The Herald Sun in words and pictures: The Herald Sun, obviously concerned that its readers were becoming confused by the Office of Police Integrity hearings, devoted its entire Page 5 to this pictorial explainer (click to enlarge):

We eagerly await the foreign debt crisis explained through the magic of finger puppets … broadband policy as interpreted by balloon animals etc.

Aunty corners Conroy on kids channel funding. Our ABC isn’t averse to playing the political game when it comes to money. Last weekend, Communications Minister Helen Coonan thought she could score a point or two with the ABC luvvies by whipping out an $84 million offer to fund a new ABC digital channel for kids starting next year… if the election result goes the Coalition’s way. But the ABC knows a sucker when it sees one and yesterday issued a statement saying that the new channel would be starting next April — provided the government (whoever that is) approves:

The ABC plans to have a dedicated free-to-air children’s TV channel on air by April 2008, providing commercial-free children’s programming.

The ABC has welcomed the Government’s commitment to provide $82 million over four years to fund the channel, which is a joint proposal put forward by both the ABC and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation. The ALP is also considering the proposal.

ABC Director of Television, Kim Dalton, speaking from the Screen Producers Association of Australia Conference on the Gold Coast, said ABC3, as the new channel will be known, will be a tremendous addition to the entertainment choices available to Australian families…

Mr Dalton said, “Provided the funds are approved by government soon after the election, we will be on air by April 2008.”

I wonder what the ALP feels about that, and what its media spokesman, Stephen Conroy, thinks about this blatant attempt to lock him and his party into supporting Coonan’s policy. The ALP would need to have rocks in their head to oppose this, and the ABC bosses know that and are captalising on it. There’s a media policy debate between Conroy and Coonan on Monday, but the media is off the radar in this election. — Glenn Dyer

Murdoch trust tops up the coffers. The Murdoch family trust sold about 17.5 million Class A News Corp shares in a block sale, the company said yesterday. The proceeds of the sale are “for the benefit of the trust and its beneficiaries,” which include News Corp Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch and his children. The shares were sold at $US20.20 ($A22.84), netting the trust about $US353.5 million. The sale was part of the family’s normal financial planning, according to the company. 

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
Missing Person’s Unit was the top program on the night with 1.396 million and Ten’s final ep of So You Think You Can Dance had 1.282 million. Seven News was next with 1.248 million, followed by Home And Away (1.224 million), Today Tonight (1.171 million), Ghost Whisperer (1.159 million), The Gift (1.097 million), A Current Affair (1.081 million), Nine News (1.055 million) and Getaway (1.009 million). Temptation averaged 993,000, RPA: Where Are They Now? was on 975,000 and Ten’s Law And Order averaged 924,000.

The Losers: Difference of Opinion had its lowest audience so far, 254,000. The topic for conversation was privatisation, why couldn’t it have been on voting or something to give the program relevance and currency? Seven’s Heroes (870,000) and Bionic Woman (977,000) are fading from view. For the second night in a row dud performances from Seven in the 8.30pm to 10.30pm slots cost it the night.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market. Nine News was weak in Sydney falling under 300,000. Today Tonight depended on its big margin in Perth to best ACA nationally after losing Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Were viewers discontented by TT‘s over emphasis on The Chaser the night before? Ten News averaged 743,000; the Late News/Sports Tonight, 434,000. Nightline, 311,000. The 7.30 Report, 845,000; Lateline, 218,000; Lateline Business, 93,000. SBS News, 151,000 at 6.30pm; SBS, 169,000 at 9.30pm. 7am Sunrise, 399,000, 7am Today 279,000.

The Stats: Nine won with a share of 30.0% (28.9%); from Seven with 27.4% (26.0%), Ten with 24.8% (23.0%), the ABC, 13.1% (17.6%) and SBS 4.7% (4.6%). Nine won everywhere bar Perth. Seven lead the week 29.1% to 27.3% for Nine. In regional areas a closer result with WIN/NBN on 30.0% for Nine, Prime/7Qld on 29.0% for Seven, Southern Cross (Ten), on 22.7%, the ABC with 12.5% and SBS on 5.8%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: A typical late season Thursday night: Seven coasting, Nine battling away, Ten peddling hard in 18 to 49 and the ABC meandering. Difference of Opinion is will be put down at the end of this season, it can’t come too quickly. Seven’s coasting lost it the night, not Nine’s better programming. Seven knows it has the year won; and the week won after the usual big wins on Monday and Tuesday. For tonight and the weekend, all I will say is that there’s the cricket, New Tricks and Rove with Kev07 on Sunday night. Rudd said no to Offsiders and its 190,000 viewers in favour of Rove and around 1.2 million viewers centred in the 18 to 49 group. No contest really at the start of the last week of the campaign.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports 

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey