Nine grabs another weekly win. A win to Nine last week, thanks
to the big audience last Sunday night for the closing ceremony of the
Melbourne Commonwealth games – it was the most watched program, as
expected, and that gave Nine a starting share of 48.0%, which had
declined to 31.6% by Saturday night. Bitter rival Seven’s share had
started at 19.3% (Ten at 16.1%) and had risen to 27.2% by Saturday
(21.6% for Ten). But without that big Sunday night audience, it’s
unlikely Nine would have won the week, despite the help the AFL gave on
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights. Meanwhile, Saturday night Nine
programmed better movies than Seven and Ten and Nine won. This week
Nine has the two part mini series, The Triangle that started last night and
finishes tonight, the last episode of Millionaire tonight with Eddie McGuire,
the final of the champions contest on Temptation and $100,000 up for grabs on,
guess what, the Celebrity edition of Bert Newton’s Family
Feud
. Nine’s
desperation in trying to kick start Bert’s career knows now limits. Who said
that it was a case of profits over ratings. Offering half a mil in cash prizes this week on a celebrity
edition of a failing program isn’t looking to maximise
profits – that would’ve been better spent on program
development for later in the year. But no
one in the programming department will be around to notice this week – they’ve
joined the annual trek to MIP-TV in the south of
France. Nine is
also pre-empting Nightline again on Thursday and Friday nights to allow for the
turnaround of the AFL Footy Show on Thursday and the Friday night AFL match from
the south in Sydney and Brisbane. Still
the future of Nightline has to be up in the air with viewers unlikely to support
a program that only appears three nights a week. A sort of
Clayton’s commitment to news and current affairs. – Glenn Dyer

Sport ratings. Football was popular, so was the Formula 1 car
racing at the weekend and its a toss up which was the more watched.
Depends how you slice and dice the figures. The Grand Prix averaged
1.067 million viewers for Ten, and the preview, 636,000. The peak was
1.24 million. That’s the lowest audience for some time – it was 1.49
million last year and 1.53 million in 2004. But this year’s race was
delayed by the Commonwealth Games and thus had more competition from
live football broadcasts. The combination of the NRL and AFL on Friday
night produced an audience of 1.118 million: that was broken up into
560,000 watching the Rugby League in Sydney and Brisbane and 558,000
the AFL in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. It’s not clear whether the
figures include the two games shown in other capitals at 11pm (League
in the south after the AFL and AFL in Sydney and Brisbane after the
League). So on those figures it was a narrow win to the Leaguies. The
AFL season opener on Thursday night averaged 853,000 in Melbourne,
Adelaide and Perth, with 487,000 of those watching in Melbourne. That
was the biggest football audience in any market; Friday night saw
341,000 people watch the League in Sydney and 377,000 watch the AFL in
Melbourne.On Saturday night it was the Swannies v. the Bombers from
Melbourne and it averaged 857,000 nationally, with just 156,000 in
Sydney and 394,000 in Melbourne. Sunday afternoon saw the AFL and the
League on: the NRL game at 4 pm averaged 557,000 viewers, with 314,000
in Sydney and 243,000 in Brisbane (because the Brisbane Broncos were
playing). The AFL game was Fremantle v Hawthorn and averaged 497,000
nationally. The biggest audience was 175,000 in Perth. Nine didn’t have
a late AFL game to help its news in Melbourne and was badly hurt,
losing by a large margin to Seven. Next winter is going to be a very
cold and lonely one for Nine in southern markets at weekends with Seven
having the AFL. – Glenn Dyer

Signs of renewal at The Canberra Times stable. It has just been announced that Des
Ryan, presently the editor of the Burnie
Advocate
, has been appointed to edit the Canberra Sunday Times, starting 18 April. He has edited the Advocate for Rural Press for just 20 months, during which time the
paper has livened up and circulation increased. Previously he was a long term head
of News Limited’s Messenger
Newspaper
chain in Adelaide, where he and his weekly column became local institutions. Ryan is very much a journalists’ editor. Under
his leadership Messenger often gave The Advertiser a run for its money, as
well as training a number of journalists who have since made their way to
senior ranks in the industry. Canberra might be in for a shake-up. – Margaret Simons (Simons has trained journalists at Messenger Newspapers and the Burnie
Advocate.
)


Last night’s TV
ratings

The Winners Nine won because the Triangle attracted an average of
1.424 million viewers for two hours, which more than offset the
early evening, especially with the near disaster known as Clever. Seven helped
by scheduling Legally Blonde 2, the sequel to the movie hit of Reese
Witherspoon. It didn’t spark and (despite her Oscar) averaged just 838,00
people, equal with the ABC’s new drama called The Silence (which ran an hour to
9.30pm). Ten however ran second between 8.30pm and 10.30pm with Law and OrderSVU with 1.113 million and Law and Order Criminal Intent with 975,000.
Clever averaged just.013 million and a turn-on for 60 Minutes (1.448
million) from 7pm made Clever look better than it was. But with 60 Minutes
jumping to more than 1.4 million viewers, it meant Nine had an audience that
averaged more than that figure for three hours on a Sunday night, which is hard to
top. Ghost Whisperer on Seven (at 7.30pm) did OK with 1.295 million people and
Australia’s Brainiest Footballer on Ten at 7.30 pm averaged 1.168
million.
The Losers Losers? Clever: the million figure is just OK, but there
was a switch off from the end of the Nine News at 6.30pm. It’s the sort of
Sunday evening equivalent of Family Feud with Bert Newton, only with a few more
viewers. Where Are They Now on Seven was 70% larger in terms of viewing
audience
News & CA Seven News (1.504 million, Nine 1.450 million) won
Sunday night, principally due to big wins in Melbourne and Perth. The Melbourne
win was noticeable for its size, 107,000 on average. There was no AFL as a
lead-in for Nine on Sunday afternoon. There was an NRL lead-in for Nine in
Sydney and Brisbane. The ABC News averaged 1.032 million and Ten News at Five,
907,000, coming off the back of the Formula One Grand Prix telecast. (The race itself
averaged 1.067 million, down on previous years by around 50%, another victim of
the Commonwealth Games concentration by Victorians). In the Sunday morning
battle, Seven’s Weekend Sunrise won with 339,000: it wasn’t hurt by being
shortened by half an hour to 9.30am, it merely advanced the turn on to Sunday
with 297,000 which then proceeded to beat Sportsworld with 246,000. The ABC’s
Insiders averaged a high 181,000, Business Sunday on Nine at 8am, 187,000 and
Inside Business
on the ABC, 128,000. Meet The Press returned on Ten and averaged
107,000 at 8am, a new timeslot, up against Business Sunday and Weekend Sunrise
from the start. Warning: some of these figures for Sunday morning have been
affected by the daylight saving change: We lost an hour, so plenty of
vide recorders switched on at 8am to record Sunday (in daylight saving, 9am)
and got Business Sunday. It’s a regular factor in Sunday morning
TV.
The Stats Nine with 31.3%, Seven with 26.9%, Ten with 21.8%, the
ABC with 14.8% and SBS with 5.1%. Nine won all
markets.
Glenn Dyer’s commentsThere’s a night’s less AFL on this week, so with no Games Seven has a
reasonable chance, especially with Desperate Housewives tonight and Dancing With
The Stars
tomorrow night. Commander in Chief will be watched tonight to see if
there’s any more “give” in its audience. We are now reaching the period where it
ran off the rails in the US and lost viewers. Will the The Triangle attract another
good audience tonight? Against Housewives, that’s a tough call. There was a
sharp turn off in the last quarter hour of The Triangle last night from 10.15pm
onwards as viewers just couldn’t stay the pace – around 200,000 viewers in 15
minutes. Still it finished with just over a million viewers, 50% down from its
peak. Seven seems unable to get the mid to late part of Sunday evening right so
far this year. Cutting 30 minutes from the successful Weekend Sunrise to
accommodate the pedestrian Sportsworld at 9.30am Sundays seems an odd decision.
It just brings forward the turn-on to Sunday. Next Sunday Sportsworld is only
half an hour to accommodate the last day of the Davis Cup tie from Melbourne on
Seven. Nine got another glimpse last night of how tough it’s going to be in
Melbourne without the AFL next winter. Cold and not many viewers for the
news!

Peter Fray

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