ABC MD with no broadcast experience. What’s new? David Salter, that veteran scrutineer of media beat-ups, was giving the
egg-beater a good old workout himself this morning, appearing on the
ABC’s Media Reportto warn of the danger of appointing a non-broadcaster to run the ABC. The former Media Watch
executive producer said it will be easy for middle management to feed
the new boss bullsh*t because Mark Scott had no working knowledge of
broadcasting. Gee, it’s hardly like it’ll be the first time that’s
happened. Media Report host Gerald Tooth observed that the ABC
must have been a dangerous place for a very long time if lack of
broadcast experience at the top was the criteria for making the joint
dangerous. David Salter conceded the point and then went on to name all
the previous non-broadcasting MDs – Russell Balding, Jonathon Shier
(selling commercial air-time doesn’t count), Brian Johns and Geoffrey
Whitehead. Indeed, Salter acknowledged you had to go back to the days
of Talbott Duckmanton and Sir Charles Moses to find bosses with genuine
broadcasting experience. Nevertheless, Salter did make the valid point
that Scott’s lack of broadcast experience will be compounded by the
fact that the new head of television Kim Dalton is also new to
broadcasting (he’s been a film bureaucrat and independent film & TV
producer, but has had no previous experience in broadcast management).
But even the gaps on Dalton’s CV are not that novel, considering the
number of people who’ve been appointed to senior production and
editorial positions at the ABC without appropriate experience. ABC TV
Arts specialises in such appointments. – Stephen Feneley

Leckie not selling out of Seven. Meanwhile, in an
otherwise good column today on the position of the Nine Network in the
Australian‘s Media section, David Salter said this about Seven CEO, David Leckie.

“One telling pointer to
this shakeout was Seven boss David Leckie’s recent
decision to sell some of his stock in the network. Leckie may not be the industry’s most charming
conversationalist, but he’s smart. He knew Seven’s brief ascendancy was based on
a handful of hit shows and a lot of luck, so it was time to cash
out.” What recent decision to
sell “some of his stock in the network?” Leckie has been building his
holdings.

Perhaps
the technical nature of an ASX filing on April 4 confused Salter and The
Australian
. Leckie has entered into a put and
call arrangement with Macquarie Bank to finance the exercising of 500,000
options in Seven into listed fully paid shares. That
runs for a year until April 2007, as disclosed in the announcement. It is a
purchase arrangement, not sale, as the notice makes clear. Itng
states that before the chae Leckie owned 2.5 million
listed shares (worth around $21 million at the $8.33 price this morning) and 3.5 million unlisted options. After
the transaction Leckie owned three million shares and three million options. Perhaps
Salter was confusing Leckie for Nick Falloon at Ten who sold the last of his Ten shares late last
year. Glenn Dyer

Harold Mitchell weighs in. When
pre-eminent media buyer Harold Mitchell speaks, the advertising world
listens. So his thoughts on Foxtel’s deal for A-League soccer TV rights
make for interesting viewing … though it’s hardly of intergalactic
importance. Check it out here. (Video courtesy of Stefano Boscutti)

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
As expected a win for Nine with the first State of Origin game from
Sydney topping the most watched list with 1.909 million. But another
feature was the strong performance of Seven News (second with 1.605
million) and Today Tonight (third with 1.525 million) against Nine News
(4th with 1.404 million) and A Current Affair (5th with 1.375 million).
Temptation was 6th with 1.366 million, followed by the repeat of House (1.260 million), Big Brother (1.257 million – up on the night
before), Home and Away (1.229 million) and the repeat of NCIS (1.203
million). Thank God You’re Here (in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth) had 1.015 million. See, I told you all it was worth watching. That’s
around 1.7 million over the two nights.

The Losers:
Bert’s Family Feud 609,000 which is middling OK but Deal or No Deal was
again well ahead with 996,000 people. Nine’s Today Show and Early Today
were well beaten by Seven’s Sunrise (the ambulance chasers) and Early
Sunrise
. The figures were 449,000 for Sunrise 251,000 for Today and
232,000 for Early Sunrise (100,000 for Today Early). Sunrise‘s David
Koch might be chasing an ambulance according to Nine, but it’s Today
desperately chasing Sunrise. Seven’s Prison Break (765,000) was down
because it wasn’t shown everywhere (Seven showed a special on the three
princes instead in Sydney and Brisbane). McLeod’s Daughters went to air
in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth and averaged 698,000. Thank God beat
it easily. Seven’s Beyond Tomorrow averaged 987,000 across the country. The ABC’s Spicks and Specs averaged 867,000 and was hit by the League
on Nine.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally
and in every market but Brisbane. It reversed Nine’s win in Sydney from
Tuesday. A big win in Perth helped boost the margin to 200,000
nationally. Today Tonight won thanks to wins in Perth, Adelaide and
Sydney. ACA won Melbourne and Brisbane. Ten News averaged
918,000, the 7pm ABC News, 952,000 and the 7.30 Report, 752,000, contending with the start of the State of Origin on Nine.

The Stats: Official share figures not available until this afternoon because of computer problems. Unofficial ratings for last night indicate Nine won
with 36.5% of the audience, followed by Ten (24.6%), Seven (23.1%), the ABC (12.5%) and SBS (3.3%).

Glenn Dyer’s comments:

A night made hard to analyse by the State of Origin. Tonight its the
Australia-Greece soccer game on SBS from Melbourne to upset the night’s
viewing. One thing is certain, this will be one of those rare weeks
where League and Soccer outrate the AFL and do so comfortably. Big
games I know, but both sports will grab these audiences and won’t throw
them back. What will the Footy Shows do on Nine with their newly
discovered appreciation of the roundball game? Do a live cross, a score
or something? Certainly the NRL Show will have last night’s State of
Origin
to talk about.

Peter Fray

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