Nine does the Commonwealth Games
double.

As expected Nine won last week with a national share of 43.2% to 23.2% for Seven,
17.7% for Ten, 11.9% for the ABC and 3.9% for SBS. Nine won all five metro
markets, including Perth. Melbourne was the only market
where the share was over 50% for the week: 51.9%. But now the games are
all over and it’s back to trench warfare from tonight. Nine has been busy using the games to relaunch its
schedule after losing the first survey of 2006 to Seven. Nine had always planned
to use the games as a relaunch, but had hoped to do better in the first survey
than its four-nil loss. Unfortunately for Nine
much of what they are relaunching has already failed
in the first four weeks: Family Feud, Temptation, Clever: And Nine has really been
flogging its underperformers, including the News and A
Current Affair
. One interesting characteristic of
the Games coverage was that it didn’t have much impact on three shows in particular,
Home and Away and Today Tonight on Seven and The Biggest Loser on
Ten. – Glenn Dyer

Thank you India and New Delhi. John Farnham, Dame Edna,
ballerinas in AFL football colours:
Melbourne’s
contribution to its closing ceremony was all too predictable. But
Bollywood showed viewers and those at the MCG what a
party is. Without
the vibrant energy of the New Delhi part of last
night’s Commonwealth Games closing ceremony, the whole thing would have
been dull, another example of Melbourne’s peculiarly insular world
view. But the Bollywood music, singing, dancing
and energy lifted the closing ceremony and promised that the 2010 Games in
New Delhi would be highly interesting, celebrating India’s rapid emergence as a
regional; and world economic and political power. Nine
commentators, Ray Martin and Nicole Livingstone (thankfully promoted instead of
Liz Hayes) struggled to capture the spectacle of the brief Indian
contribution. Leila McKinnon, the wife of former Nine CEO David Gyngell, who did updates, gave the session some
breadth. McKinnon, was by far the best
studio performer for Nine in what was a jingoistic and highly
restricted coverage. Apart
from New Delhi there was none of the party
atmosphere of the Sydney 2000 closing ceremony: It was supposed to be a
celebration of a great time, which Melbourne appears to have
had. Good
crowds, good TV audiences, great spectacle, competition and
performances. And at the end a piece of navel
gazing. – Glenn Dyer

Ovation get a change of management. According to a small story in today’s Australian, the
Optus Pay TV arts channel, Ovation has changed management with a trio of punters,
including arts guru Leo Schofield, taking control. According to the story Schofield will be
joined by former ABC TV programmer Paddy Conroy and producer and distributor
Gerry Travers, who runs a company called Independent
Entertainment. He also
runs an independent film and documentary distributor called DV1. The new
trio won control in a tender. Leo
Schofield presents a Sunday evening program on Ovation and Travers’s companies
have provided programming to the channel. Conroy
has extensive experience in Pay TV since leaving the ABC in the mid
1990s. Both
Conroy and Travers have a long professional association and Conroy worked for
Optus for a while as head of programming for the company’s former TV division
that was closed down after Singtel took
over. –– Glenn Dyer

Network execs prepare for MIP jaunt. More than a dozen lucky TV executives are heading to Cannes next week for the annual MIP TV conference, which is one of the
two major annual talk fests and trading places for the international TV
business. The Nine network is sending Development director Andrew Backwell,
Director of Factual John McAvoy, head of Nine’s
UK/Europe businesses Geraldine Easter, LA and US boss Andrea Keir, Cos Cardone, the
new Director of Light Entertainment and
Martin Hersov, the Director of Commercial Development. And of
course, chief programmer Michael Healy. Eddie McGuire is staying in Sydney but he will
be going to Los
Angeles for the annual screenings of new US programs in May. Ten’s
Group will be led by CEO Grant Blackley, with chief
programmer David Mott head of programs like Big Brother, Tim Clucas and drama head, Sue Masters. Seven
is sending its main programmer, Tim Worner, with his
offsider, Brad Lyons, as well as John Stephens, the former chief
programmer of Nine, now at Seven in programming and
reportedly the smartest person in the department. – Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV
ratings

The Winners Nine: the Games last night, in fact all day, an easy win, but to the
end there was the old Sydney-Melbourne disconnect . A total of 2.790
million people watched the closing ceremony and 2.02 million watched
the Nine News at 6pm. The highlights package at 6.30pm everywhere (bar
Sydney and Brisbane, where NRL football was broadcast) was watched by
1.33 million. When the 613,000 who watched Nine’s rugby league is
added, almost two million people watched Nine from 6pm to past 10.30pm.
Which is what the coverage was all about. The various events were just
“content” and the efforts of non-Australian coverage spackfilla.
Highlights for me: Dazza Eastlake – big, brash and huuuge, but at
least he injected interest into the weightlifting and gave non
Australian competitors their due! The Poms loved him. Ray Warren and
Nicole Livingstone at the swimming. Jane Fleming at the Athletics –
passionate and accurate and informed. Denis Commetti at the hockey –
the best and wittiest sports caller in the country, by a mile, why
wasn’t he used on all the big games? Yuks: Studio hosts were
undistinguished in comparison – Gary Lyon and James Brayshaw on
mornings were rough, Mark Nicholas was OK in afternoons but could have
done better, Ken Sutcliffe was safe in evenings. Leila McKinnon shone
as a relaxed newsreader doing updates coolly and competently. The Nine
coverage was too one-eyed. It suffered from not having Eddie McGuire
somewhere on air. Even in a Collingwood moment, Eddie shines as a
passionate, knowledgeable commentator.
The Losers Losers? Hmmm. None really, the closing day and night of
the games made calling anything a loser just too
hard.
News & CA Nine News was boosted by the solid afternoon of coverage
with the men’s road race and the netball finishing the sporty bit. A Nine
commentator got it wrong in saying that the netball was the last gold medal to
be decided, a point nicely picked up by host Mark Nicholas. Seven News was
swamped (to be expected) but still averaged a respectable (for Sunday
evening)1.238 million, the ABC News 970,000, Ten News at 5pm, 725,000 people.
Earlier in the day Weekend Sunrise (really Weekday Sunrise given the use of Mel
Doyle and David Koch in the chair yesterday morning) was watched by 351,000.
Nine’s Sunday was pre-empted, but Business Sunday averaged 133,000, down a bit
from the week before. Insiders on the ABC with 119,000 was down as Nine switched
to the Games and Weekend Sunrise continued. Offsiders at 10.30am with 110,000
was boosted by the Games and sport, and Inside Business averaged
103,000.
The Stats Nine with 48.0% compared to 51.6% for the opening
ceremony, Seven with 19.3% (16.9% on the opening night), Ten with 16.1% (17.4%),
the ABC, 13.1% (10.7%) and SBS 3.5% (3.3%). Melbourne averaged 64.0% for Nine
(65.5%), Sydney 40.9%, (47.3%). The number of people watching TV during the
games jumped by around 250,000 since Wednesday of the week before last when the
games started. Will they stay? We’ll see from
tonight.
Glenn Dyer’s comments Sydney’s audience was half Melbourne’s last night
for the closing ceremony, 637,000 v 1.292 million people (888,000 v 1.503
million for the opening ceremony, so not much different). Sydney’s audience was
the sort reached by Dancing With The Stars this year and it and Desperate
Housewives
last year. Nine can only wish its regular programming could reach
those levels, anywhere, from now on. In their dreams! The biggest story from now
on is whether Nine’s audiences revert to the level in the first survey, or
whether there is an afterglow from the games (a “halo” effect) that lingers for
longer than a night or two. “TV viewers rediscover Nine”, now that’s a headline
you wouldn’t have read or expected to read a couple of years ago, but that’s
what Nine wants to see in the next week or so. If they don’t return or
rediscover Still The One, it is going to be a cold winter. Seven and Ten, and
the ABC are punting that its back to pre games festivities. Viewers will
decide.

Peter Fray

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