Nine quibbles over Olympics ratings The poor Nine Network: it’s so desperate to do anything to claw back an advantage over Seven that it risks cutting its own throat in future years, now that it has the Olympics, Summer and Winter, with Pay TV group. Foxtel. The Australian trotted out Nine’s latest ploy: “Media buyers are divided about a battle unfolding between the Nine and Seven networks over whether the full 17 days of official Olympic Games activity should be excluded from the official television ratings year.” The Nine Network argues that the Beijing Games — even without the first Olyroos football match, which kicked off the day before the official opening ceremony on August 8 — will give Seven victory in four consecutive ratings weeks. “TV audience measurement company OzTAM traditionally excludes only the two ratings weeks that fall entirely within the Games period from its official 40-week ratings survey period each year. “

The issue has emerged as Seven, Nine and Ten prepare for the annual negotiations with media buyers to determine the advertising rates and share of advertising budgets that will go to each network in 2009. Most buying groups begin serious talks in October. “Nine has already begun to lobby for a 35 per cent share of advertisers’ budgets next year; it got just 31.8 per cent in the six months to June this year. “Ratings weeks begin on a Sunday and end on a Saturday, which means the Olyroos match on August 7, the opening ceremony on August 8 — which attracted 3.3 million viewers — and the first official day of Olympic competition on August 9 all fell within week 32 of the survey period. “Weeks 33 and 34 will typically be excluded from official ratings reports but yesterday’s closing ceremony telecast was expected to attract more than 3 million viewers, thereby giving Seven a big ratings lead into week 35.”

Nine will issue two sets of figures for the year, as will Seven: the figures will include the games telecasts and exclude them. But if Nine is consistent, it will exclude all Winter and summer games telecasts from its 2010 (Winter) and 2012 ratings, won’t it? And the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth games started on Wednesday, March 15, which was half the rating week and finished on Sunday, March 26, which gave Nine a head start on that rating week. And did Nine exclude the closing ceremony week for its 2006 ratings? From memory, no it didn’t.

And judging from official figures for 2006, Nine didn’t exclude the games at all from its win in the year with a prime time share of 29.1% to 27.8% for Seven. When the games were discounted, Nine won 27/9% to 27.8% for Seven. (That’s on a five network basis All People 6 pm to midnight). And did Seven include the 2060 winter games? Like 2006, 2010 will have two major events that will unsettle the rating figures: the Winter Games and the World Cup Soccer. next year SBS (which has the soccer) will also have the Ashes cricket tour of England. For the record Seven won last week with a share of 43.1% (43.9%) from Nine with 20.1% (18.5%, Ten with 17.1% (16.6%), the ABC with 15.9% (14.5%) and SBS with 4.7% (6.6%). And those two weeks won’t count. — Glenn Dyer

Welcome to the widget channel A new project announced by internet giant Yahoo is promising to bring the wonders of the web to television, allowing viewers to customise their TV screens with a swathe of internet services including eBay listings, weather, financial news and Twitter updates. A further move towards the convergence between television and the internet, The Widget Channel is the result of a collaboration between Yahoo and technology manufacturer Intel. — The Guardian

Inside the big tent Thousands of journalists will begin swarming into Denver for what is sure to be an around-the-clock media event. Reporters will interview throngs of convention goers to examine every facet of the political landscape and the implications it has for the upcoming election. Among these mainstream media bees will be a wave of new media journalists appearing out of the Wild West of the Internet to lay at least partial claim to the stories that will be emerging from the convention. A number of these bloggers will be working at a location outside the building in a facility appropriately called the Big Tent Denver. Whether these new media reporters will be able to produce compelling convention coverage without constant access to its participants remains to be seen. — mediashift

Notes on a scandal Soldiers at war rarely write magazine stories. But on July 13, 2007, a 24-year-old army private named Scott Thomas Beauchamp who had been serving in Iraq for about 10 months published a short, pseudonymous essay in the New Republic magazine that created a media firestorm. “Shock Troops” is a grim first-person account of the dehumanizing aspects of war. In a tone vacillating between shame and detachment, Beauchamp, under the byline “Scott Thomas,” recounts with squirm-inducing detail how he and his buddies were becoming so callous they openly mocked a gruesomely disfigured woman—the apparent victim of a roadside bomb—when she sat down for a meal in a military mess hall. — Radar online

Pushing back against media ‘bias’ Gone are the days when only the right howled about bias and malice from network anchors and star political reporters. What began roughly a decade ago as frustration from Democrats over coverage of President Bill Clinton’s impeachment and adulterous escapades has morphed into an informally organized rapid response network, ready to pounce on any and all perceived media slights against Barack Obama. Clearly, bloggers aren’t a monolithic group. But it’s fair to say that liberal bloggers — and the more activist-oriented members of the netroots within that group — have been calling out the media’s campaign coverage with far more regularity than just four years ago. And it’s not simply because there are more activists who know how Moveable Type works. — Politico

Spam of the day: Paris Hilton’s V-gina Bites Penguin

Peter Fray

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