WIN TV invests in WA regional news service. Just as
major regional operator Southern Cross Broadcasting is hacking and slashing at
management costs and other charges, its Wollongong-based rival WIN is about to
open a new news service in regional Western Australia, taking on the Golden West
network that was once controlled by Kerry Stokes and is now part of the Seven
affiliate, Prime TV.

Golden
West has had a monopoly on commercial news in WA for 30
years. The decision by WIN
Television has yet to be announced but the network has started to advertise
for news producers to be based in Kalgoorlie,
Broome, Karratha, Geraldton, Bunbury and Albany and
a news editor in Perth.
An official announcement
is expected shortly. WIN covers 21 separate
markets across Australia from
its Wollongong
base and it’s the the Nine Network’s most important affiliate. WIN also has around 40% share
in Sunraysia TV, which controls the poorly performing
STW 9 in Perth, just over 1% of PBL and just under 10% of the Ten
Network. Glenn Dyer

Austar goes the gouge on pubs and clubs. A few weeks ago,
regional Pay TV operator Austar was trumpeting the initial success of a
discount subscription model for private subscribers, pointing out how
the new basic subscription offering looked as though it was attracting
support from viewers. That discount: $20 or so lower than the normal
monthly fee, was introduced because Austar management felt there was
consumer resistance emerging to the increasingly complex and expensive
offerings, mostly from Foxtel. So the stripped down offering was
developed. It’s a pity that this offer wasn’t extended to the business
sector subscribers in pubs and clubs because Austar has been engaging
in some rather dramatic price gouging, if reports
in country newspapers in NSW and on the ABC are any guide. According to
some reports, pubs on the lowest rung of the Essential Sports Pack
service have been forced to pay rises of more than 130% in Austar
subscription fees. That puts the price at around $900 a month, compared
to $350-$400 a month previously. Large pubs and clubs on the top rung
of the same service are now paying 110% more – or more than $2,600 a
month. And that’s on top of the continuing confusion over racing TV
broadcasts affecting pub and club TAB takings and moves by Tabcorp to
“rationalise” country TAB services. – Glenn Dyer

Katie Couric’s new $US20 million gig. The
look on Seven’s Sydney newsreader Ian Ross’s face last night said it all. After
reading a voiceover item about the move by NBC’s Today co-host Katie Couric to CBS to anchor the evening news for an estimated
$US20 million a year, Ross’s eyes widened, his lips pursed and he appeared
impressed. Coming
from the man who is widely regarded as the highest paid news anchor in the
country – a million bucks a year for four nights’ work each week – it was sort of a compliment, not envy. The US
and Australia are vastly different markets with vastly different amounts of
money but it does showsthat network executives will pay a lot of money to try
and make the evening news work. It is
so important to each night of ratings – both here and in the US. The
move by Couric will mean that for the first time in
American network TV history, a woman will anchor the Monday to Friday night news
broadcasts. Her decision to leave NBC’s
Today show will damage the program and its immense profitability – it’s said
to be the most profitable show on American TV, earning fourth placed NBC more
than $US400 million a year in revenues. – Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV
ratings

The Winners Seven again, but not without a bit of a fight in
Melbourne and Adelaide, thanks to the AFL Footy Show. Ten was a bit more
competitive (it couldn’t win two nights in a row in All People) and it won the
16 to 39 group. A more solid night for Nine, with its News and Today Tonight
doing a little better, but not in Sydney which remains a disaster zone for ACA.
Lost was the most watched program with 1.472 million, down 400,00 to 500,000 on
what it was getting a year ago. But that’s still enough. Seven News was second
with 1.407 million, Today Tonight third with 1.403 million, The Biggest Loser
was next with 1.296 million, Home and Away followed with 1.281 million, then
Nine News (1.238 million) ACA, 1.219 million, Getaway (1.217 million), in front
of Las Vegas at 7.30pm with 1.161 million and Medium on Ten in 10th spot with
1.078 million people. Seven’s The Amazing Race is under a million viewers at
9.30pm, but that was in front of the AFL and NRL footy Shows on Nine with
average 884,000 for both types: 240,000 in Sydney and a solid 374,000 in
Melbourne. The Brisbane audience for the NRL Show of 95,000 was perhaps the best
reflection of the standard of last night’s show; boring and not much
fun.
The Losers Losers? Bert again lost ground and fell under the
500,000 mark to 460,000, down 173,000 from the peak of 633,000 earlier in the
week. As audiences for Ten news at Five (915,000) and Deal Or No Deal (884,000)
held up on levels earlier in the week, the fall in Bert’s audience can only be
put down to viewer unhappiness with the offering. It is not a good thing. It was
also another tough night for Temptation at 7pm on Nine, down to 860,000 as TBL
and Home and Away and the ABC 7pm news (1.018 million) swamped it. The Amazing
Race
on Seven might have done better than the Footy Shows but it has lost around
250,000 to 300,000 viewers since it started.The Bold and The Beautiful, Ten at
4.30pm, actually out-rated Bert with 557,000 viewers. Perhaps that’s the answer
for Nine, replace Bert with a Soap!
News & CA Seven News and TT won. Seven news won Sydney, lost
Melbourne to Nine, and Brisbane, won Adelaide and won Perth where Nine was let
down by the appalling local affiliate, STW 9. Just 68,000 people watched Nine’s
News in Perth last night. 215,000 watched Seven’s News. ACA was watched by just
86,000, TT, 203,000. Now Niners will rant and rave about the unfairness of it
all, but the fact is Seven (and Ten) spent a lot of time and money putting
together a national network years ago and Nine did it on the cheap, as the
Packer Empire often does. They thought national control would come from owning
Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane: and it does, but not ratings performance,
especially when there is no control over the vital 6pm to 7pm timeslot with
affiliates in Perth (and to a lesser extent in Adelaide). The Nine Network (the
Packer bit) only has itself to blame and no amount of croc tears will change the
situation. ACA lost to TT but not before solid wins in Melbourne and
Brisbane.
The Stats Seven with 30.5% (29.5% a week ago), Nine second with
27.3% (31.3%), Ten on 22.9%(21.8%) in third, the ABC with 14.0%)12.8% and SBS
with 5.3% (4.6%)Seven won Sydney, Nine won Melbourne (AFL Footy Show), Seven won
Brisbane, Nine and Ten tied Adelaide and Seven was a big winner in Perth (13
points).
Glenn Dyer’s comments And why the difference: No AFL Game on Nine, so it
was down, but still competitive thanks to Getaway and better efforts from Nine
News and ACA. Ten also did better thanks to TBL and Medium. Tonight Nine has the
AFL and the NRL which should give it a win. Saturday night? Who knows. Movies
on Nine v police soaps and a pommie soap on Seven. Doc Martin is on the ABC at
7.30pm tomorrow night. Doc Martin, Martin Clunes, become an undertaker in Series
Two of William and Mary on Seven at 9.30pm. Why there’s even time for him to rush
home and change channels! Now how’s that for capturing a market, birth ’em,
treat ’em and bury them, on different networks, of course. Can’t have too much
confusion amongst the viewers. Seven leads the week, 30.4% to 27.0% for
Nine.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW