Sky News gets their handouts mixed up. Someone hit the wrong button at Sky News this morning — as  footage of Burma residents queuing up for food and water, buckets in hand, aired, Sky splashed this:

 Ben hearts Shannon. Check out the intro to Sixty Minutes’ story on Shannon Noll last night. Watch reporter Ben Fordham’s face as Shannon Noll sings to him as they drive along. Romantic.

Someone got fired at the NT News. Friday’s editorial from the Northern Territory News.

Whish-Wilson needs a lesson in finance reporting? Fairfax’s NSW publisher Lloyd Whish-Wilson’s knowledge of finance reporting may be as bit lacking if a report in last week’s (8/5) Oz Media section is accurate. Amanda Meade quotes a staff email from Whish-Wilson that claims AFR Investor (Smart Investor?) is “the clear market leader for quality advice on personal finance.” An appropriate AFS licence from ASIC is required by anyone providing financial advice. Fairfax’s publications all carry disclaimers along the lines that anything in them is for general information only and is non-advisory. For example, Fairfax Digital’s web pages state that coverage “is not intended as advice and must not be relied upon as such.” So does Whish-Wilson’s statement reveal that Fairfax’s intent is to provide advice, despite the disclaimers insisted upon by its legal eagles? Is Fairfax’s intent indeed to be the market leader in personal financial advice? Does it intend to influence readers’ investment decisions? The emphasis of The Fin ‘s content – and especially afr.com – has become heavily slanted towards personal investment, so how close to ASIC’s line in the sand is Fairfax sailing? Is ASIC paying any attention to how near Fairfax’s financial publications are to providing advice? And if Whish-Wilson’s memo is wrong — as no doubt Fairfax would claim — it’s interesting to consider how the publisher of a newspaper can assume responsibility if he doesn’t understand the nature of the product he is publishing… — Stuart Mackenzie, Freelance writer and journalist

ITV’s viewer phone competition rort. The British commercial TV broadcaster, ITV, has been fined more than $A11 million over claims it abused premium phone services in viewer competitions. The fine was announced in London last week and is the latest of 23 similar breaches by all free to air broadcasters in Britain in the past couple of years, with the mighty BBC leading the way with 13 instances of abuse , including the most notorious example where producers of the children’s program, Blue Peter tried to “fix” the new name of the program’s cat! The regulator, Ofcom has been investigating ITV for a year over these and other claims. It fined GMTV more than $A4 million late last year for failing with phone in quizzes. In fining ITV a record £5.675 million Ofcom said the fine was by far the highest ever imposed and reflected the seriousness of ITV’s failures and their repeated nature. The ITV programs, Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway , Gameshow Marathon and Soapstar Superstar were all found to have “serious editorial issues”. An investigation last year found viewers had spent millions on unfair competitions. — Glenn Dyer

Into the blues for Ten. The Ten Network’s new soap, Out Of The Blue , has bombed in London as a replacement for Neighbours on the BBC. The BBC started it on Monday, April 28, at the prime afternoon timeslot of 2.10pm, but recently announced it was being shifted to the far less popular 1pm slot on BBC2. The pre-publicity had been good, but British viewers in the target demo didn’t take to it. It was commissioned from Southern Star as a replacement for Neigbhours that was bought by the Five Network in the UK. Five is owned by the European broadcaster RTL (which in turn owns Neigbhours producer Fremantlemedia). RTL is owned by the private media giant in Germany, Bertelsmann. Ten has taken the soap here for broadcast later in the year. 130 half hour episodes are being made and they will now air on BBC2. Judging by the lack of comments from the BBC about the program, those 130 episodes will be the sum total of this program’s life. It started with 1.2 million viewers on Monday, but had almost halved to 655,00 at the end of last week. — Glenn Dyer

Headline of last week:

— thanks to Crikey subscriber David Sanderson.

Pulling down the wall. Shackling content behind a pay wall may be off the drawing board — or at least a thing of the past for most big metros. But in smaller markets, it’s not a rarity for the daily paper to charge for Web content. Greg Harmon of Belden Associates estimates that at least 50 dailies are still using the paid online model. “We have clients asking about it, which is remarkable to me,” he says. The Watertown (N.Y.) Daily Times had resided in the “paid” camp until it turned on its heel in the other direction, partly to get more eyeballs but also to go after its competitors. The paper serves as a warning to others: Throw up a pay wall and you’ll severely limit traffic and, in turn, advertisers. — Editor & Publisher

Glued to the tube It seems marketers and TV executives are having a half-full, half-empty kind of argument over TV’s prowess. The results of a survey on consumer media habits commissioned by the Television Bureau of Advertising, out this week after the study was conducted by Nielsen Media Research, show that adults spend a little over half of their media hours with TV. Meanwhile, a recent survey of marketers and advertisers by the Association of National Advertisers found many were losing confidence in TV as a medium. — AdAge

Al Jazeera’s US08 coverage. Many Americans incorrectly think of Al-Jazeera’s Arabic-language network as al-Qaida Central because it occasionally broadcasts excerpts from videotapes of the terror organization’s leaders. Nowadays, however, viewers are far more likely to see images of the American presidential candidates on the channel’s screens. As the United States, always an interested party, has become a dominant on-the-ground player in the Middle East, residents of the region increasingly feel that their own fate depends on the outcome of this election. I was in Qatar earlier this month and stopped by the office of Ahmed Sheikh, editor in chief of Al-Jazeera’s Arabic service, to ask him about his network’s coverage of the campaign…Juan Cole, Salon

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
60 Minutes topped the most watched list last night with 1.731 million. The subprime report by Peter Overton tried hard to beat something up here compared to the US. Seven News (1.466 million) was next just in front of Nine News (1.455 million. Seven didn’t have the AFL, Nine had the NRL in Sydney and Brisbane). CSI was 4th for Nine with 1.453 million and Grey’s Anatomy was next with 1.313 million. Gladiators averaged a solid 1.294 million (but not brilliant) for Seven at 6.30pm and saw off Nine’s Animal Emergency (1.267 million) and RFDS, 1.230 million on Nine in the same slot. It was the final eps for both. Nine’s 9.30 program, Without A Trace, averaged 1.079 million and the 7pm ABC News averaged 1.068 million. The Big Brother Live Eviction from 7.30pm averaged a low 1.050 million (6.30pm BB averaged 848,000). Seven’s 8pm program, My Name Is Earl averaged 1.044 million and Police Files Unlocked on Seven at 7.30pm averaged 1.024 million and was the 13th and last program on the million viewer list. Seven’s Brothers And Sisters averaged 930,000 at 9.30pm.

The Losers: Ten and Big Brother. It was the Network’s only program with a million or more viewers last night. Seven and Nine battled it out. Rove, 776,000. Not up to his usual level. It does help having a good lead-in, as we know. BB‘s fading appeal hit Rove. Flight of The Conchords on Ten after Rove. They may a cult hit, but won’t be a hit here, if these figures — 477,000 — continue. Why Sunday night? Fridays are better for “cult” shows. Nine screened the Madeline McCann doco from ITV last night late. Only 405,000 watched. And it was due to show in prime time this week before it aired and failed in Britain on ITV.

News & CA: Seven News only won Brisbane and Perth which was enough to give it the small win nationally. Ten News averaged 756,000. World News Australia on SBS at 6.30pm averaged 219,000. In the morning Weekend Sunrise from 8am, 434,000; Landline on the ABC at noon, 227,000, Early Weekend Sunrise from 7.30am, 218,000, Insiders on the ABC, 157,000, Sunday on Nine at 7.30 am, 138,000; Inside Business, 133,000, Offsiders at 10.30am, 106,000; Meet The Press on Ten at 8am, 62,000.

The Stats: Nine won with 6pm to midnight a share of 32.3% (36% with The Logies), from Seven with 27.6% (22.9%), Ten with 20.7% (20.4%), the ABC with 13.8% (15.9%) and SBS with 5.6% (4.9%). Nine won all five metro markets. And Nine won big in regional areas with WIN/NBN getting a share of 35.8% from Prime/7Qld with 25.3%, Southern Cross (Ten), 18.4%, the ABC with 13.7% and SBS 6.8%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Back to the sort of Sunday nights that were a regular feature in 2005 and 2006 and in parts of last year. Nine does well, Seven stays within reach and hopes to overtake with stronger performances Monday through Wednesday, and then on Friday night with the AFL. That’s the plan now that Underbelly is out of the way on Wednesdays on Nine and Seven thinks it will be more competitive. Perhaps that’s what was discussed between Seven’s recuperating boss David Leckie and chief programmer Tim Worner last Thursday. Leckie summoned Worner to his Eastern Suburbs home (rather than discuss on the phone). It must have been a heart to heart because Leckie has been out of the loop for the past month after that infected finger almost claimed his life. Seven now has to start getting ratings wins in not only All people, but in 18 to 49 and 25 to 54. Seven is doing well in over 55s but not as well in 16 to 39s, 18 to 49s and 25 to 54s as it did in 2007. That now has to improve, or its revenue share will come under pressure. Ten’s weakness, seen last night, will help.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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