TV Week circulation plummets. Has the move to online nominations and voting for the TV Week Logie awards cost the magazine valuable circulation gains because publicity departments at the various networks no longer have to bulk buy the magazine to enter their Network’s stars in the various most popular (I.e. viewer) categories?

The question comes to mind with the ACP magazine shedding 9% of its audited sales in the years to June. That was 23,545 copies. The magazine now has an average circulation each week of 238,517.

TV lore has it that network publicity departments spent long hours clipping the entry coupons in the magazines, putting them in envelopes, addressing them by hand and then putting stamps on them. To have used the various Network mail embossing equipment might have given the game away.

If it wasn’t the move to online nomination and voting, then TV Week is no longer a must buy for its target audience of young females. Its losses in the 2008 year were another example of the big loss in sales the industry experienced in the year to June, and especially in the six months from January 1.

TV Week‘s woes were part of the worst audit for decades for ACP Magazines, with it seeing sales of major titles like Woman’s Day, The Australian Women’s Weekly, Cleo, Cosmo, Ralph, FHM and NW slumping by 10% to nearly 30%. Today’s Australian carries these quotes from ACP Magazine head, Scott Lorson:

“Australian circulation and readership results continue to be among the highest in the world, reinforcing Australia’s seemingly irrepressible appetite for magazines,” ACP Magazines chief executive Scott Lorson said.

“The latest results reflect a solid outcome in light of the deterioration in consumer confidence. The magazine industry is now entering a phase of unprecedented marketing and launch activity and is well placed to benefit from improvements in the underlying economic environment.”

ACP launches its second BBC co-production, Good Food, today after it launched Top Gear last month, as well as the women’s title, Grazia.

News Ltd’s sports orientated Alpha Magazine shed 15.9% of its circulation to 113,633 copies a month. It’s heading for a crunch point where the increasingly blokey magazine will either be revamped or die. News Ltd may have to downsize it and offer it as a cheap printed monthly in its Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane tabloids. it’s hard to see it working, after all the glossier Inside Sport disappeared during 2008. — Glenn Dyer

NZ picks up Millionaire. Who says New Zealand is behind the times? Three months after Eddie McGuire’s last on air vehicle, Who Wants To be A Millionaire was laid to rest in the wilds of a Friday night in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, along come the Kiwis to revive the program, complete with the Melbourne set and facilities.

TVNZ, the shrinking former national broadcaster, is going for a bit of inspired cost cutting to start the failed program across the Tasman. It will be broadcast on TVOne in NZ later this year.

Millionaire NZ will use all the Melbourne facilities set up by Nine. Contestants from around New Zealand will be flown to Melbourne each week (is that second or third prize and will we be forced to offer asylum to any overstayers?) and the usual suspects (AKA Australian based Kiwis) will be rounded up for the audience each episode.

Seeing thousands of Kiwis are moving to Australia each month, it sounds like a good idea to herd them all into the one room and then remind them of why they moved to Australia… — Glenn Dyer

Pay TV hit hard by Olympics. An easy win to the Seven Network last week with wall to wall Olympic coverage. It won with 43.9%, to 18.5% for Nine, 16.6% for Ten, 14.5% for the ABC and 6.6% for SBS. Sydney had the highest share for Seven with 46.2% for the week, well ahead of Seven’s Melbourne share of 42.9%, which was boosted by the AFL on Friday night. Saturday night saw the games coverage with a 52.2% share to 45.9% in Melbourne as Ten broadcast the Geelong-Sydney AFL game.

According to figures from Fusion Strategy, pay TV’s share last week was hit hard: on Saturday night pay’s audience from 6 pm to 10.30 pm was off 26%. For the week the average audience fell 151,000, or 19%. Nine’s audience fell 21%, but Ten’s prime time audience average fell by just 23,000 and the ABC’s by just 28,000. Both were very good results compared to the Games’ audiences for Seven (and free).

Having the swimming finals on during the day obviously meant slightly lower audiences for Seven. But the Pay TV figures again emphasise how sports orientated its core audience is. — Glenn Dyer

The prestigious Phallic Logo Awards On Friday Crikey pointed readers to the Bendigo Bank ad currently on the airwaves, and asked whether it was a scam ad or just an innocent faux pas. But there’s nothing innocent about the equivalent of the scam ad among graphic designers — the “scam logo.” A British design website is running a “competition”: the Phallic Logo Awards, billed as “the game designers across the nation are playing” — can they design a logo and get it approved without the client realising it’s a … um, well you get the drift. Deliberate or not, it makes you wonder how some of these things ever got approved!

Is Jon Stewart the most trusted man in America? …The emergence of The Daily Show as a genuine cultural and political force. When Americans were asked in a 2007 poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press to name the journalist they most admired, Mr. Stewart, the fake news anchor, came in at No. 4, tied with the real news anchors Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw of NBC, Dan Rather of CBS and Anderson Cooper of CNN. And a study this year from the center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism concluded that “The Daily Show is clearly impacting American dialogue” and “getting people to think critically about the public square.” While the show scrambled in its early years to book high-profile politicians, it has since become what Newsweek calls “the coolest pit stop on television,” with presidential candidates, former presidents, world leaders and administration officials signing on as guests. — Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

CCTV = Olympics 24/7 To say that the airwaves are saturated with Olympics coverage here doesn’t quite capture the feeling. Several of China Central Television’s channels, as well as the local Beijing and other provincial channels, have given themselves over to 24/7 coverage of the games. Weeks before Friday’s Opening Ceremony, we’d already seen endless rebroadcasts of the months long torch relay. Watch Torchbearer 61, a pudgy local government official, pass the torch to Torchbearer 62, a tall gangly European man from the United Nations! See the torch in the streets of Chengdu! And Tianjin! And in the outer Beijing Suburbs! And in Tianjin—again!Slate

Chinese Olympics viewing habits: Meanwhile, CMM Intelligence sent Crikey the stats on what sports Chinese Olympics fans are most keen on:

Around 87% of all households across China tuned to watch the first day of the 2008 Beijing Olympics on television, according to AGB Nielsen Media Research. The China vs Venezuela Women’s Volleyball Competition attracted the most viewers, with ratings as high as 7.73%. The men’s swimming heats, featuring champion US swimmer Michael Phelps, attracted the second highest number of viewers with TV ratings of 5.82%. Only one program that was not an Olympic event made it into the top ten rated programs on August 9. The CCTV talk show, Olympic Hall of Fame, shot to third place with ratings of 4.41% when the hosts interviewed weightlifter Chen Xiexia after she won China its first gold media for 2008. The women’s 48kg class weightlifting competition, the actual event where Chen Xiexia won her medal, had a rating of 3.61%.

And we thought Channel 7 were hardarses: CMM Intelligence report:

The State Administration of Radio, Film and TV (SARFT) on July 28 issued a circular instructing provincial and local TV stations to suspend all broadcasts of Olympics-themed variety and talent shows.

The circular also ordered stations to remove all copyright-protected Olympics content from their programming, such as the “Five Rings” logo, the Beijing Olympics “Running Man” logo and the official Beijing Olympics song. Stations are allowed to broadcast talk shows and news shows as long as they do not feature “Beijing 2008” or “Olympics” in their titles.

The move was designed to protect CCTV’s rights as the official over-the-air broadcaster for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in mainland China and Macau. Chinese TV stations have launched a huge number of Olympics-themed shows in the lead-up to the Olympics (see related story under Television).

Copyright-infringing programs started proliferating in earnest after SARFT gave stations the green light to recommence broadcasts of the variety shows and other forms of light entertainment taken off air in the wake of the Sichuan earthquake (see China Media Monitor June 2008).

CMM-I contacted a number of stations to confirm how the circular affected their programming. The programs caught by the SARFT circular included I Love the Beijing Olympics on Zhejiang Satellite TV and 2008 My Show on Dragon TV, which had adopted “Music Cheers Beijing Olympics” as its slogan.

Hunan Satellite TV would also have to make changes to Going Forward With the Olympics (Aoyun Xiangqian Chong), a popular It’s a Knock-Out style show that challenges volunteers to navigate an obstacle course.

CMM-I contacted the stations to confirm what action they had taken to comply with the SARFT notice. Dragon TV said it had removed the offending slogan from 2008 My Show, while Hunan Satellite TV had renamed Going Forward With the Olympics to Going Forward With Happiness. Zhejiang TV had suspended broadcasts of I Love the Beijing Olympics altogether.

Broadcasters can still air talk shows and news programs with an Olympics focus as long as the programs do not have the words “Beijing 2008″ or “Olympics” in the title.

We’ll pay you to not watch the Olympics. Comedian Ryan Shelton sent up Channel Seven’s rival networks and their efforts to lure viewers away from the all-consuming Olympic coverage on Rove last night . In his sketch he suggest that Channel Nine were throwing cash at viewers to tempt them to change channels. Cue irony alarm for the ad that followed immediately after: a Channel Ten promo boasting the chance to win “truckloads of cash…watch Ten and win $10,000 every night. Get lucky… watch Ten.”  — Sophie Black  

HuffPo goes local. Transferring The Huffington Post’s blend of news, opinion, and community — delivered with our familiar look and attitude — to a local level, HuffPost Chicago is part local news source, part resource guide, and part virtual soap box — featuring a collection of bloggers who know and love Chicago, and are looking to share their takes on everything from the Cubs to City Hall to the hot new local band to the best place for Greek food (and I can testify that there is a lot of that in Chicago!).The Huffington Post 

NBC puts up the walls. NBC may be taking lumps in the blogosphere for its decision to provide so much of its Olympics coverage exclusively through traditional channels, but they have given advertisers an increasingly elusive commodity — a large, captivated (and captive) audience. NBC’s walled approach to viewership — sidelining the creative opportunities to build the brand online — has short-term appeal the network could not pass up. Online viewers who came to see the games or catch up on missed events might have been upset to see that videos were not available on YouTube or even NBC’s partner site Hulu. NBC was hyper vigilant against leaked content and offered video solely through Microsoft’s downloadable player Silverlight. — Epicenter, Wired

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