Three more weeks of ratings battle The Seven Network has started shutting up shop for 2008, even though the official ratings battle still has three and a bit weeks to go. Last night it rested Border Security and The Force at 7.30pm and 8pm, and started using repeats of City Homicide at 8.30pm, and lost the night to Nine. The reason was to be found in a statement issued yesterday in which the network claimed victory for the ratings year. Seven replaced the 7.30 and 8pm programs with old unused episodes of The Rich List (it started there and then was switched to Saturday nights where it bombed). Seven days is now saving the fresh episodes of programs like Border Security, the Force and City Homicide for the 2009 ratings year. Nine won last night with repeats of Two And A Half Men proving popular from 7 pm to 8 pm and CSI won the 8.30 pm slot against the repeat of City Homicide.

No repeats or old programs though in Seven’s line up tonight with fresh episodes of The Zoo, Find My Family, Packed To The Rafters and All Saints. Seven’s line up tomorrow night also has fresh eps in it of programs like Criminal Minds and Crash Investigation Unit. With Seven dominant on Friday nights thanks to the News, Today Tonight, Home And Away and Better Homes and Gardens, it obviously thinks it can get away by running dead Monday nights for the next three weeks until ratings end early December.

It can, as it detailed in a release yesterday:

Since the conclusion of the Olympic Games, Seven has won every week in primetime and won 47 of the 69 primetime nights (Nine has won 21 nights and Ten has won one night). The past four weeks has been Seven’s best monthly survey audience in more than a decade.

Seven wins the year on weekly wins (25 weeks) with only 4 weeks remaining in the current television year.

Across this year — and with four weeks remaining in the television season — Seven is now only six nightly wins from surpassing its overall survey performance in 2007.

Excluding the Olympic Games, Seven has a 28.4% share across primetime for the year-to-date – only down marginally on its market-leading performance last year. Nine’s year-to-date share, excluding the Olympic Games, is 27.3% – up only 0.3% on its share last year and its second worst audience share in its history. Ten’s non-Olympic Games primetime share of 21.2% is its worst performance in nearly a decade.

Nine’s David Gyngell has been using the lift in its share (including improvement in 25 to 54 and 16 to 39) to argue for a 35% share of ad revenues. — Glenn Dyer

Daily Tele good on photo galleries not so good on electoral maps. On page 10 of the Daily Telegraph today, they’ve got a map of the US divided into red and blue, with 8 toss up states. Interestingly, they’ve got Colorado in red (Republican) even though Real Clear Politics has Obama ahead by 5.5 points (and even Murdoch’s Fox news has them ahead by 4 points). It was strange they included Iowa, New Hampshire, Virginia and Ohio as toss-up states — the Democrats have double-digit leads, or close to it, in all those places — while counting a number of states as red, when clearly they’re toss-ups. Examples are Montana (Republican +3.8%); Indiana (R +1.4%); Georgia (R+4%); Missouri (R+0.5%); and Arizona (R+3.5%). Thought it was interesting, given Murdoch’s clear views on Obama at the weekend — Fairfax’s Jon Dart

The young Murdochs: who will succeed? Vanity Fair is running another excerpt from Michael Wolff’s The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch. This one is about the (non) struggle for succession about Murdoch’s offspring. — Greenslade @ the Guardian

‘Embeds’ look to life after U.S. campaign. As politicians enter the presidential primary fray, television networks assign staff members – variously called campaign “embeds,” off-air reporters or producers – to shadow them, video camera in hand and laptop in backpack. After each campaign event, the embeds dutifully send summaries to their news divisions, flagging any news-making nuggets. The field of journalism is changing dramatically, so there’s definitely some trepidation about whether companies will be hiring,” he said by phone Friday. As financially struggling newspapers cut back on their coverage from the campaign trail, the TV embeds and their counterparts from national newspapers have become the primary witnesses to the campaigns of McCain and his Democratic opponent, Senator Barack Obama. — International Herald Tribune

Wal-Mart’s media tack for tough times. Wal-Mart’s “Save money. Live better” tagline seems to be translating to its media strategy, as recent buys on national radio and targeted cable networks such as CNBC have helped boost sales for some of the retailers biggest initiatives. Last week, Wal-Mart’s exclusive retail sale of AC/DC’s “Black Ice” produced big results for the band, helping to move 784,000 copies during its first week in stores. — Advertising Age

Nicaragua’s “witch hunt” raises electoral concerns. A government probe of political dissidents and journalists has caused violent clashes in Nicaragua and concern abroad as the country heads into municipal elections Nov. 9. A statement by U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood criticized Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s verbal attacks against opponents, as well as police raids against two non-governmental organizations in what Ortega’s critics say is a wide-reaching “witch hunt” against the opposition. — World Politics Review

Peter Fray

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