Nine vs Seven. If the Nine Network was to win a week in the post Olympics ratings battle with Seven, then last week or next week would have been on its list as the most likely. It engineered night finals on Friday and Saturday for its NRL telecasts after the four qualifying semi finals, but last week it would have been hoping that other programs like Fringe and Kitchen Nightmares might have kicked in to help negate Seven. And next week it’s the evening grand final at 5 pm on Sunday and over by around 7.30pm to allow 60 Minutes to tick in and then the new program, Mentallist.

It looks like no such joy for Nine on both counts. Seven won last week far more easily than it seemed. Despite Nine having strong Friday and Saturday nights because of the NRL, Seven won both. And despite having the League on Sunday evening, Seven will win the week because its Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday nights will be stronger, and it will go closer on Thursday nights now that the AFL Footy Show has gone. — Glenn Dyer

Turnbull vs Costello on Q&A. So why did Q&A give Malcolm Turnbull a solo gig last Thursday night when Peter Costello has to share with the likes of Nicola Roxon, David Marr, Cheryl Kernot and Tom Switzer? I know that it gave Kevin Rudd the first program solo, but Costello at least deserves a good hearing, and some aggressive question from Jones and members of the public about his position in parliament, the Liberal Party and his jottings.

Glenn Dyer

The Sydney Morning Herald’s google advertisements pre-empt Kevin Rudd’s demise. Based on the headline, I think “Was he a good Prime Minister?” is more accurate.

 

Mike Carlton is not dead for The Sydney Morning Herald. Despite being sacked from the SMH a month ago in the Fairfax purges, Mike Carlton’s still listed as a columnist – and all of his columns are still available – on the Herald website. Yes, some things just have to be seen.

Anonymous Crikey reader

Meanwhile, Michael Bowers made sure to point out that he’s no longer the SMH pictorial editor on Insiders this weekend…  The syndicated cartoonist he was talking to congratulated on his newfound, erm, freedom…

Important information about your FOXTEL service. I thought I’d seen almost every way of justifying a price increase, but Foxtel have eclipsed them all. I received an email yesterday advising me that Foxtel are making their “pricing and packaging even simpler and clearer to understand”. The good folks at Foxtel have determined that their stupid customers just aren’t capable of comprehending all those pesky cents, so they’ve moved the prices of all packages to be “priced in whole dollars making the prices more straightforward and easy to calculate”:

During these tough economic times, with increased interest rates and higher grocery and petrol prices, we are aware that our customers are spending more time at home enjoying FOXTEL. This makes it even more important that your FOXTEL service is the best value entertainment around.

We will also make our pricing and packaging even simpler and clearer to understand. From 1 November 2008 we will introduce a new, simplified pricing structure. All our packages will now be priced in whole dollars making the prices more straightforward and easy to calculate. For example, the My Showtime package will move from $15.95 to $16 and the much loved FOXTEL iQ will be priced at just $10 a month regardless of your package.

So how does all this affect you? Due to the effects of rounding, there will be a small increase depending on the packages you subscribe to.

Crikey reader Sam Highley

“Horror show” year ahead for media firms. The worsening state of the global economy will make 2009 a “horror show” for advertising-dependent newspaper and television companies, with some analysts predicting that businesses may have to wait until 2011 to see positive ad growth. — Guardian

Queensland police hunt media leaks. Police have been monitoring journalists’ phone and bank records in a hunt for the source of embarrassing leaks, the Queensland Police Union claimed yesterday. Police union secretary Mick Barnes said the force’s ethical standards command had been investigating journalists over news reports. The Media Alliance journalists’ union denounced the alleged activity as “illegal and underhand”. — The Australian

PBL faces probe over debt response. Media group PBL Media has dismissed speculation that it plans to offload assets in order to settle its A$4.2 billion debt. Chief executive Ian Law yesterday described questions about PBL Media’s ability to meet its A$450 million annual interest payment on its debt as “background noise.” Mr Law said PBL Media, which is 75 percent owned by private equity group CVC Asia Pacific and 25 percent by James Packer’s Consolidated Media Holdings, would not sell any assets “for less than their long-term value.” — Reuters

Bosca wants ban on alcohol advertising. The new NSW Health Minister, John Della Bosca, says he will argue for a ban on alcohol advertising at a national ministerial council meeting in November, five years after he advocated a similar ban at an alcohol summit hosted by the former premier Bob Carr. The federal Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, has not ruled out toughening advertising laws in response to Mr Della Bosca’s call, saying there needed to be a “comprehensive response to tackle binge drinking”. — Sydney Morning Herald

Peter Fray

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