Seven still number one in TV despite Eddie’s boasts. Boasting is all the rage in TV; all the networks do it, even the ABC and SBS. But there’s nothing more triumphant than the gloat from Nine or Seven in the annual ratings battle. Yesterday Nine said it was The One; it has won 20 weeks this year (including the last ten in a row) and could not be beaten. Seven Network has won nine weeks while Ten has won one. And yet, Seven says it will be decided on audience share gains or losses. For the year, Nine claims to be leading nationally with a total audience share of 29.4% of all people compared to Seven’s 27.8% and Ten’s 22.4%. And so it is, if you include the ABC, SBS, and the Commonwealth Games. But in TV and advertising ratings analysis, one-off events like the Commonwealth Games are stripped out and forgotten (and wouldn’t Nine like to forget the Games with losses of $40 million or more on the coverage). Advertisers also ignore the figures for the ABC and SBS and concentrate on commercial share between Nine, Seven and Ten. On commercial share in all people from 6pm to midnight, Seven is in front with a 35.6% share to Nine with 35.5% and Ten with 28.8%. Seven and Ten have lifted their shares from a year ago, Nine is down. More importantly Seven is now more profitable than Nine. Commercial TV is all about making money and Seven won’t care where it comes so long as it makes more money (and preferably more money than Nine), which it is what it is doing. That’s why Seven is number one in TV. — Glenn Dyer

Seven needs to halt 6pm news slide. The Seven Network is looking at dropping its 4.30pm national news as an option to try and boost the audience figures for the 6pm News. It probably won’t happen: there are strong believers in the idea of a 4.30pm news within Seven news management, but it’s an indication of how much the roles are reversing in the 6pm news battle between Seven and Nine. Nine has come back in a big way, especially in Sydney. Some people at Seven feel the 4.30pm News is undermining the 6pm broadcasts but when Seven was well in front of Nine last year and early this year, the 4.30pm bulletin wasn’t seen as a problem but as a way of enticing people to stay with the network and watch. The lead-in isn’t a problem for Seven: Deal or No Deal is garnering well over 800,000 viewers from 5.30pm and is still well ahead of Bert’s Family Feud. There’s also a feeling in Sydney that the new contract to give Ian Ross Friday nights off from reading duties hasn’t worked. Chris Bath is reading the news Friday through Sunday nights and has been doing a good job, but in the past month or so Nine’s Friday night news has done better. Seven News is winning the national battle most nights because of its usually large winning margin in Perth. Seven also does well in Adelaide but the performance in Sydney and Melbourne has dropped off as Nine has fought back. The interesting thing is that the Nine fightback was engineered partly by people the current management of Nine didn’t want: Mark Llewellyn as News and Current Affairs boss and Tony Ritchie as the Sydney news boss. Both were flicked by Eddie McGuire and his Park Street masters because they were appointments of Sam Chisholm. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings

The Winners: There’s nothing like the attraction of, well… AFL footballers in suits, or their partners in frocks. Or was it the carnival that the Brownlow Medal presentation has become these days: a sort of AFL version of the Logies, the Emmys or Oscars. Lots of blokes and more importantly lots of attractive women showing plenty of flesh. Whatever it is it’s a potent mixture and when you can combine it with the kitsch of Australian Idol, it turns out to be a ratings goldmine, as it was for the Ten Network last night. But the Brownlow wasn’t the most watched program last night; Grey’s Anatomy on Seven was with 1.516 million. Australian Idol was second at 7.30 pm with 1.453 million. Nine’s A Current Affair was next with 1.437 million, Seven News was fourth with 1.434 million, Home and Away was next with 1.385 million, ahead of Nine News on 1.383 million. Today Tonight was seventh with 1.354 million, Temptation was eighth with 1.307 million, Nine’s 7.30 pm filler, The Kings of Comedy, was ninth with 1.240 million and the final Cold Case of the year was tenth with 1.106 million. Then we get to the Brownlow: 11th nationally with 1.099 million viewers: that was from 8.30 pm onwards for Ten. It wasn’t live in Sydney or Brisbane (the replay started at 11.15 pm). But it was the number one program in Melbourne and Adelaide and the third most watched in Perth after Seven News and TT. After that we had The Great Outdoors on Seven with 1.091 million, Four Corners had its best outing for the year with a good story on The Exclusive Brethren. It averaged 1.062 million; Criminal Minds on Seven at 9.30 pm did 1.047 million and the 7pm ABC News 1.036 million viewers. It was the 15th program with a million or more viewers last night.

The Losers: Bert’s Family Feud down to 520,000 on Monday evening: that was low, especially as Deal or No Deal on Seven was on 868,000 viewers and Ten News at Five averaged 946,000, about average. Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope was down sharply at 770,000 with an interview with Raelene Boyle which should have gone to air a fortnight ago, but was bumped because of Steve Irwin’s death. Australian Story was also weak on 651,000. So we had the very odd circumstance last night of Four Corners being the most popular program for the ABC. Nine ran dead late in the evening after Cold Case with The Midsomer Murders movie (505,000). The AFL live broadcast in southern states meant Ten’s schedule was fragmented with programs in Sydney and Brisbane filling the gap (just as Nine used Midsomer Murders).

News & CA: Seven News won nationally by 51,000 and 117,000 in Perth and only won Adelaide and Perth. Nine News won Sydney (by just 1,000)and scored big wins in Melbourne and Brisbane. A Current Affair was an easy winner over Today Tonight, winning Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. TT won Adelaide and Perth. Ten News and the ABC averaged around normal for a Monday evening, Four Corners‘ strength meant Media Watch averaged a high 835,000, meaning a turn-off to Enough Rope. Seven’s Sunrise beat Today 430,000 to 249,000 from 7 am and 259,000 to 143,000 from 6 am.

The Stats: Ten won the night with a share of 29.1% (22.5% a week ago) from Seven with 26.7% (30.1%), Nine with 23.1% (24.1%), the ABC with 14.4% (16.3%) and SBS with 6.6% (7.0%). Seven won Sydney and Brisbane, Ten won Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth because of the Brownlow. Nine leads the week 29.2% to 26.3%. In regional areas no influence from the Brownlow. Nine affiliates, WIN/NBN won with 29.5% share, from Prime/7Qld with 24.1%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 23.9%, the ABC with 15.4% and SBS with 7.1%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Another year of frocks and blokes and now for the Grand Fin on Saturday and the NRL game on Sunday. It’s nice having a whole weekend devoted to the Festival Of The Boot, to quote Roy Slaven and HG Nelson. Tonight it’s another version of the Festival with Dancing With The Stars returning at 7.30 pm for Seven. Have we exhausted our love of celebrity toe tumbling? It’s certainly safer than Nine’s Dancing on Ice and more interesting than Seven’s Celebrity Survivor. Nine has a repeat of CSI and then a new ep of The Closer, Ten has The Wedge and Real Stories, the ABC has Two Men In A Tinnie (or Grumpy Old Men Down the Murray!)

Peter Fray

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