Seven goes for “uncluttered” approach to Kath and Kim ads. The Seven Network is going for a less is more approach to making money from its expensive Kath and Kim franchise which it snatched away from the ABC two months ago at a cost well in excess of $5 million. The SMH has details of a plan by the network to drop 15 second ads during Kath and Kim in favour of longer ads of 30 second or more. According to the SMH: “Seven launched a clutter-reducing trial on Home & Away two years ago to mixed reactions from media buyers. Although fewer but longer ads in commercial breaks make easier viewing, media buyers remain reluctant to endorse the concept to advertising clients because each spot costs more.” And that’s the key: the spread of 15 second ads came as the networks scrambled over each other to sell space to advertisers and their buyers who were able to demand greater frequency at reduced or steady rates (which provides a drop in the cost). Now that Seven has a hot property like Kath and Kim (and a few others in its portfolio) and a pretty full ad schedule, it can tell advertisers of the new rules, the effective rise in cost, and get away with it. If Seven could find one or two big advertisers to sponsor the entire series then it would be tempted to cut the ad content even further. Commercially this has to work for Seven, so the right structure to maximise the audience isn’t to go for ad overkill but to pull back. — Glenn Dyer

More tabloid TV hypocrisy. It’s hard to believe but the lead story on the Nine’s A Current Affair last night was all about the grand final of Seven’s Dancing With the Stars. Today Tonight also led with a story about Dancing, but that’s understandable: the final was watched by an average 2.199 million people for the two and three quarter hours, pushing Seven to a big win on the night and ensuring that Seven will beat Nine for the 12th week in a row. But it’s also a bit hard to understand that another story on Today Tonight was the appearance of Ten Network chat show host, Rove McManus, on Jay Leno’s program in the US. All this publicity for programs and stars on other networks! The ACA story was an attempt to undermine Seven and Dancing With The Stars by insinuating something underhand had happened to produce Kate Cerbrano’s win over Fifi Box. And what was amazing was ACA‘s claim that the voting was secret and that not all the money from the phone calls/SMS went to charity. When Nine ventured into celebrity performance style programs last year with the forgettable Dancing on Ice I don’t remember Nine releasing details of the SMS voting, nor the amount of money that went to charity. Nor do I remember Nine or its PBL stablemate at ACP Magazines, TV Week, releasing any details on the viewer voting for the Logies. In fact if ACA and its sluggish production team had their wits about them they would be investigating the Logies voting and calling for more disclosure: all in the name of even-handedness. Today Tonight had the last laugh on ACA last night, winning by 238,000 viewers nationally, 1.469 million to 1.231 million. — Glenn Dyer 

Online media not so dumb. Sometimes the media is stupid – but not quite as stupid as Media Watch likes to make it appear. The folk over at Ninemsn are feeling a bit peeved, not to say fleeced (ha ha) by the ABC’s media watchdog this week. It’s all about a Media Watch story last Monday exposing yet another sad and sorry saga of the mainstream media falling for an internet hoax – in this case the risible claim that Japanese people had been sold Australian sheep in the belief that they were poodles. The story that caused the fuss is here. As Media Watch rightly pointed out, just about everyone, including most metro daily newspapers and Alan Jones, fell for the hoax. But what Media Watch didn’t make clear is that the mainstream media also corrected itself. A savvy Japanese speaking reporter at Ninemsn suspected the story was a dog, did the research and wrote this comprehensive debunking just hours after the hoax got a run. News.com.au also had a story casting doubt on the claims. Other outlets, including Yahoo7, also ran pieces debunking the story, but none of these efforts to correct the story were mentioned in the Media Watch report. A Ninemsn insider comments that Media Watch producers “either weren’t watching the media very closely, or decided to conveniently ignore these other reports, in order to portray Media Watch as the only media program with any integrity or insight. Either way, I’d suggest it’s the kind of omission they’d be willing to stick the boot in over.” The producer of Media Watch, Tim Palmer, said he thought it was “a bit rich” for Ninemsn to be indignant over having made an error which “should have embarrassed any half decent news service.” Palmer said that Media Watch had not singled out the news services, such as the ABC, which had checked the story before running it and canned it as a result. “If I had run something like that I would be highly embarrassed, not indignant,” Palmer said. — Margaret Simons

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: A narrow win to Nine that resulted from Seven’s weaker programming in two key timeslots 7.30pm-8.00pm and at 9.30pm-11.30pm. But the big story was again the performance of the ABC between 8.30pm and 9.30pm. This week it was The Chaser at 9pm with 1.363 million ahead of Spicks And Specks, 1.352 million, which placed them third and fourth nationally. Out-rated everything but Seven News (1.572 million and top spot) and Today Tonight (second with 1.469 million viewers). After the ABC duo came Nine’s McLeod’s Daughters with 1.242 million at 7.30pm, A Current Affair with 1.231 million at 6.30 pm, and Nine News with 1.229 million. The Big Brother Wild Card ep at 7.30pm averaged 1.205 million. Home and Away averaged 1.173 million and Ten’s repeat of House at 8.30pm had 1.168 million, just beating the fresh ep of Nine’s Cold Case in the same slot with 1.147 million. Seven’s 8pm program, Police Files Unlocked averaged 1.101 million and the network’s 8.30pm program, Heroes, was 4th in the timeslot with 1.097 million people. The New Inventors on the ABC averaged 1.071 million, its second time above a million viewers this series. The 7pm ABC News was also above a million with 1.056 million viewers; Nine’s Without A Trace averaged 1.037 million at 9.30pm; Big Brother at 7pm, 1.036 million; Temptation, 1.028 million. The 7.30 Report had another solid audience, averaging 1.017 million people. 
 
The Losers: Seven’s learner driver program at 7.30pm, Last Chance Learners, 894,000. Viewers are giving up on it. Prison Break at 9.30pm, 884,000. Likewise. Seven’s 24 at 10.30pm, 396,000, easily beaten by Extreme Makeover on Nine (590,000). The Catch Up on Nine at 1pm, down to 106,000, tragic, it’s dying in front of our eyes now that Dr Phil has gone to Ten where it was discovered by fans yesterday and rated 217,000 people. Nine’s Midday program, the hour long Fresh, 103,000, up 3,000 on Tuesday. Day of Our  Lives, 123,000. The Catch Up is now isolated with no lead-in to help lift viewers.

News & CA: Seven News and Today Tonight both won nationally by large margins but lost Melbourne. Ten News, 837,000; the Late News/Sports Tonight, 479,000. Nine’s Nightline, 248,000. Lateline, 310,000; Lateline Business, 128,000. SBS Dateline, 231,000; SBS News, 203,000 at 6.30pm; 195,000 at 9.30pm. 7am Sunrise, 412,000; 7am Today, 226,000.
 
The Stats: Nine won with 26.6% (27.8%) from Seven on 26.2% (26.5%), Ten with 23.5% (21.9%), the ABC on 18.7% (unchanged) and SBS with 4.9% (5.2%). Nine won three markets, Seven won Brisbane and Perth. Seven leads the week with 31.0% to 26.4% for Nine. In regional areas a win to Nine with WIN/NBN on 29.3% from Prime/7Qld with 25.8%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 22.6% the ABC with 17.1% and SBS with 5.2%.
 
Glenn Dyer’s comments: A competitive night with good choice for viewers, who after watching the news and 6.30pm shows, split and went their own way across all channels. Some weak points for Nine to exploit in coming weeks now the ratings monster known at Dancing With The Stars isn’t in the schedule. Tonight, Nine runs an NRL game at 8.30pm (its the City-Country game) in Sydney and Brisbane. No NRL Footy Show. The AFL one is on in southern states. Nine also has Getaway at 7.30pm and in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth it’s Missing Persons Unit at 8.30pm. Ten has Jamie’s Chef, then two Law and Orders, SVU and CI. Seven has How I Met Your Mother, Earl, Lost and The Amazing Race and the ABC has Sigourney Weaver revisiting the Big Apes of Rwanda. Inspector Rex is on SBS at 7.30pm (repeat).