Singing Seven shakes up Sunday night. It might just be
for a single night, but last night Sunday night viewing was turned on
its head. As a result those established Nine Network programs, Backyard Blitz and 60 Minutes, were well beaten by their rivals on Seven and Ten. Seven had its new Dancing With The Stars clone, It Takes Two, while Ten had a special eviction edition of Big Brother. It Takes Two was
successfully launched, averaging 1.750 million viewers from 6.30pm to
around 8.30pm, which made it the most watched program on the night. It
easily accounted for Backyard Blitz at 6.30pm (1.157 million) and 60 Minutes
at 7.30pm (1.462 million). Seven News was the second most watched
program averaging 1.708 million, unusually high figures on a Sunday
night. But Seven’s glee didn’t last: it still hasn’t found a
replacement for the tired movies it has been showing at 8.30pm and last
night’s effort, Danny Deckchair, faded fast to average 865,000 – that’s a turn off of 50%. Nine moved back in front with its old stager, CSI, which finished third with 1.597 million and then CSI Miami
(1.269 million). That was enough to get Nine home on the night. But the
longer term fall out from last night is that Backyard Blitz is wounded.
Nine can either throw more money at it, or allow it to slip down the
rankings if It Takes Two continues to be successful. Last night
was the first time it was competing with two programs that went
straight to its key demographics. Another couple of weeks like this and
Nine has a big problem at 6.30pm on Sunday nights because It Takes Two will not be going away and Ten will inject more stunts into Big Brother. – Glenn Dyer

Nine slipping on sports rights? Has the appointment of Jeff Browne as Eddie McGuire’s number two at
the Nine Network cost the network any chance of picking up two major
sporting events? It would seem so. I hear that Nine was hot for the V8
Supercar contracts that Seven Network snatched last week. That was when
Sam Chisholm was CEO, but when Eddie arrived Nine started going cool on
the idea: no-one wanted to make any sort of commitment. Browne arrives
on the scene and tells the Supercar mob that he wants to look closely
at the contract proposals and analyse them. They take that for what it
means: it’s code “don’t ring us, we’ll ring you”. Basically Nine was
out of the equation. Is $9-10 million a year really that expensive,
especially when more than $3 million, maybe $4 million, was spent on
the miners for a one-off special? Now I hear that there’s another
sports rights situation that Nine is letting slip through its fingers.
When Chisholm was in charge, the network was hot to trot for the
Australian rights to the 2007 Rugby World Cup from France. Around $10
million would secure the free-to-air rights in Australia. But now Ten
is eyeing the rugby and apparently the Australian Rugby Union has
picked up on the vibes about Nine going cold on the idea. The ARU wants
the World Cup rights decided by late June. The ball is now in Ten’s
court. Nine can still come back: does it want to? No one really knows
because Jeff Brown is still processing that “bucketful of contracts”.
And what, you might ask is Eddie doing while all this is happening?
Good question. – Glenn Dyer

A victory in the fight for internet neutrality.
Late last week the House Judiciary Committee of Congress passed the
Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006, a bill that would
require broadband providers to operate their networks in a
non-discriminatory manner and would make sure that the phone and cable
companies cannot favour or block access to websites. The next hurdle for
Net Neutrality is whether there will be a full vote on the House floor.
The campaign continues. Meanwhile the responses to the news on the Save the Internet
site raise new concerns. Will the new bill merely protect the
commercial position of those internet service providers who have the
biggest “pipes” and are therefore able to give non-discriminatory
treatment? Or should the fight be concentrating on internet protocols,
rather than non-discriminatory treatment of “content, services and
applications”? This debate is all about what kind of thing the internet
is. Is it, like the broadcasting spectrum or the open highway, a public
asset? Or is it a tollroad? With internet protocol television already
available overseas and just around the corner here, these are vital
questions. When the history of these times is written, this battle will
figure large. It’s a shame it is gaining virtually no media coverage in
Australia at the moment. – Margaret Simons

Miners/Origin give Nine another weekly win.
A win to Nine as expected with the combination of the miners special
last Sunday night and the Rugby League State of Origin on Wednesday
evening doing the job. Nine had a winning share of 31.6% to 25.9% for
Seven, 22.2% for Ten, 13.1% for the ABC and 7.1% for SBS (which was
boosted by the Australian vs Greece soccer friendly on Thursday night,
which attracted 1.5 million viewers: SBS’s second biggest audience
ever). Nine won Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Ten won Adelaide and
Seven won Perth. But it will be unhappy at the way the ratings for Nine
News
and ACA died off in the wake of the multi-million-dollar spend on the miners. By Thursday night Seven News and Today Tonight were back in front. – Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
Sunday night and thanks to It Tales Two, Seven is competitive, but not
yet capable of winning the night. it needs at 8.30 pm hit to give it
the night. But It Takes Two topped the night with 1.750 million viewers
on average, Seven News was second with 1.798 million, CSI was third
with 1.597 million, Big Brother: Live Eviction 1.564 million, Nine
News with 1.497 million, 60 Minutes 1.462 million, Big Brother Lies and
Truth
(from 6.30 pm) 1.367 million), CSI Miami 1.269 million, Nine’s
Sunday Football (4 pm), 1.249 million, Law and Order Criminal Intent
1.199 million double episode), Backyard Blitz with 1.157 million and
Answered By Fire on the ABC with 1.008 million. That’s the miniseries
about the Timor invasion back in 1999, not the current problems.
Despite the success of Seven News and It Takes Two, Seven’s chances of
winning fell in a heap at 8.30 pm with the movie Danny Deckchair. It
averaged 865,000, half the audience of the previous two hours. Seven
moved to fourth after Nine (CSI), Ten (Law and Order CI) and the ABC
from 8.30pm to 9.20pm.

The Losers:Backyard Blitz was
KOed by It Takes Two and Big Brother last night. That’s a warning
to Nine. It has nothing in its inventory to move into that 6.30pm
timeslot on Sunday nights if Blitz is belted by Seven and BB. Nine
Perth pre-empted its news to run the West Coast Eagles Game and then
ran the news later. That didn’t help Nine News. With its Perth audience
it probably would have topped Seven.

News & CA: Seven
News won nationally and in Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. It won
Perth because Nine News wasn’t there. Nine won Sydney with the NRL game
helping as a lead-in. 60 Minutes was beaten. The 7pm ABC News averaged
982,000 and the Ten News 660,000. Sunday morning saw Seven’s
Weekend Sunrise win with 358,000 viewers from 8.30 am to 9.30 pm and
Nine’s Sunday average 301,000. Seven’s Sportsworld averaged 347,000
from 9.30am to 11am. Landline (ABC, midday) averaged 255,000.

The Stats:

Nine won with a share of 28.0% (40.3% last week, it was the
Beaconsfield Miners special) to Seven with 26.0% (19.5%). Ten was third
with 25.6% (22.5%), the ABC with 15.7% (10.3%) and SBS with 4.8%
(7.3%). Nine won Sydney, Melbourne and Perth (the Weagles were playing
Melbourne late Sunday afternoon), Ten won Adelaide, Seven won Brisbane.


Glenn Dyer’s comments:
Seven is back in the hunt on
Sunday nights and the week if It Takes Two can hold these numbers.
Seven is wondering though whether It Takes Two will dilute audience
interest in Dancing With The Stars or reinforce it. Tonight Nine
premieres the Siggie Thornton alternate medicine, medical myths program
What’s Good For You at 7.30pm and then yet another Jerry Bruckheimer
series, Close to Home at 9.30pm after Cold Case. Cold Case and
Desperate Housewives will be the points of attack for Seven and Nine
tonight. It’s a big gamble that we want to see and hear about medical
and near medical matters on a Monday night at 7.30pm. The other
networks have escapist stuff like The Great Outdoors and Big Brother Nomination. What’s Good For You replaces the 20 to 1 nostalgia-based
program that Bert Newton fronted. Close to Home is CSI/Cold Case,
Without a Trace with a domestic flourish, and with a hint of Desperate
Housewives
. Seven’s Commander in Chief goes up against it. By the way
you’d think Nine, with its shallow pool of new programs, would try and
run Six Feet Under a bit earlier than midnight Monday, wouldn’t you?

Peter Fray

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