According to ABC News On-line: ”Police say they suspect expert thieves were behind the heist of a $1.4 million 17th-century Dutch masterpiece from the Art Gallery of New South Wales on Sunday”. Who’d have thought it?

Origin a win for Nine and Queensland. Game 2 of State of Origin was a win to Nine and Queensland, but it wasn’t the match result Nine would have been hoping for. 1.967 million watched but that was down from the first game’s 1.982 million. The audience was higher in Sydney, but that wasn’t enough to make up for the 101,000 drop in Melbourne, where the match was on delay instead of live. The fact that the match meant a lot to both sides was reflected in the rise in Sydney (915,000 v 831,000), but curiously, the audience in Brisbane was steady (725,000). Game 3 will see lower audiences in Sydney, but, judging on last night, the outcome in Brisbane is harder to pick — Bananabenders do like a “Bluewash”. Origin is now as big as it will get, at least until NSW improves. Nine and its advertisers cannot realistically expect significantly larger audiences until NSW gets a winning team and even then the audience increase won’t be huge. Origin needs refreshing or re-inventing.

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: State of Origin was of course the most watched program with 1.967 million. Seven News (1.663 million) and Today Tonight (1.605 million) were second and third. Nine News was next, a long way behind with 1.275 million and Home And Away was first at 7pm with 1.247 million. A Current Affair was next with 1.219 million, followed by Temptation (1.182 million), just in front of the 7pm ABC News (1.153 million), then Big Brother (1.141 million). Spicks and Specks fell to 1.139 million with the football on while The Chaser’s War on Everything averaged 1.139 million people. Both programs lost around 350,000 viewers for each program. Seven’s Deal or No Deal averaged 1.049 million at 5.30pm and the Origin post-match chat had 1.042 million in just Brisbane and Sydney. Ten’s House repeat averaged 1.033 million. The pre-match lead up on Nine from 7.30pm averaged 945,000. Seven’s Police Files Unlocked averaged 920,000 at 8pm and Last Chance Learners only had 881,000 at 7.30pm — it was beaten by The 7.30 Report!

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The Losers: Hard to have any losers last night with the State of Origin dominating. Bargain Hunt, the program that replaced Family Feud, is continuing to ease: last night it averaged 494,000 at 5pm while Antiques Roadshow held up with 619,000.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market, as did Today Tonight. The gap between the two Seven programs and their Nine competitors was unusually wide — ACA was particularly weak. Nine just didn’t get any push from State of Origin in Sydney. Today Tonight and The Chaser engaged in a tit for tat last night which on balance The Chaser won. But more people watched TT because The Chaser was up against the football. David Dale from the SMH was interviewed commenting on the way The Chaser “set up” some of its stunts, but the SMH points out this morning that Dale’s comments on the way TT faked some things in the past was missing from the its report last night. Odd that! The 7.30 Report didn’t seem to be impacted by the football, averaging 988,000. Ten News averaged 895,000 viewers; the Late News/Sports Tonight, 562,000. Lateline, 277,000; Lateline Business, 168,000. SBS News, 187,000 at 6.30pm; 197,000 at 9.30pm; Dateline, 203,000. 7am Sunrise down to 394,000; 7am Today was also down to 246,000.

The Stats: Nine won with a share of 37.3% (26.5% a week ago and 36.5% for Origin Game 1) from Seven with 21.8% (26.1% last week and 23.5% for Game 1), Ten with 20.2% (23.0% last week and 19.1% for Game 1), the ABC on 16.3% (19.6% last week and 17.0% for Game 1) and SBS on 4.5% (4.8% last week and 4.0% for Game 1). Nine won Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Seven won Adelaide and Perth. Nine now leads 28.6% to 28.0%. Tonight Nine should sneak home but tomorrow it will be Seven and Saturday is too close to call. In regional areas Nine won through WIN/NBN with 46.7%, Prime/7Qld with 17.8%, Southern Cross (Ten) 17.2%, the ABC on 13.2% and SBS on 5.1%

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Nine showed the AFL Ted Whitten Legends Game in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth from 7.30pm to around 9.30pm when the State Of Origin started on delay. The Whitten game averaged 773,000 viewers, with 552,000 watching in Melbourne, which was the biggest audience in the market. That helped Nine cover up a sharp loss in pre-match viewing for the State of Origin in Sydney and Brisbane. For Game 2 the pre-match was only seen in Sydney and Brisbane and the audience was down 130,000 on Game 1. The post-match wrap-up was also only seen in Sydney and Brisbane and the audience was off sharply. The total drop was 383,000 people (198,000 in Sydney and a surprising 185,000 in Brisbane).

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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