Eddie fails crucial ratings test. A win to the Seven Network last week in the most
important week of the ratings year for the Nine Network and its boss Eddie
McGuire. Eddie’s
most expensive decision, Torvill and Dean’s Dancing on Ice was launched and just wasn’t good enough to rate its socks
off. Even though Seven lost Saturday night heavily because the Rugby Union
Test between Australia and South Africa didn’t rate outside of Sydney
and Brisbane, it still had enough in the tank to win the week 29.3%
(27.7% last week) to 28.3% for Nine (29.3%). Nine’s audience loss was understandable given the
lack of a big attraction like the State of Origin and the debuts of Dancing on Ice on Tuesday (1.510
million) and Suspicious Minds on Wednesday (893,000), weren’t
enough to make up the difference. Glenn Dyer

But Nine News is battling back. Last week’s figures had some
good news for Eddie Everywhere and his band of stuttering TV amateurs: the TV
professionals, the people that Ed’s masters at PBL have been hacking and slashing at
for years, are having a real go in news and current affairs. Although Seven News and Today Tonight won
the national battle last week, Nine News in particular was at its most
competitive for months, winning in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and
Adelaide. Nine News has been improving for most of
this year and its only the ham-fisted interference by Nine managements and Park
Street that has stopped Nine from getting closer to Seven
earlier. ACA remains a worry: the turn off from Nine
News is still there (there is also a small turn off from Seven News to
TT some nights, but nowhere as large as the loss by ACA). Glenn Dyer

Meanwhile, at ACP… The
sound of axes slashing at ACP Magazines continues with Eric
Matthews, who headed up the slowing Belle magazine,
now following Anny Friis (Editorial Director of House and Garden and Real Living,
ACP’s newest magazine, until last
week). More
changes are being rumoured as the circulation figures
for the June six months are ruled off. It can’t have been a good time for Belle,
House and Garden, Real Living or The Weekly. The big
loss from the point of view of staff at ACP was Mia Freedman who switched to the
Nine Network as Creative Director. Freedman was regarded as a good Editor at ACP who stood
up for the people on her magazines: Cleo, Dolly and Cosmopolitan (and was
considered to be bound for higher things). Her new job title – Creative Director at Nine – and
talk about being employed to bring a female perspective to Nine, sounds a bit
tokenistic and a bit like the Vicky Jones who returned to Nine under Gyngell and lingered on under Sam
Chisholm. She was
in charge of the on air look of presenters, especially female, and was known as
the director for lunches, haircuts, frocks and eye shadow. Freedman
should just keep her head down and stop doing media
appearances. Glenn Dyer

Shaun
Brown gets another one.
The
managing director of SBS is continuing his revamp of the broadcaster’s senior
management. Earlier this year he cleaned out and restructured the
top level of SBS television, appointing new executives who then turned around
and continued the cleaning process further down the food
chain. Out
went long time employees and casuals in the production area, in came
contractors. The highly commercial Toyota World Sport program at 7pm is going
because of a viewer turn off from the 6.30pm World News (although SBS isn’t supposed to be chasing
ratings). And now
Shaun Brown has targeted the head of SBS radio, the veteran Quang Luu who is stepping down
after 17 years. A
statement issued this morning to SBS staff confirmed rumours circulating at the broadcaster that the wily veteran
broadcaster was in Brown’s sights. Quang Luu
has been a skilful player of board politics at SBS, while cultivating the many
ethnic groups who command radio time at SBS. SBS
insiders say the next move will be against senior management of the radio
division while there will be an attempt to shake-up and introduce more efficient
work practices in radio that has seen some people paid for twelve hours work for
doing a one hour program. Glenn Dyer

A soccer setback for Rupert’s satellite sales. News Corporation prides itself as being a pioneer of
Direct Broadcast Satellite Television with its 100% ownership of SKY Italia
singled out in the last quarterly report for star billing with its $US69 million
of operating income listed first in the highlights for the three months to 31
March. The number of subscribers had increased by 472,000 in a year to a total
of 3.71 million and all seemed rosy. Central to Sky’s Italian success was the linkup with
Juventus Football Club SPA which boasts some 10 million supporters,
almost one-third of all football fans, in Italy. Sky paid €90
million for the satellite television rights to Juventus games in the 2005-06
season and would have paid €94.5 million for the season to come if Juventus had
remained in the Serie A. That contract will now go by the board but SKY Italia
will be left without a major hook with which to keep existing subscribers and
attract new ones. –
Richard Farmer

More newspaper woes. First
it was the Financial Times which last week cut 50 jobs and brought in changes to
work practices that will see journalists write for both the newspaper and its website FT.com. Now the
Chicago Tribune plans to cut
about 120 jobs, or 4% of its staff, as part of a plan to reduce costs: 80
jobs will be lost, another 40 unfilled positions will be
cancelled. The jobs will come from across the company
and follow its parent reporting late last week that its second quarter net
profit fell because of a decline in newspaper advertising, falling daily paper
circulation, and a loss on its sale of two television stations.
Several other US
newspaper groups, including Gannett Co. and McClatchy Co. also reported lower
profits last week as their papers lost national and car industry advertising
revenues to the internet. – Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Nine
News was the most watched program with 1.801 million viewers, thanks to
the NRL and AFL lead-ins from 4pm. Nine’s CSI was the second most
watched at 8.30pm with 1.703 million, Seven’s It Takes Two added
200,000 viewers to average 1.623 million, Seven News averaged 1.593
million and 60 Minutes 1.546 million. In 6th spot, CSI Miami had its
biggest audience for a while with 1.417 million, Planet Earth on the
ABC dropped to 1.394 million but still gave 60 Minutes trouble in
Sydney. True Stories lifted, adding around 200,000 viewers to average
1.303 million. Seven’s movie, Calendar Girls did a respectable 1.231
million (but was no Pirates). Ten’s eviction ep of Big Brother averaged
a solid 1.220 million and Nine’s 4pm football, 1.219 million. You Are
What You Eat
(Nine at 6.30pm) averaged 1.205 million, the 7pm ABC
News 1.153 million and Turn Back Your Body Clock averaged 1.147
million at 7pm (fancy being beaten by the ABC
News at 7pm on a high viewing Sunday evening!). The 6.30pm ep of Big
Brother
averaged 1.100 million and that was the 15th and last program
last night to average a million or more viewers.

The Losers:
Well, Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine just 393,000 from 10.45pm
to 1.05pm: to average that many after midnight on Sunday was a real
tribute to the staying power of viewers.

News & CA:
Sunday night and thanks to the footy leads at 4pm, Nine News did well
winning everywhere bar Perth. Seven’s It Takes Two has perked up and is
now making a pest of itself at 6.30pm to 8pm. The ABC program Planet
Earth
, beat 60 Minutes in Sydney. The ABC 7pm news did well with more
than 1.1 million people. Ten’s half hour of news at 5pm averaged
756,000. In the Sunday morning chat battle, Seven’s Weekend Sunrise
averaged 381,000, the ABC’s Landline 321,000, Sunday 289,000,
Sportsworld on Seven 348,000, My Business (Seven at 11am) 182,000,
Nine’s Business Sunday 181,000, the ABC’s Insiders had their best
audience for quite a while with 170,000 from 9am to 10am. But not
many stayed for Inside Business which averaged 99,000 while even more
turned off for Barry Cassidy without his coat on Offsiders with 74,000,
Meet The Press on Ten perked up to 63,000. Business Success, Nine’s
infomercialish small biz show at 7.30am averaged 87,000 for a repeat.

The Stats:
Nine won with a share of 30.7% (29.2% last week) to Seven with 29.3%
(32.4%), Ten was third with 19.8% (17.7%), the ABC with 15.4% (6.5%)
and SBS with 4.7% (4.2%). Nine won Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide, Seven
won Melbourne and Perth.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: The
sort of win Nine would have liked a week ago to start the week on a
positive note rather than the backfoot. Tonight the Kylie interview
should do well for Nine for perve power at least, but the Housewives of
Wisteria Lane are moving towards the series end, so the power of that
shouldn’t be discounted. True Stories did better last night but the
story on Sophie Delezio, the young Sydney girl with an amazing capacity
to survive, might be the reason for the kick up in viewing – next week
its back to the previously prepared series hosted by Anna Coren and not
Chris Bath who hosted last night’s episode. Seven will be watching the
news and current affairs hour very closely this week, especially in
Sydney to see if Nine’s wins in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and
Adelaide are repeated this week. Today Tonight is still clearly ahead
of A Current Affair but that gap has been closed slightly. The
improvement makes the change at the top of Nine’s News structures and
the John Alexander-driven cuts to the Sydney news and current affairs
area that much harder to fathom or understand except they were driven
to get rid of certain people (such as Mark Llewellyn), or neuter or get
rid of programs that might embarrass head office. (Sunday). Nine
probably has a feeling that it can win this week. Ten won’t, it’s moving
towards the end of Big Brother and the start of Australian Idol.

Peter Fray

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