The Losers Seven’s gamble of running new episodes of
Desperate Housewives and Commander in Chief didn’t pay off. The Housewives
averaged 1.416 million from 8.40 pm, while Commander in Chief averaged 1.026 million. Both were
substantially lower than normal (Housewives around 600,000 down and Commander
around 200,000 to 250,000 on the last couple of weeks). Nine’s Today show is
copping a hiding from Seven’s Sunrise. Both programs are in Melbourne but the
giggling and confused Today show is wilting in the face of the Sunrise
effort.
News & CA The live broadcasting of the Games is doing ACA and the
Nine News no favours. Seven News with 1.675 million won from Nine with
1.578 million, but Nine won Sydney and Melbourne (both narrowly, much
more narrowly than you’d think with a program as strong as the Games
afternoon lead-in which averaged 875,000, far more than Nine has been
used to). In Brisbane though, Nine was beaten by Seven and that was the
same situation in Adelaide. In Perth, Nine News saw a jump to 160,000
average for the news from around 100,000 or so on most nights (Seven
had 242,000). TT won with 1.619 million viewers to ACA with
1.117 million. Tracy Grimshaw is still looking a lot
healthier out of the studio. The ABC News at 7pm averaged 955,000 which is not
far from its usual numbers. Four Corners
averaged 669,000, though Media Watch lost a lot of viewers to average
478,000.
The Stats Nine with 43.7%, Seven with 25.7%, Ten was hurt, down to
15.1% and likewise the ABC, down to 10.3%. SBS was up at 5.3%, thanks to the
Mythbusters special at 7.30pm. Because of the timing difference for the live
broadcast, Seven won Perth. Melbourne still loves the Games, the
average remained above 50% (51.7%).
Glenn Dyer’s comments Another win to Nine but the Australian interest
will start tapering from tonight as swimming tapers. This is where comparisons
with Manchester get interesting: the swimming was in the second week of the 2002
games so the battle of figures between Nine and Seven will become a little more
pointed this week. Seven took a risk last night and it didn’t pay off, but
enough happened around the games in Perth to say that Nine is going to struggle
next week when the Games vanish. And after Nine’s experience and losses ($28
million provided already for losses in the 2005 financial year with $23 million
at the Nine Network Ltd,), the New Delhi games will be considerably cheaper.
Nine paid $56 million to help out the mates in Melbourne because the games were
here. How much will Nine, Ten or Seven really want to pay for the London
Olympics which will not be in prime time here? A final point: yesterday morning –
Seven did a slick job in covering Cyclone Larry live as Sunrise ran through the
morning to the News, which then continued. Nine was tied up in the Games
coverage, which was to be expected, but did struggle with updates on the storm
damage. A clear points win to Seven.

Peter Fray

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