Interesting creatures at The SMH. With new media invading their turf, newspapers are looking at how best to attract media buyers. The award for the most novel (and odd) approach must surely go to Fairfax. In conjunction with ad agency, Host and The Glue Society, as well as acclaimed illustrator Jon Burgerman, they’ve created a cast of six Interesting Creatures to represent the changing face of Sydney Morning Herald readers. There’s Wilhemina, who’s into organic food and “the sea” and Noteboom who digs “live music as long as it’s punk”. Rounding out the sextet are Barnaby, Mifamwe, Persephone and Finbaar, who all have their own individual sites with photos and blogs. Fairfax hopes this cast will “change
perceptions among media buyers that Herald readers are
either a North Shore Volvo driver or a thrusting executive from the
Eastern Suburbs”, says Julian Lee in The SMH.
It’s all part of an “industry-wide drive to get media
buyers to re-evaluate their views on newspapers”. But that could be a tough sell. Lee notes the words of Steve Allen from media agency Fusion Strategy: “The big disconnect is often
in the media agencies themselves, where a lot of the people who are
making the decisions are not in the newspaper-reading habit. They
are going online.” – Jane Nethercote

Another Seven quiz show bombs on debut. Strike two for Seven this week as new quiz show The Master had a less than
successful start at 8.30pm last night.

It
averaged only 744,000 viewers in the key primetime slot. It was too derivative – half resembling Who Wants To Be A
Millionaire
– and host Mark Baretta isn’t Eddie McGuire. Will it
return? Who knows, clearly the viewers wouldn’t miss it. Certainly there’s no
lifelines for Seven programmers on this
flop. Spicks
and Specks
was watched by 1.190 million at 8.30pm and
Extras by just over a million at 9pm, which left Seven back in fourth or fifth spot as SBS had the Asian Cup qualifying game, which averaged 610,000 over two and a half hours. In Sydney, The Master was a distant fifth behind the soccer (181,000 v
240,000 on SBS). The
first strike against Seven this week was the
underwhelming opening for You May Be Right on Sunday night and the network debuts a third new program tonight, Celebrity
Survivor
, which unlike You May be Right and The Master has had a lot of pre-publicity. Tonight also sees the debut of a really ground breaking show in
Australian and world TV – David Tench Tonight, which features an animated host interviewing live guests. It’s from the Denton
Production company and starts at 8.30pm on Ten. – Glenn Dyer

Digital TV sales boosted. As
the Federal Government, led by Communications Minister Senator Helen Coonan,
continues to struggle over a new media policy including a cut off date for the
analogue TV service, Australians are continuing to buy more digital TV
equipment. Figures released this week show that
20 per cent of Australian households now have free-to-air digital TV: that’s
total sales of TV set top boxes, integrated TVs and PVRs of 1.57 million units. Sales were no doubt boosted by the
World Cup Soccer in June and jumped from around 48,000 a month to more than
76,000 a month for the quarter according to

Digital Broadcasting Australia (DBA). Some 40 per cent of the June quarter
sales were High Definition TV equipment (which will please Ten and Nine in
particular among the commercials who are concentrating on HD TV
broadcasts). – Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: A very even night and one where Seven missed the chance to snatch a win and SBS’s Asian Cup soccer broadcast trimmed everyone else’s audience.The flop known as The Master is dealt with separately. At Seven I reckon no one now thinks it was a good idea. A fresh House on Ten won with 1.532 million (that’s around 200,000 down on a week earlier and probably showing the impact of the soccer on SBS which averaged 610,000 from 7 pm to 9.30 pm). Seven News was second with 1.461 million, much further ahead of Nine News than on previous nights. Today Tonight was next with 1.404 million. Ten’s NCIS was 4th with 1.384 million, Seven’s Home and Away was 5th with 1.345 million, Nine News was next with 1.311 million and A Current Affair was next with 1.310 million. Temptation averaged 1.278 million and McLeod’s Daughters 1.268 million. Spicks and Specks averaged 1.190 million, Without A Trace on Nine at 8.30 pm averaged 1.167 million, Beyond Tomorrow on Seven at 7.30 pm, 1.064 million, Extras on the ABC at 9 pm, 1.022 million and Ten’s 7.30 program, Honey We’re Killing The Kids, 1.015 million. The ABC will be happy with Extras, around 250,000 to 300,000 people more tuned in to watch the first episode of Ricky Gervais new series compared to the averages for Absolute Power.Absolute Power was a funnier TV program because the characters were better. The Office made Ricky Gervais because so many people work or have worked in an office at some stage in their lives. Extras? Funny in parts, cringeworthy, but it’s not The Office. There is a touch of David Brent in his character though. Ben Stiller was pretty good as well.

The Losers:The Master – 744,000 brave souls apparently watched it. Find them and keep them warm in case it returns next week! Bert’s Family Feud down to a recent low of 601,000 but Deal or No Deal on Seven up over 919,000 and Ten News at Five at 845,000. Futurama on Ten 794,000, The Closer on Nine 533,000 at 9.30 pm, half what it normally gets on Monday or Tuesday nights around this time. Suspicious Minds, Nine’s Forensic Investigators clone shifted to 10.30 pm and dying: just 4124,000 viewers managed to stay the course.

News & CA: Seven News and Today Tonight had big wins last night without Perth’s contribution. Seven News won Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. Nine won Melbourne and Adelaide. Today Tonight won Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, A Current Affair won Melbourne and Adelaide. The 7 pm ABC news averaged 931,000, The 7.30 Report, 839,000

The Stats: Ten won with 25,3% (26.7% ) from Nine with 24.4% (25.6%) and Seven with 24.2% (27.6%), the ABC with 16.4% (15.8%) and SBS with 9.8% (4.3%). Ten won Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide, Nine won Melbourne and Seven won Perth. Nine now leads the week 29.4% to 26.4%. in Regional areas, WIN/NBN(9) won with a 28.2% share from Sthn Cross (10) with 25.6%, Prime/7Qld with 22.6%, The ABC with 14.6% and SBS with 9.0%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: SBS’s Asian Cup soccer clipped audiences from 7 pm to 9.30 in a noticeable fashion and doubled SBS’s audience on a week earlier, so that’s why the share between the three commercial networks was relatively low. But if Seven had shown Forensic at 8.30 pm and not The Master, it may have picked up enough viewers to slip past Nine into second. The Master is a flop looking for an early exit. Tonight it’s David Tench on Ten at 8.30 pm as the interesting newcomer of the week. Nine has a 90 minute Getaway,New Christine has gone, Two and A Half Men are still there insulting viewers, Seven has How I Met Your Mother, My Name is Earl and the debut of Celebrity Survivor which should be a standout performer first up (compared to The Master and You May Be Right on Sunday night). Nine has the Footy Shows at 9.30 pm. Another good night for viewing.

Peter Fray

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