The Age goes serious. Down there at the Melbourne Age website they must have traded in their old set of readers for a new lot because this morning’s most read list is nothing like it used to be in the good old days of a week ago. Remember the dash of cheerful smut as in Clooney dumped Larson because she had a bo-b job, Oral s-x blamed for throat cancer rise and Naked S-x actor flooded with offers that prompted Crikey to come up with this mock-up of what page one would look like if the printed paper followed the lead of its internet readers:

Someone at The Age has finally realised, it would seem, how featuring trivial stories on the internet version tarnishes the reputation of a brand that has long stood for serious journalism. The selection of stories put in featured positions is now quite different from what it was a week ago.

And when it is serious stories that are displayed, it is serious stories that are read most.

— Richard Farmer

The polygamy circus continues. The Herald Sun has added yet another crazy graphic to their story showing two women-in-black taking a stroll:

It also had a poll asking readers: “Should Muslims be allowed to have more than one wife?” As at 1:27am, after some 104 votes were cast, 71% answered yes. I reckon it was the work of Turkish soccer fans getting tipsy on arak whilst waiting up to watch the UEFA Cup semi-final. Not to be outdone, the Daily Telegraph added an extra 1.5 completely veiled faces to the graphic accompanying its story.

It’s great to see Sheik Rupert bin Murdoch’s tabloids giving News Corp’s Saudi shareholders some value for money. To its credit, The Oz refused to join this hysterical bandwagon. It published two thoughtful pieces which covered the issues thoroughly and which mentioned that polygamy concerned Mormons as much as Muslims. The issue raised wider concerns about unregistered polygamous relationships, many of which are more a case of infidelity than religiosity. A wide variety of views were canvassed in what was quality journalism. I’d take off my burqa to Natalie O’Brien and Sian Powell, except that I don’t wear one. The Age’s piece is also worth reading. The Sydney Morning Herald website, as far as I could see, largely ignored the issue. Fair enough. What’s missing from all this is Uncle Sam from Salam Café asking Keysar Trad to perform a few on-the-spot polygamous marriages for him. — Irfan Yusuf

Daily Tele crotch shot of the day. OK, so Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova’s decision to wear red, erm, undergarments in a direct flout of the traditional white on white at Wimbledon has caused a stir in England, but it’s a long bow for the Tele to use her crotch as the image for their series on “Wimbledon fashion”:

Brits want Heinz to keep it in the closet.

Heinz has pulled the above UK spot that shows two men kissing, after British viewers complained the ad was “inappropriate”. The spot was created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO. According the AdAge , viewers contacted the Advertising Standards Authority watchdog and complained that it is “inappropriate to see two men kissing” and that the ad was “unsuitable to be seen by children.” — AgencySpy, Mediabistro

Never hold a story. Here’s a piece that every editor should (no, must) read: Delaying News in the Era of the Internet. It’s about how when NBC newsman Tim Russert died, the network decided to hold onto the news for a short while until his family could be alerted to the bad news. The other major networks agreed to do the same. Of course, we live in an era in which big news holds for no network, and news crept out the door at NBC and was spread all over the Internet well before NBC acknowledged that Russert had a heart attack and died in its offices. — Poynter Online

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
Seven News won with 1.588 million. Today Tonight was second with 1.424 million and the ABC’s Spicks and Specks was 3rd with 1.343 million at 8.30pm. Nine News was 4th, its best national finish for a while, with 1.304 million and Two and a half Men finished 5th in repeat at 7pm with 1.252 million. That was just in front of the 7pm ABC News with 1.249 million viewers. Nine’s 8pm program Search and Rescue averaged 1.244 million and Fire 000 at 7.30pm on Nine averaged 1.243 million. A Current Affair was 9th with 1.206 million and The Gruen Transfer was 10th with 1.182 million. Home and Away averaged a low 1.171 million at 7pm for Seven, Criminal Minds was next on Seven at 8.30pm with 1.137 million and The 7.30 Report was 13th with 1.075 million and finished second in the slot behind Nine, pushing Seven to third and Ten to 4th. From 7pm to 9.30pm, the ABC had programs with a million viewers or more, Ten had none. The New Inventors at 8pm, 997,000.

The Losers: The commercial networks which shed 16 to 39 and 18 to 49 viewers to the ABC in their tens of thousands between 8.30pm and 9.30pm. It was the same result that we have seen for the last month. The fact is that Spicks and Specks and The Gruen Transfer dominated the major demographic, 16 to 39, 18 to 49 and 25 to 54. It’s why Nine’s Cold Case saw its audience fall under a million viewers and why Seven’s Criminal Minds can’t get above 1.2 million at the same time. That in turn hurts the 9.30pm programs, Missing Persons Unit on Nine (880,000) and Air Crash Investigations on Seven (793,000). Ten’s repeat of House at 8.30pm averaged 845,000 and wasn’t in the hunt, but the fresh episode of Numb3rs held up well at 9.30pm with 838,000. Ten’s best performing program was the 5pm News with just over 900,000. Its best performing program in prime time was the repeat of House, which says something about how the network is travelling at the moment. Big Brother averaged 817,000 at 7 pm, but beat Rules of Engagement at 7.30pm on Ten with 785,000 and Back To You with 808,000.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Today Tonight won everywhere bar Brisbane where A Current Affair won. Ten News averaged 902,000 and the late News/ Sports Tonight averaged 422,000. Lateline averaged 220,000 and Lateline Business, 104,000. SBS News at 6.30pm, 197,000, Dateline , 240,000, the late News at 9.30pm, 184,000. 7am Sunrise 352,000, 7am Today down to 236,000 after getting close to Sunrise the day before.

The Stats: Nine and Seven drew with 26.9% in All People from 6pm to midnight. (That was the same result and share from Wednesday of last week). The ABC was next with 20.4% (21.5%), ahead of Ten on 19.7% (19.1%) and SBS was on 6.1% (5.6%). Seven won the 18 to 49 and 25 to 54 and “all viewers under 55” against Ten and Nine. Nine won Sydney and Melbourne, Seven won Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Nine leads the week 29.6% to 27.5%. In regional areas a win to Nine with WIN/NBN on 30.7%, Prime/7Qld on 26.0%, Southern Cross (ten) on 18.7%, the ABC on 17.7% and SBS on 7.0%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: A desperate Nine Network is hoping a four-week rest and some counselling will ensure Sam Newman’s return to the AFL Footy Show tonight arrests the sharp decline in viewers in the near three months that he went feral and made fun of leading AFL writer, Caroline Wilson. It fell 13% in the wake of Newman’s abuse and his attack on women on the boards of AFL clubs. The question for Nine is now: what does the Network do if Newman can’t control himself? Tonight it’s the NRL and AFL Footy Shows. The Gil Mayo Mysteries on the ABC. Ten has BB, Futurama and Law and Order SVU.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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