Seven’s National Bingo Night isn’t actually a bingo night at all: Your bingo numbers didn’t come up last night? I’m not surprised. Just when you thought you’ve seen it all on the small screen, television reached a new low when Channel Seven launched its deceptive and misleading National Bingo Night program. It’s the bingo night that isn’t actually a bingo night at all. A quick look through the terms and conditions reveals a totally different story. The show is pre-recorded and its only then that the “gamecards” used for viewers to mark off their numbers are printed to ensure that a set number of “winners” are generated. The promoters have used loophole’s in state trade promotion laws to avoid revealing the total number “gamecards” to be issued or made available, so the exact odds of winning a prize is unknown. But if you consider that one “gamecard” will be issued with every News Limited Sunday daily paper and that up to ten are available to download for every recipient of a Channel Seven signal, then we are looking at several million. Just 1002 prizes of $100 and one prize of $10,000 are to be won on the opening episode. Promoters refuse to reveal to OnThePunt the total number of “gamecards” issued, but we think you’re odds (assuming all “gamecards” are distributed) of picking up $100 being somewhere between 1 in 15,000 and 1 in 100,000. Our advice: don’t waste your time! — by managing director Mark Cridland

Seven launches C7 appeal. The Seven Network has appealed against Justice Ron Sackville’s decision in the C7 case. The TV Network, which had all its claims comprehensively rejected by Justice Sackville in his decision earlier in the year, lodged the appeal in the Federal Court this morning. As suggested in Crikey on Friday, Seven has based its appeal on Section 45 of the Trade Practices Act and the definition and importance of a market for Pay TV. Seven’s appeal centres on the definition of a Pay TV market. There are contradictory comments in Justice Sackville’s judgement and Seven is looking to exploit this in its appeal. The question is whether there was an “agreement” to destroy C7, which would be in breach of Section 45 of the TPA. That is in dispute, judging from comments at the time of the judgement earlier in the year. The appeal will cost a bit more money but Kerry Stokes is paying 40.7% of the cost. Seven shares were off 11c at midday at $12.71 in a down market. — Glenn Dyer

Free publicity threatens to bring down Chaser website. For the first time that I can remember an Australian TV program has been taken down from its host broadcaster’s website because it was too popular. The Chaser‘s tasteless song on dead personalities from last week’s ep was the culprit. By late Friday the flood of people wanting to download it was proving too much, so the decision was taken to remove the ep from the site to stop the system from going down but it’s back up now. The near crash of the website came almost two days after the program and the song went to air, and shows just how much free publicity has been generated as Neil Mitchell, Steve Price, Today Tonight, A Current Affair, John Howard and anyone else with an axe to grind burst into print or onto the airwaves. — Glenn Dyer

Nine improves but Seven wins another week. A better week for the Nine Network last week — at least it won a night (Saturday) after not being successful at all the week before. Seven won five nights and Ten had one (Wednesday). Overall Seven won 30.0% (31.6% a week earlier) from Nine with 25.7% (24.5%), Ten with 20.8% (21.5%), the ABC with 18.4% (17.5%) and SBS with 5.1% (4.8%). Seven won all five metro markets. Seven was a narrow winner on Friday, 28.6% to 28.5% for Nine. The ABC was third, followed by Ten, while Nine won Saturday with 26.7% to 24.2% for Seven and 24.0% for the ABC. So it was a poor end to the week for Ten, but at least it had more programs in the Top 20 national programs than Nine. Seven was out in front with 13 programs, the ABC had four, Ten had two and Nine only one, the 6pm Sunday news. House and My Name Is Earl were the only overseas programs in the top 20 and the last ep of Seven’s first series of Kath and Kim was the most watched program with 2.338 million people. In the 6pm news battle Seven came in at No.7 nationally, Nine News was down at No.31. Today Tonight was 10th on the most watched list, ACA was No.35. The big change this week will be the return of a longer Millionaire tonight at 7pm. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Seven’s new program, National Bingo Night was the most watched program with 1.561 million from 6.30pm to 8pm, a clever programming move. The Kath and Kim repeat from the first series of the ABC version was second with 1.484 million on average (it lost the second quarter hour to the worm). Seven News clearly outpointed Nine with 1.423 million and 60 Minutes and the worm were next with 1.422 million. Australian Idol averaged 1.357 million from 7.30pm to 9pm, followed by Nine News (1.208 million), the 7pm ABC News (1.183 million), Rove (1.166 million), Ten’s repeat of Thank God You’re Here (1.030 million) and the ABC News update averaged 924,000. The ABC’s wormless coverage of the debate averaged 909,000.

The Losers: The worm might helped Nine last night but its new programming from 6.30 to 7.30pm is dead in the water. Singing Bee won’t be back in any form next year after its audience slipped to 887,000 at 6.30pm. That was third behind Seven’s Bingo and Ten’s repeat of Thank God. Dirty Jobs at 7pm was an even bigger calamity for Nine, its audience falling to 650,000. That made it fourth, easily beaten by the ABC 7pm News. Seven ran dead at 8.30pm and showed a piece of Aussie boosterism that went to air on a US cable network. Australia Revealed, voiced by Russell Crowe (that well known former Kiwi actor!) averaged 841,000. It was fourth for a while after 8.30pm but it didn’t matter as Seven still won the night.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Melbourne where Nine won clearly. 60 Minutes and the worm had the top audience in Sydney and equal top in Melbourne (with the K&K repeat on Seven). Ten News averaged 675,000. SBS News, 228,000 at 6.30pm. In the morning, Weekend Sunrise easily ahead with 422,000. Landline on the ABC had 305,000 (and an excellent story on recycled water at Coffs Harbour in NSW); Sunday, 222,000 (it has had no lift from bringing Ray Martin in except adding a bit of cred to the program). Insiders was close with 210,000. Inside Business at 10am 101,000; Offsiders at 10.30am (with Barry Cassidy away), 121,000 and Ten’s Meet The Press, 116,000. There is a definite interest in politics this time round, from the worm to Insiders and MTP, but not Sunday!

The Stats: Seven won with 27.2% (29.3% last Sunday) from Nine with 26.9% (27.4%), Ten with 24.7% (22.4%), the ABC with 16.1% (16.7%), and SBS with 5.1% (4.4%). Nine won Sydney, Melbourne, but lost Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. in regional areas a bigger win to Seven through Prime/7Qld with 30.1%, from WIN/NBN for Nine with 25.7%, Southern Cross for Ten with 21.3%, the ABC with 16.4% and SBS with 6.5%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: 60 Minutes should take a big lesson from the worm: serious stuff can rate if done well. It’s also a message for Nine News and Current Affairs boss, John Westacott and his Sydney news boss, Ian Cook, who spent a long time working on staff from rival Seven News at the Andrew Olle memorial lecture in Sydney on Friday night. Tonight though Nine goes backwards with the first of six 90 minute eps of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Why would viewers who watch Home and Away, Border Security and The Force on Seven or repeats of Futurama and Idol on Ten or the ABC switch over to Eddie? City Homicide stands out tonight as does the Helen Mirren interview on Enough Rope at 9.35pm.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports

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