The Winners: There were a lot of people watching Seven and not many watching the other networks. The ratings for last week, this week and the next won’t really count. Seven won last week thanks to the games on Friday and Saturday nights. It won last night and will win tonight. The swimming finals during the day are depriving viewers of great performances.

    Friday Night: 3.307 million people watched the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony. That’s now the most watched program of the year so far. Seven News on Saturday averaged 2.18 million; the Saturday evening Seven coverage 2.214 million and the Saturday fringe coverage (5pm to 6 pm) 1.717 million.

    Last night it was wall to wall Olympics, but Seven News was tops with 2.095 million viewers last night; the prime time broadcast of the games was second with 2.093 million and the afternoon coverage was on 1.821 million. 60 Minutes was 4th with 1.453 million and Nine News was 5th with 1.312 million and the repeat of CSI Miami at 8.30pm averaged 1.130 million. The 7pm ABC News held up well and averaged 1.121 million and Seven’s late night coverage of the games was 8th with 1.090 million. Doctor Who at 7.30pm on the ABC was also solid with 1.008 million. SBS News averaged 752,000 right after the end of the women’s road race, which averaged 667,000 people for more than three hours.

The Losers: No losers on the other networks. Seven viewers Sunday afternoon when the sluggish Richmond-Adelaide Crows game appeared on screens as the AFL maintained its agreement that Seven show a boring footy match instead of the Olympic Games. Still 838,000 watched the match, which was twice the number who would normally have watched a such meaningless event on a Sunday afternoon in winter. The AFL will be happy and Seven have taken all the stress and insults from the audience.

    Duncan Armstrong’s bagging of the effort of Cate Campbell in the women’s four by 100 metres freestyle relay final should disqualify him from being a commentator again. To say “I don’t mean to get into the 16 year old but…” and then proceed to do that was crass and humiliating. I thought the Games was about sport and good performances, not the mindless jingoism that we are seeing and hearing at times on Seven’s equally appalling program in the morning called Yum Cha. A Daddo and Rebecca Wilson. What more can you say? To think Seven let Roy and HG go for Mr Daddo and Ms Wilson.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally. SBS News did well, Nine News battled manfully in the face of the games coverage. Ten News averaged 840,000 people. Weekend Sunrise, which had some games stuff in it averaged 536,000. Landline on the ABC at noon, 202,000, Insiders on the ABC at 9am, 180,000, Offsiders at 10.30am, 145,000 and Inside Business at 10am 131,000. Nine’s new Sunday News for an hour from 8am averaged 118,000. It looked patched up and full of afterthoughts, but doesn’t have to be. It needs the Laurie Oakes interview to be matched with a solid business interview and the rest in news: all in 44 minutes or thereabouts of content.

The Stats: Seven of course won the night with 42.5% from Nine with 20.6%, Ten with 15.0%, the ABC with 13.8% and SBS with 8.1%. the games are much more popular in Sydney than anywhere else. Last night Seven had a 46.1% share in that market, with Melbourne on 39.3% (the lowest in the metro markets). But on Friday night: Seven got a national share from 6pm to midnight of 51.6% because of the opening ceremony and Seven had a share of 49.8% in Sydney but 53.0% in Melbourne . The next night with the competition proper underway, Sydney had a 49.5% national share and 54.1% in Sydney and just 43.0% in Melbourne. So, do we conclude from this: give Melbourne a bit of vaudeville and colour and light and they will watch: but when we get to the hardcore sporting competition… Are Sydney viewers more sports aware than Melbournians? Or do Melbourrnians merely want winners, like some Seven commentators? The opening ceremony was at 8pm or thereabouts Perth time and Seven’s share there was 60%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: What is to be said about the games so far? Well the opening ceremony had a lot of light and colour and was tricked up with one segment pre-recorded, according to a Beijing newspaper (the night time aerial shots of fireworks apparently). It was Stalinist with the typical cute shot of a little girl singing a national song and children taking the Chinese flag to a pole (on which a small tube blew air to simulate a flag in the still night).

    The men’s bike race audience had to wait 46 minutes before the broadcaster could get an onscreen timing clock working. That was almost an hour. Amateur hour. Is the public display of time that much of a problem in a $US40 billion games? The women’s race almost went down a wrong turn on the last lap because a side road was not covered and the organisers of both destroyed the spectacle by keeping people from the street and behind the barricades.

    Tonight it’s more games, and a bit of TV on the ABC with Andrew Denton, Australian Story and Media Watch. If you don’t like sport, and don’t like the ABC’s offering, look at Pay TV (but avoid all the sport).

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.

 

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW