Is the ratings war beginning to turn? Hmmm, is that the sound of
a ratings war changing tack or perhaps the sound of programmers and
management at Seven shaking their heads and wondering why
their ratings locomotive, Desperate Housewives, has
lost its legs? Seven will argue no
change, it doesn’t really want to win the ratings, all
it wants is the most number of programs in the top 20 most watched shows, which
it still has. But bragging rights for beating Nine are bragging rights worth treasuring, and you have to wonder whether
we’re seeing the beginning of a late Autumn-Winter rebound by Nine on the back of football and a
slowing in Seven’s momentum. For the
second week in a row the program that helped boost Seven’s ratings comeback in
2005 has fallen short of pre-Easter audience numbers and
is now just a good hit. Desperate Housewives (1.617 million) ran third last
night, beaten in the 8.30pm timeslot by Cold Case (1.723 million). Today Tonight was second with 1.622
million. Seven’s other ratings giant from 2005, Lost, has already eased back to the pack and is averaging around 1.3 to 1.4
million viewers, compared to more than two million a year ago and 1.8 million at
the start of this ratings year. After
finishing in third place last week for the first time in
decades, Nine is on track to perhaps win the week or at least go
close after winning Sunday and Monday nights, but its problems are slowly multiplying.
Advertisers are still wondering what CEO Eddie McGuire will produce as a new
strategy. Nine’s
big selling point this year was to concentrate on the 25 to 54 age group, giving
up on the younger viewers and those over 55. Nine has certainly lost audience share in the 16 to 39
age group, but it’s also losing ground in the 25 to 54 group (down 4 percentage
points of share compared to Seven and Ten). And, to
rub salt into its wounds, Ten is now within a couple
of points of Nine’s share in the 25 to 54 age
group. Glenn Dyer

Labor heavyweights refuse electoral Insight. Tonight’s edition of SBS’s
Insight current affairs program looks at “What Labor needs to do to win
Government in Canberra”. A
pertinent topic and there’s a good panel assembled for the discussion,
including former Labor
Ministers John Button, Chris Schacht, Susan Ryan, Bob McMullan and Barry Cohen.
Former West Australian Labor Premier Geoff Gallop is a starter, and current ALP
Federal President, Warren Mundine makes up the
cast. There’ll be a bunch of
swinging voters in the audience to provide the spark for the
debate. What’s that I hear you
ask: where’s the current ALP Federal members, the ones who will be “winning”
government in Canberra? Those Parliamentary
heavyweights, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and Bomber Beazley himself all declined Insight‘s invitation to
appear. So while we will get
some inkling of what swinging voters might want from Labor, and what some old
hands think has to be done, it will all
fall on absent ears. Or
perhaps the views of the audience and the panel might be a little unpalatable.Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV
ratings

The
Winners

Ahh haa… Desperate Housewives
are not so desperate any more, or rather Australian TV viewers are not so
desperate to tune in. As a result Nine grabs the tinniest of wins, by 0.1% last
night, Ten returns to a distant third but winning the 16 to 39 age group, thanks
to shock, horror, Big Brother. Cold Case on Nine was the most
watched with 1.723 million, from Today Tonight on Seven with 1.622 million and
Desperate Housewives with 1.617 million. Then came Seven News with 1.616
million, Seven’s 20 to 1 at 7.30 pm with 1.587 million, Nine News, 1.461
million, Big Brother, 1.344 million, ACA, 1.310 million, Home and Away 10th with
1.288 million, Temptation next with 1.254 million, The Great Outdoors with 1.112
million, Ten News at Five with 1.065 million, ABC News at 7 pm with 1.022
million and Seven’s Commander in Chief with 1.015 million.

The Losers Losers? Well, Bert’s Family
Feud
: not a failure with 631,000, but that’s the now familiar Monday bounce
(with another tonight). Nine’s Hotel Babylon down to 858,000, beaten by Andrew
Denton’s Enough Rope with 880,000. Will Nine pick up series two from the BBC
with that sort of decline? Commander in Chief is looking a bit sudsy (as is
Desperate Housewives). Deal or No Deal
finished with 986,000 well clear of Bert, but behind Ten
news.
News &
CA
With all that holiday nonsense
out of the day decisive wins to Seven in the News and Current Affairs battles
between 6 and 7pm. Seven news easily beat Nine in Sydney and Melbourne, lost
Brisbane and Adelaide but won Perth by a long way. Today Tonight was a bigger
winner over ACA, despite both programs being hosted from Beaconsfield in
Tasmania where the battle to rescue the miners goes on. Both programs looked
good once they ventured out of the studio. TT won Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. ACA won
Adelaide. More people watched Ten news from 5 pm to 6pm than watched the 7 pm
ABC News, a rare occurrence. The 7.30 Report averaged a solid 933,000 with Kerry
in the studio. Four Corners averaged 746,000 and Media Watch 720,000. Nine’s Today Show went big on the mine rescue and appeared
in the top 50 shows at Number 50 with 287,000. Unfortunately Seven’s Sunrise was
hosted from there (along with a studio hosting) by Mel and Dave and averaged
498,000 and was Number 32. It now seems that when there’s a big story on viewers
are turning to Sunrise and then Seven News. But that’s the way for Today to go:
forget the light and bright Sunrise clone stuff.
The Stats How close can you get: Nine
with 28.6% (27.1% a week ago), Seven with 28.5%(28.0%)Ten with 22.0% (25.9% a
week earlier), the ABC with 15.9%, (13.6%) and SBS with 5.0% (5.5%).Nine won
Sydney and Brisbane, Seven won Melbourne, Adelaide and
Perth.
Glenn Dyer’s comments Seven will feel like Nine did last week on one
night: a narrow loser despite having a winning margin among the various markets.
Seven at least won the 25 to 54 age group, the most important in ad terms. But
bragging rights are important especially when a signature program like Desperate
Housewives
is involved. But tonight will be Seven’s thanks to Dancing With The
Stars
and All Saints riding off the back of the dancers. Nine’s not looking good
in the morning news battle nor in the post 9.30 timeslot some nights. We still
have a battle on our hands but Ten could claim victory in the 16 to 39 age group
for the year judging by its performance so far. But it won’t and shouldn’t. Idol
can still be a turkey.