PBL plans to maximise Ashes returns through Betfair. The
Nine Network went big on cricket last week, making it the big selling point for the rest of 2006. The
network made no secret of its desire to make as much money
as possible from what will be the highest rating cricket series in Australian TV
history. And Nine is
going all out to provide as many avenues for itself, its clients and the rest of
the PBL Empire, to maximise returns from the five Tests and the one day
internationals. Besides
the wall to wall live broadcasts, there will be a new version of The Cricket Show; an infomercial-style, product placement-rich program called Jack of All
Trades
and betting through Betfair Australia, which is
half-owned by Nine’s parent, PBL. Nine
and its PBL masters see this as the perfect time to promote Betfair with a major national sporting event in
Australia. Punters can already bet on cricket through the UK website but with the
Tasmanian gaming licence granted to Betfair in February the Australian arm will
be up and running later
this month. Although details are not available, there have been
suggestions inside PBL that the punters might be able to bet on next wicket, etc – though whether they will go as far as the Indian bookmakers and
accept bets on next scorer, next four etc, is problematic because that’s where
all those nasty “match fixing” claims started. PBL has
paid an estimated $30 million for 50% of Betfair Australia and
would want a return straight away, and the Ashes Test series and ODI will
provide the ideal opportunity. – Glenn Dyer

Extra! Interest rate rise to boost Foxtel audiences! Sometimes you have to wonder about the News
Ltd papers, always looking for an in-house plug. Take this quote from page one of yesterday’s Australian about interest rate reaction: “We
won’t be going out to dinner and the movies as much as we used to – we’ll stay
home and watch Foxtel. With a $500,000 mortgage on their
Allambie
Heights home in Sydney’s northern beaches
and a similar mortgage on an investment property, the Polgars’ weekly loan repayments will jump $36 a week – $1872
a year – when their bank inevitably lifts interest rates in response to
yesterday’s Reserve Bank move”. Didn’t anyone have the heart to tell
them or the Oz journalist that on Foxtel’s premium package, which is around $99 a month, the couple could
pay for most of that increase by cancelling the pay TV service, staying home and watching ordinary TV or reading
books? Glenn Dyer

Real Stories: Australia’s fifth best current
affairs program.

This
well-kept secret has emerged via the show’s new website, which promises to provide “an insight into the unique lives of those people so often overlooked by our competitors”. You get
the drift: a young person’s version of Frontline? A spin-off
of The Bogan, sorry, The Wedge, and its appalling
newsreader? Or a transgender Mike Moore fronting a clone of A Current
Affair
? It
starts on 22 August and is being produced by Rove McManus’s company, Roving Enterprises. It will go to air at 9pm Tuesdays, just before Rove Live at 9.30pm. Eight
episodes will be made but you never know, it could rate so well that Ten marries
off poor old Yasmin at 7pm
weeknights and moves Real Stories
into that timeslot to provide a counterbalance to the “current affairs”
gruel viewers may have just witnessed on Seven and Nine at 6.30pm.Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Thursday
night and with Lost about to end (1.638 million and number one last
night), Seven would be more confident about not falling in a hole like
it did last year on this night after the US hit finishes. It has other
programs (and a new one) that are emerging as quite strong
performers. Nine would also have been very happy with Getaway last
night, second with 1.571 million, a very strong effort. Third was Today
Tonight
with 1.548 million, My Name Is Earl bounced up to 1.491
million, Seven News averaged 1.482 million and Nine’s Temptation was sixth with 1.416 million. Its 7pm rival, Home and Away, was next with
1.405 million, with Nine News next on 1.295 million. How I Met Your
Mother
(7 at 7.30 pm) averaged 1.219 million (up on recent weeks).
Ten’s Medium was tenth with 1.196 million, A Current Affair was weak on
1.177 million., Ten’s Law and Order averaged 1.121 million and Two and
A Half Men
(Nine, 8.30pm) 1.008 million. Thirteen programs in all with
a million or more viewers.The appearance of Yasmin’s Getting Married at
7pm continues to boost both Home and Away and Temptation which have
had solid audiences since Tuesday (Goodbye BB). Melbourne had four
programs with half a million or mnore viewers ( Lost, Getaway, Today
Tonight
and Temptation, Sydney’s highest audience was 476,000 for Lost.
Melbourne had eight programs with 400,000 or more viewers; Sydney, only
four. We’ve talked about it before but TV advertisers in the more
expensive Sydney market must feel they are being short-changed compared
to Melbourne, and TV ad revenues fell by more in Melbourne in the June
half (despite the Commonwealth Games) than in Sydney!

The Losers:
Bert’s Family Feud showed its usual Thursday weakness, sliding under
700,000 to 627,000. That hurt Nine News and A Current Affair which were
both well behind Seven News and TT compared to the last few weeks.
Yasmin on Ten at 7pm shed another 10,000 viewers to average 549,000.
The New Adventures of Old Christine on Nine at 9pm, 845,000. It
shouldn’t be watched by fewer viewers than the offensive (but not
funny) Two and A Half Men at 8.30 pm (1.008 million). There are the
makings of a solid sitcom idea trying to emerge in Christine. I hope
it does.

News & CA:Seven News won nationally and
only lost in Adelaide. It won by 187,000 nationally and didn’t have to
depend on Perth. Today Tonight, though, scooted away from A Current
Affair
(which fell below 300,000 to 297.000 in Sydney for the first
time in weeks. It had been stronger in Sydney recently). TT won every
market and by 371,000 nationally. No need for Perth where Nine News and
ACA were closer than they have been for some time. The 7pm ABC News
averaged 970,000, Ten News At Five, 859,000, The 7.30 Report, 786,000.
Sunrise beat Today by a larger margin than on Wednesday morning.
Sunrise rose to 485,000, Today was on 247,000.

The Stats: Seven
won with a share of 31.9%(29.2%), from Nine with 29.0% (28.8%), Ten
with 20.2% (22.1%), the ABC with 11.7% (12.7%) and SBS with 7.1%
(unchanged, thanks Rex, 34 with 430,000 in repeat, thanks the
Penicillin Doco 29, with 466,000). Seven won all markets but Adelaide
where Nine was the winner.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: The
NRL Footy Show
saw Paul Vautin explain that he hasn’t got the hosting
gig for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. In Sydney the program finished
14th with 26,000 viewers, in Brisbane, its other major market, just
96,000 watched. That made it number 27. (The AFL Show finished tenth in
Melbourne with 389,000 viewers). For most of the past two years
Brisbane league supporters haven’t been avid watchers of the NRL Footy
Show
. Something for Footy Show Expert, Eddie McGuire perhaps. A quiz
show segment perhaps in 2007, with big prize money instead of
Millionaire (or a million dollar sports quiz prize?) Seven’s 7.30
program How I Met Your Mother perked up last night adding around 10% to its audience and My Name Is Earl did the same, maybe
adding an extra 15%. They were good efforts against Nine’s
dominant Getaway. Its 1.5 million plus was the highest audience for
some weeks. Both would have been welcomed by Seven and that helped push
Seven past Nine (which overcame that weakness from 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm).
The Footy Shows still did 966,000 but at this time of the season,
viewers are becoming a bit footied out and can’t wait for the
finals. Seven leads the week now 28.5% to 28.0% for Nine. Tonight and
tomorrow night will be close: it will be decided by football, the League
and AFL on Nine tonight (and forget Bert’s Family Feud All Stars at
7.30 pm) and the Rugby Union Test on Seven tomorrow night at 7.30 pm.
Yasmin’s slow courtship is bleeding viewers from Ten.

Peter Fray

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