Aussie soaps in the UK: Home and Away is a goldmine too. Last week’s news of a switch in the UK broadcasting rights for Aussie soap, Neighbours, from the BBC to Five has got analysts working out what it means for other programs. Seven’s Home and Away has emerged as a goldmine for the network, though not quite as juicy as the new Neighbours deal. Seven also sells Home and Away to Five and the UK network plans to run them back to back in the early evening, which will deliver more viewers to Home And Away. Seven gets a gross $22 million a year for the program, plus an escalation amount which is understood to have started kicking in recently. Southern Star, the subsidiary of Southern Cross broadcasting, gets around 15% of that amount for handling the fee but Seven sources say what is left over easily covers most of the production costs. That means the millions a year in ad revenues the soap earns at 7pm (with its domination of the attractive 16 to 39 age group) is a very tasty profit for Seven. — Glenn Dyer

Age gives quality the bird. The Age‘s transformation from respected print broadsheet to cutting edge purveyor of high-end online content proceeds apace. Regular readers of its web pages will be familiar with its extensive video offerings, a sub section of the website that early today featured a brace of titles aimed, clearly, at enhancing the masthead’s reputation for profound analysis and reasoned reflection, viz: ”Sexperts: coming out”, ”Sexy lingerie tips”, ”Wacky Japanese toilet fun”, ”Belly laughs” and ”Surfing rats”. But it is in the ”news” sub category of The Age video collection that we find perhaps the most ambitious essay into the full possibilities of new media. Here under a further sub-category menu item ”In Depth” we find content that shows just what can be achieved when the full resources of a significant media player are deployed to expand the possibilities of the on-line milieu. It is here that we find the 1.01 minute presentation of ”Flappy’s Last Days”. This appears to be phone video of a sick pigeon in a box and is presumably the work of the paper’s full investigative unit. By late morning it had vanished from the Age site, but as a true pillar of quality journalism the Sydney Morning Herald still had it. — Jonathan Green

Viewers tune in for Wilkinson’s Today debut. Viewers tuned into watch Lisa Wilkinson’s Today show debut yesterday: early Today‘s audience lifted from around the 120,000 mark to 145,000 (early Sunrise had 193,000) and for the main show from 7am to 9am, 270,000 viewers tuned in on average, a little higher than normal but not as much as the boost given by Sarah O’Hare’s first morning last December when more than 320,000 people tuned in. (7am Sunrise averaged a solid 417,000 viewers yesterday morning). Wilkinson should settle in nicely and bring a bit of class to the network’s meandering morning program. Hopefully Nine will now grasp the nettle and look long and hard at both the format of Today and the role of the co-host Karl Stefanovic who needs to be subjected to the same strict performance criteria as his female hosts over the past three to four years. — Glenn Dyer

Nine gives The Code another try. The Nine Network has renamed its “rested” police reality series The Code and has dropped it into its Tuesday night line-up to do something for its tragic ratings performance. The new name is Crime and Justice and it is being teamed with a New Zealand “factual reality” program called Neighbours At War— Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: A solid win to Seven last night and an improved performance by Nine (compared to the week before). That was Monday night. Seven News averaged 1.689 million in a solid performance; Today Tonight was second with 1.567 million and Desperate Housewives continued its recent rebound with 1.466 million people. A Current Affair had 1.337 million, Nine News got 1.312 million, Seven’s The Rich List won at 7.30pm with 1.302 million and Eddie McGuire’s 1 vs 100 averaged 1.261 million with a start around 8.40pm. Nine’s 7.30 program, What’s Good For You, had its best night for some weeks averaging 1.254 million people. Seven’s Home and Away won the 7pm slot for Seven with 1.277 million, in front of Temptation (Nine), with 1.156 million. Deal or No Deal was next with 1.056 million viewers at 5.30pm, the 7pm ABC News was 12th with 1.044 million with the Big Brother Live Nomination Ten’s best at 7.30pm with 1.012 million. Seven’s Brothers and Sisters averaged 1.006 million around a 9.40 start and was the final program with a million or more viewers. The 7pm Big Brother averaged 996,000 people, Supernatural on Ten, 853,000 around 8.30pm.

The Losers: No really noticeable losers except Nine’s repeat of CSI around 9.40 after 1 vs 100 averaged 924,000 and was beaten by Enough Rope (942,000) on the ABC and Brothers and Sisters on Seven. Ten’s Big Brother isn’t setting the world on fire.

News & CA: Seven News and Today Tonight won nationally but both lost Melbourne again to Nine News and ACA. The 7.30 Report averaged 846,000 after the ABC News had topped the million mark. Four Corners averaged 822,000, Media Watch, 740,000. Lateline, 323,000, Lateline Business, 116,000. Ten News At Five, 905,000, Late News/Sports Tonight, 351,000. Nine’s Nightline, 291,000. World News Australia, 213,000 at 6.30 pm, 159,000 at 9.30 pm. 7am Sunrise, 417,000, 7am Today, 270,000.

The Stats: Seven won with 30.8% (29.6% last week) from Nine with 27.0% (25.5%), Ten was third with 19.4% (19.5%), the ABC was on 16.0% (18.1%) and SBS finished with 6.8% (7.4%). Seven won Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth: Nine won Brisbane. Seven now leads the week 29.5% to 29.2%. In regional areas a very different result with Nine winning through WIN/NBN with 31.8%, Prime/7Qld finished with 27.7%, Southern Cross (Ten), with 18.2%, the ABC with 14.4% and SBS was on 7.9%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Seven moved back into the lead and will hold it until the end of the week. Seven will add to its lead tonight, its strongest night of the week. It might sound like a broken record but Nine’s biggest problem is gaining enough traction by interesting viewers in watching, then staying for the night. Tonight it will be It takes Two on Seven for two hours after a solid showing by Home And Away at 7 pm, topped off by a good showing by All Saints around 9.30pm. Ten has NCIS which will go up against CSI New York at 8.30pm. Nine has a repeat of The Castle at 9.30pm. Does that mean there is nothing in the vault worth showing, apart from yet another repeat of a nice Aussie movie (and on a weeknight when movies don’t really grab viewers)? With the changes tonight you can at least say Nine is trying, rather than running dead as it has most Tuesday nights this year.

Peter Fray

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