Macquarie Radio, not Fairfax, holds Olympic radio rights. The ABC is continuing negotiations with Macquarie Radio for a sub-licence for the radio coverage of the Beijing Olympic Games, not Fairfax Radio as we reported yesterday. Macquarie and the ABC have been negotiating for the best part of 18 months to two years. Macquarie will be taking 49 people to Beijing, but more importantly they have done a deal with the Seven Network, which sold the rights to Macquarie. Seven owned the TV, radio and internet rights for Australia. Macquarie will be taking a feed from Seven, which will give it coverage of all events from the studio, while selected events will be covered by Macquarie callers. The ABC is interested in broadcasting the Games to rural and regional areas, and anywhere else that Macquarie can’t reach. — Glenn Dyer

Flicked cricket boosts Pay TV. Yesterday’s one-day match between India and Sri Lanka was flicked to Pay TV because Nine didn’t want to ruin its primetime ratings, but judging by the network’s poor performance last night, the cricket may have helped. Nine finished a distant second with a 6pm to midnight share of 23.3%, well behind Seven on 31.9%. Nine’s audience was marginally higher last night than a year ago (931,000 to 926,000 from 6pm to 10.29pm), but it had a disaster at 7.30pm called Monster House which averaged just 632,000 viewers. Over on Pay TV the cricket averaged 110,900 viewers from the start of play in the afternoon to the end of the match around 10.15pm. The game wasn’t coded for separate sessions (afternoon and evening) but other figures suggest that the night audience on Fox Sports 3 helped Pay TV boost its viewing numbers in the primetime zone 1 slot of 6pm to 10.29pm. According to figures from Fusion Strategy, Pay TV averaged 764,000 viewers in that slot compared to 649,000 a year ago and lifted share from 13.66% to 15.70%. The upshot is that Nine’s audience was higher than it would have been if it had showed the cricket at night, but it would have had a higher audience during the day session. Just what the advertisers thought is another matter. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: 12 programs with a million or more viewers last night but it seemed to be a softer night all round. Seven News was tops with 1.390 million, Today Tonight was second with 1.355 million and Bondi Rescue was next with 1.345 million. It Takes Two averaged 1.292 million across two hours from 7.30pm, followed by Home and Away, which won the 7pm slot (1.256 million), the 7pm ABC News (1.256 million), All Saints (1.164 million), Nine News (1.152 million), A Current Affair (1.114 million), The Biggest Loser (1.114 million), Women’s Murder Club (1.037 million) and The Sarah Connor Chronicles (1.009 million).

The Losers: Monster House with 632,000 viewers from 7.30pm, down from the poor 793,000 last week. That helped knock 50,000 viewers from The Sarah Connor Chronicles. And CSI Miami disappeared almost without a trace, 635,000, without Melbourne where Kitchen Nightmares aired with 337,000, so less than a million at 9.30pm and easy meat for All Saints on Seven. Two And A Half Men (878,000 at 7pm) is still sending the “don’t look here for entertainment” message to viewers.

News & CA: Seven News won nationally, but reverted to form and lost Melbourne. However, Today Tonight again won every market. Both programs were easily ahead of Nine News and ACA. The 7pm ABC News had more viewers nationally than Nine and beat both Nine and Seven in Melbourne. Ten News averaged 850,000; the Late News/Sports Tonight, 406,000. Nightline, 266,000. The 7.30 Report averaged 981,000 and easily beat the first half hour of Nine’s Monster House. Lateline, 245,000; Lateline Business, 122,000. SBS News, 165,000 at 6.30pm; 173,000 at 9.30pm. 7am Sunrise 404,000; 7 am Today, 286,000 (both back to normal after Monday’s dip).

The Stats: In the 6pm to 11.59pm prime time, Seven won with 31.6% (32.0%) from Nine with 23.3% (24.4%), Ten with 23.2% (22.9%), the ABC with 16.6% (16.0%) and SBS with 5.3% (4.7%). Seven won all five metro markets and now leads the week 28.2% to 26.4% for Nine. In regional areas a big win to Seven (they like talent quests) with Prime/7Qld on 36.2%, WIN/NBN on 22.6%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 20.1%, the ABC with 15.9% and SBS with 5.3%. In the Zone 1 6pm to 10.29pm slot Seven won with a lower share than last year. It averaged 26.37% compared with 32.53% last year. Ten was second with 19.94%, Nine was third with 19.14%, Pay TV was next with 15.70%, the ABC had 14.06% and SBS finished with 4.19%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Another night where the echoes of 2007 emerged. Tuesday was Seven’s best night of the week last year, followed by Mondays. And that’s what we seem to have again this year. Seven’s Tuesday night programs, especially It Takes Two, are down on last year, but Nine has another black hole emerging. Monster House should be gone within a few days after its slump at 7.30pm — 4th in that timeslot is not good enough. Bondi Rescue had 1.345 million for Ten at 8pm last night. It was the most watched program in Melbourne with 470,000 (beach envy?). It was actually the only program last night with over 400,000 viewers. A simple show now in its third season and a David Gyngell idea for Ten when he was in the wilderness. Pity he forgot the message. In terms of cost versus ratings and viewer appeal, it would be very high. Tonight its Underbelly at 8.30pm everywhere but Melbourne. Will it lift or fade? Nine has slipped the Cashmere Mafia into the 9.30pm to hold any women from Underbelly and attract new ones. But after the reality of Underbelly, Cashmere Mafia is fairy floss. It is as bad as Women’s Murder Club but without the suds of Dirty S-xy Money. Tonight Chopping Block also appears. It is hanging in there but host Catriona Rowntree isn’t helping. She hasn’t made the transition from Getaway reporter to stand alone host very well.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports, Fusion Strategy

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey