A win to the Seven Network again last week. It won 30.4% (30.6%) from Nine with 27.2% (26.5%), Ten with 19.9% (20.3%), the ABC with 17.4% (17.5%) and SBS with 5.2% (5.0%). Seven won Sydney. Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Nine won Sunday, Thursday and Saturday. Seven won the other four.

The Ten Network is in desperate trouble, it seems to be running short of product. Its screening a program on Wednesday night called Big Cat Diary that has been seen on the ABC already this year. It replaces Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food which did not overwhelm viewers.

The Nine Network has picked up Little Britain, despite it being flogged to death on the ABC. It has also bought the US version of the UK and Australian spin off (SBS) Who Do You Think You Are to match Seven’s very successful Find My family. It’s a pity SBS is making a local version of Who Do You Think You Are, otherwise Nine would be in there with a local version. — Glenn Dyer

Social networking benefits from financial crisis. As the financial crisis deepened and his employer teetered on the brink of collapse, Gautam Bose, a senior vice president at the U.S. bank Wachovia, found a discreet way to ponder his future and that of the financial industry. Bose turned to MeettheBoss, a new online social networking site for financial services executives. It was started in September — a timely introduction for a forum that helps nervous bankers connect with their peers. — International Herald Tribune

New law to protect identity of sources. Journalists and whistleblowers will have increased protection from prosecution under new laws to be introduced by the Federal Government. Changes to the Evidence Act will mean journalists may no longer be legally forced to reveal their sources to courts even if a person has broken a law in providing information. The changes will also introduce a ground of “public interest in the publication of news” that judges will take into account when considering whether to protect whistleblowers from having their identity exposed in court. Under the new laws, journalists writing on issues of national security will also only be legally obliged to provide information on their source if the court determines it necessary. — The Age

Independent not so independent. Daily Mail owner Daily Mail and General Trust is believed to be considering a bid for the Independent and its Sunday sister title, part of Independent News & Media. DMGT executives are thought to be wary of acquiring the papers because DMGT has debts of its own, but industry sources say the fact that sales at both titles are under pressure could present them with a rare opportunity to acquire a valuable national newspaper brand. — The Guardian

BBC host obscene. The BBC was forced last night to dispense with one of its most senior executives and suspend without pay its highest-profile presenter in the hope of drawing a line under the scandal over obscene phone calls. After four days of pressure, 35,000 complaints and an intervention by the Prime Minister, Lesley Douglas, the Controller of Radio 2, which aired the calls made by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross to the 78-year-old actor Andrew Sachs, chose to take the blame for her staff failing to stop the broadcast and resigned. — Times Online

Google Quotes. Google News had some months ago introduced a ‘quote extraction’ feature, using which one could access parts of the speeches or statements of important persons, compiled from various news sources. It had recently been expanded to quotes dating back to five years. This is a good example of a news archive based tool that is not likely to lose its utility value with the passage of time. And also a good example of the kind of innovation that is possible in re-packaging and presenting news in unexpected ways that might prove interesting to users. — Media Geeks

What ever happened to the innovative, arty magazine cover? I love magazines, but the current state of magazine covers mystifies me. October saw the industry shrink; layoffs and closures abounded. This week was especially bloody, with new cuts at Conde Nast’s Portfolio and Men’s Vogue, and Time Inc. cuts that could affect People, Sports Illustrated, and Fortune. The industry’s response to slowing sales has been to be to play it safe. Most cover images seem either bland or retro, as if all notions of innovation had disappeared. But have publishers considered that covers tested in focus groups and carefully calibrated not to offend might be part of the reason for flagging circulation? Wouldn’t it make sense to at least try to be striking and modern? — The Daily Beast

Working Class free from TV – Middle to Upper Class still enslaved – Marx Revenge. On February 17, 2009, television stations will throw the switch, and stop sending out analog TV signal in the United States. On that date, the millions of people who receive “over the air” TV signal (as opposed to cable or satellite subscribers) must have a TV capable of receiving digital signal, or their TVs will go dark. Consumers can purchase set-top boxes that convert digital signal into an analog signal (that they can view on their old televisions). But the set top box option isn’t being promoted strongly by an industry that wants consumers to simply discard their old televisions and replace them with new ones. — Take Back My TV

Peter Fray

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