Radio ratings: Alan Jones and 2GB were the big losers in Sydney in the second radio ratings survey of 2008, reversing the gains the made in the first survey. 2GB shed 1.6 to 12.7 from 14.3 in the first survey, with Jones off as well, down a big 2.6 to 16.5 from 19.1. Mornings with Ray Hadley also lost, off 2.5 to 156.3 and there were smaller falls through the rest of the schedule. The big winner in Sydney was FM music station, 2Day which added 1.2 to 11.0 and was by far the major winner. The only other move of note up was the 0.8 share added by ABC Classic Music FM to 2.5. That put it ahead of its ABC stablemates in news Radio (1.6) and Radio national (1.7). Fairfax’s 2UE lost a tiny bit of ground, 0.1 to 6.2 The big loser on 2UE was breakfast with Mike Carlton and Sandy Aloisi who shed 0.9 to 5.9. ABC 702 Breakfast in Sydney added 0.4 to 11.3 but 702 lost ground overall with a drop of 0.3 to a 10.0 share. In Melbourne Fairfax’s 3AW added 0.3 in the survey to average 15.2. Breakfast on 3AW shed 2.2 to 10.0 but mornings with Neil Mitchell added 2 to 18.4. ABC Local Radio’s 774 lost 0.9 to 11.4 overall in survey. Breakfast was steady on 14.3 and mornings lost 0.2 to 12.0. Fox FM added 0.4 to 12.9 overall to run second to 3AW. 774 was third. — Glenn Dyer

Price on the big issues — blonde v brunette: 2UE’s Steve Price seems to hail from the Westacott School For the Advancement of Women in the Workforce. Listen here to the five minute grilling he gives Channel Seven weekend newsreader Chris Bath on her hair colour, bookended by his listener pop quiz — would you rather watch a blonde woman read the TV news than a brunette? Another leap forward for equality in the workforce.

Daylight savings mystery: WA is currently in the second year of a three year trial of daylight saving. It will be put to a referendum after the trial. There is a significant and vocal anti-daylight saving lobby in WA. That is not surprising as West Australians seem to be anti anything which changes the status quo — daylight saving, extended shopping hours, high rise on the foreshore, development on the Swan River, a new football stadium. One of the common complaints is that it’s too dark in the morning for outdoor activities — swimming, walking, cycling, whatever. I am up every morning at 5.30 to walk my dog and I manage that OK in the dark. On Saturday 15 March, The West Australian published a picture on the front page which purported to show swimmers in a pool at 7am having to swim with the flood lights on because of the dreaded daylight saving:

I thought this was a bit dodgy and I made a point of checking how light it was at 7am the next day ie the 16th of March. It was in fact quite light, certainly a lot lighter than appeared in the West‘s photo. I sent off the following email on the 16th:

The photo of Bicton Baths (15/3) makes it appear quite dark at 7am with the lights needed to be turned on. This is strange as I was out and about at 7am on Sunday 16/3 and it was much lighter than in the photo, certainly light enough not to require any external lighting. Can the West confirm that its photo was actually taken at 7am and on what date? Further, can you please publish a photo taken at 7am which will confirm that it is still very light at that time, a time when families can take advantage of the benefits of daylight saving.

I had no response to that letter so on the 19th I sent off another, still no reponse. I continue to have serious doubts about the veracity of the claim that this photo was taken at 7am during the current period of daylight saving. I am concerned that this is a serious misrepresention by the West which they are refusing to acknowledge. If the published photo is genuine then why not respond to my query? — a Crikey reader

The magazine numbers game: We’ve always been mystified by the fondness of some magazines to adorn their covers with giant numbers proclaiming the likes of “1,492 Fall Looks!” and “666 Haircuts That Won’t Make You Cry.” This week, The New York Observer‘s John Koblin devotes 535 words to this numbers game, quizzing editors on their cover math. Interestingly, almost all of the people he spoke with distanced themselves from bigger numbers, pointing to readers afflicted with “numbers fatigue,” but don’t expect any numberless covers anytime soon. — Unbeige blog, Mediabistro

Recession can be a marketers friend: Previous recessions have provided big opportunities — spawning the brand-management system, soap operas, modern cable networks, airline loyalty programs, the IBM personal computer, the iPod, Crest Whitestrips, Axe body spray and — for better or worse — fast-food value menus. — Adage

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: The repeat of Border Security on Seven at 7.30pm averaged a huge 1.751 million people, and the fresh episode of the Kiwi-made Serious Crash Unit was next with 1.637 million people. Seven News was next with 1.588 million and Today Tonight was 4th with 1.455 million. Home And Away was 5th with 1.304 million at 7pm and Nine News was next with 1.264 million. A Current Affair averaged 1.113 million and the repeat of CSI at 8.30pm averaged 1.107 million for Nine. The 7pm ABC news averaged 1.056 million for 9th, the elimination episode of The Biggest Loser was 10th at 7pm for Ten with 1.026 million and Ten’s fresh episode of Law And Order at 8.30pm averaged 1.022 million for the 11th and last spot in the million viewer club. Nine’s Olympic swimming trials averaged 938,000 from 7.30pm to 8.30pm, CSI New York at 9.30pm in repeat, 868,000 and Mythbusters 564,000 on SBS at 7.30pm.

The Losers: Losers? None really last night. The fact that viewers preferred to watch repeats once again exposes the hollowness of the complaints about the frequency of repeats on TV. After all Pay TV is based on repeats!.

News & CA: Seven News and Today Tonight won nationally and in every market. Having the AFL on Seven in the afternoon helped, especially in Melbourne, but seeing it finished at 5pm it wasn’t such a big help in Sydney and Brisbane. But Seven News and Today Tonight had big wins in both markets. Ten News averaged 994,000 from 5pm to 6pm, close to its best of the year so far (excluding the Grand Prix Sunday last weekend). Audiences last night were around normal levels, or slightly better, even though lots of people were still not home from the break. The 7.30 Report averaged 780,000, Lateline, 317,000. Nine’s Nightline averaged 243,000. World News Australia at 6.30pm, 204,000, 149,000 at 9.30pm.

The Stats: Seven won last week, won Sunday and won last night. Seven has now won four weeks to two (and despite what the networks say and do, advertisers take the Easter non-rating weeks seriously, they are paying for them!). Pay TV was strong last week with the NRL and AFL back for Fox Sports. Seven won Sunday night from Ten and then Nine; last night Seven won with 31.1% (28.6%) from Nine with 24.9% (25.4%), Ten with 21.2% (24.3%), the ABC on 16.2% (15.0%) and SBS with 6.7% (6.8%). Seven won all five metro markets last night Seven leads the week 29.2% to Nine on 24.4%, Ten with 23.2%. In regional areas WIN/NBN and Prime/7Qld drew last week. WIN/NBN won Monday night and last night Prime/7Qld won with 30.7% from WIN/NBN with 26.2%, Southern Cross (ten) with 22.0%, the ABC with 13.9% and SBS with 7.2%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: In TV terms things were quiet. Viewer levels were of course very low: the low point probably was Monday morning when Sunrise’s audience tumbled to 293,000 but Today slumped to 180,000. I want to take the names of all those watching both channels and ask what were they doing on a holiday? Nine News and A Current Affair continued to be weak over the break, especially in Sydney. Last night showed how bored viewers were: the repeat of Border Security attracted more than 1.7 million viewers, which was higher than any audience for the current fresh series of the program on Seven at 7.30pm. People obviously veged out, even though there were fresher material (the Swimming or The 7.30 Report or Mythbusters) on elsewhere. That’s Pay TV material! Even though last week was full of repeats and low viewing, Seven won easily and this is going to be a precursor of what lies ahead for the remainder of the year in most weeks. Nine is ahead of Seven in 25 to 54s, the key demo for advertisers, but will battle to stay there. Seven will win this week. On Sunday Nine’s struggling Sunday had its best audience so far of 153,000 from 7.30am to 9.30am. That was probably because so far as the ABC was concerned, there was no current affairs last week so Insiders, Inside Business and Offsiders were off air.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports

Peter Fray

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