More trouble for Nine: ABC News draws more viewers again. There’s an increasing feeling from the ratings that the Nine Network is having trouble connecting with TV viewers. Monday and Tuesday nights are diabolical and the 6.30pm slot on Sunday nights remains a battle, but the real shock last night was the beating Nine News received at the hands of the ABC’s 7pm News, especially in Melbourne. I know they are different timeslots and more people are available to watch TV at 7pm, but Nine’s 6pm news is supposed to be the kick start for the evening… it isn’t any more. Nine News is heavily promoted each afternoon and it’s supposed to be ingrained viewing (along with Seven) among the TV audience. But Nine is certainly losing that, even in Melbourne. Seven News averaged 1.295 million people nationally (Thursday night has low figures), Nine News had 1.064 million. But at 7pm the ABC News averaged 1.103 million, the biggest margin in its favour for sometime, years perhaps. In Sydney, Nine News averaged 279,000, Seven News had 345,000 and ABC News averaged 334,000. In Melbourne, Nine had 370,000 and easily beat Seven (328,000), but the ABC beat both with 371,000. Now that’s close, but it was a repeat of what happened Wednesday night. If I was running Seven News I’d be looking to stop the rot in Melbourne. Seven News was doing better in the first six to seven months of the year but has really faded since that AFL drug story and the ABC looks to be benefiting. — Glenn Dyer

John Laws’ farewell tour rolls on. The Golden Tonsils is sick and tired of all the bureaucratic bullsh-t… listen to today’s rant here.

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
A win for Seven last night, making it five on the trot and a sixth expected tonight. Are viewers really tuning into Seven, or just moving away from Nine and Ten? Bionic Woman was tops with 1.417 million people (but 173,000 under its debut last week), Home And Away was next with 1.353 million and Today Tonight was next with 1.298 million. Seven News had 1.295 million and Ghost Whisperer continued to do well at 7.30pm with 1.278 million. Nine returned Missing Persons Unit at 8.30pm with 1.198 million. Getaway averaged 1.135 million, followed by Heroes (1.124 million, down 120,000 from last week’s return but still enough to win the timeslot) and the 7pm ABC News (1.103 million), just in front of Temptation (1.100 million). Nine’s new 9.30pm program, The Gift averaged a solid 1.084 million and Ten’s two hours of So You Think You Can Dance averaged 1.073 million. A Current Affair had a low 1.071 million and Nine News had a lower 1.064 million. Law And Order had 967,000 for Ten at 9.30pm. RPA Where Are They Now?, 942,000.

The Losers: None really — a good all round night. Nine News and A Current Affair are a big disappointment for Nine. Nine will blame the low lead-ins, but that’s the network’s problem. You have to grab viewers with good, solid content. Inspector Rex, 381,000 for SBS at 7.30pm. How much longer? SBS was advertising the final series on DVD last night. That’s how old it is!

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Brisbane, at least at 6pm, ABC News was tops in terms of viewers in Melbourne. Ten News averaged 754,000; the Late News/Sports Tonight, 441,000. Nightline, 272,000. The 7.30 Report, 809,000; Lateline, 242,000; Lateline Business, 125,000. SBS News, 157,000 at 6.30pm; 139,000 at 9.30pm. 7am Sunrise 423,000; 7am Today, 294,000 (up).

The Stats: Seven won with 30.5% (32.5 a week earlier) from Nine with 28.5% (27.2%), Ten with 22.7% (22.0%), the ABC with 13.5% (13.8%) and SBS with 4.9% (4.5%). Seven won all metro markets bar Adelaide where Nine surprised. Seven leads the week, 32.3% to 24.3% for Nine. In regional areas a win to prime/7Qld with 30.7% from Nine through WIN/NBN with 28.6%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 21.4%, the ABC with 13.0% and SBS with 6.7%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: It’s not that Nine had poor programming last night, its not that Ten or Seven were compelling viewing so Nine would have expected a bit more from its line up of Getaway, Missing Persons and The Gift. That it got its best share for the week says a lot for the quality of the programming. Nine was let down by the News and A Current Affair which both started underweight and probably cost the network a nice win overall. Still viewing levels were higher than most Thursday nights, which helped. Give viewers choice, and they will flock. Strong programming on Wednesday night made a mess of Pay TV’s share. See what happens when Free To Air TV takes its audience seriously? Nine showed the finale of Sea Patrol in Adelaide last night and that pushed it to a win in that market.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey