The Winners: Packed to the Rafters was the most watched program with 1.755 million viewers. Last Chance Surgery on Seven at 8pm was next with 1.498 million and Ten’s NCIS at 8.30pm was 3rd with 2.452 million. RSPCA Animal Rescue at 7.30pm on Seven was with 1.402 million and Today Tonight was 5th with 1.343 million. Seven News was next with 1.343 million and Nine’s 20 to 1 episode at 7.30pm averaged 1.201 million. The 7pm repeat of Two and a half Men averaged 1.190 million for Nine and 8th slot. Next was Home and Away with 1.120 million at 7pm. All Saints averaged 1.099 million in 10th spot for Seven. The 7pm ABC News was 11th with 1.078 million and Nine News was weak (except for Sydney) with 1.070 million. Ten’s 9.30pm program, Lie To Me, averaged 1.044 million (thanks to the good audience for NCIS) and A Current Affair averaged 1.033 million in 14th spot without a “star” interview.

The Losers: The Spearman Experiment averaged 764,000 viewers. Not good. Transformers, the first run movie on Nine from 8.30pm, 836,000. Not quite good enough.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Sydney. Nine News’ weaknesses was evident in Melbourne and Brisbane and in the WIN-owned markets of Adelaide and Perth. ACA lost everywhere to Today Tonight and the Mick Gatto promo-fest. Ten News was weak; 723,000. It is especially hit by daylight saving. The late News/Sports Tonight, 465,000. The 7.30 Report, 790,000. Foreign Correspondent averaged 692,000. Lateline averaged 197,000, Lateline Business, 110,000. SBS News at 6.30pm, 149,000, Insight at 7.30 pm, 222,000, the 9.30pm news, 228,000. 7am Sunrise, 344,000, 7am Today, 283,000. School holidays having an impact.

The Stats: Seven won 6pm to Midnight All People with a share of 31.9% (32.8%), from Nine on a combined figure of 27.1% (26.4%), Ten on a combined 22.7% (23.2%), the ABC with 13.2% (13.0%) and SBS with 5.1% (4.6%). Seven won all five markets (but Sydney was very narrow, 29.6% to 28.3%). Nine leads the week, 30.0% to 27.6%. In regional areas Prime/7Qld won with 34.6% from WIN/NBN with 25.1%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 20.3%, the ABC on 13.1% and SBS on 6.9%.

Digitally: Nine’s GO was on 2.30%, which meant a main channel share of 24.70%, with ABC 2 next with 1.50%, ABC 1 on 11.70%, Ten’s ONE with 0.60% (Ten’s main channel on 22.10%) and SBS TWO with 0.50% (SBS ONE with 4.60%).

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Slowly but surely, Seven’s news supremacy over Nine News in Sydney is being eroded. Seven was beaten in Sydney, 285,000 to 304,000 for Nine. The 7pm ABC News with 290,000 viewers had more than Seven, which meant the winner from the night before had slumped to 3rd in market in the news rankings. Seven will surely bounce back tonight, but that should not be allowed to hide the fact that there’s something wrong in Sydney with Seven’s 6pm News. Seven lost last night for no apparent reason, but it should send an alarm to Seven management.

Seven News still won easily on the night across the country because of big margins in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. Nine is a basket case in Brisbane at the moment. Nine News is much weaker in Melbourne than the station is at the moment. Seven’s Sydney audience is usually impacted by school holidays and daylight saving. So should Nine’s, but last night it was least impacted. The loss in Seven’s Sydney audience has been apparent for a month or more.

The network can’t authoritatively tell Sydney viewers who will take over from Ian Ross. The tip is Chris Bath, who reads three nights a week, but she is claiming she will be able to do that and keep the gig co-hosting Sunday Night. Mark Ferguson joins from Nine next month. He will read 6pm bulletins in summer and Ms Bath is expected to go on holiday. Management is concerned about Ms Bath. She has it in her contract that she gets the 6pm gig and has told the world in Sydney via radio, that she has it.

But focus groups conducted by Seven reveal viewer worries with her stylish clothes and “image” issues. There’s said to be an audience perception that she sometimes looks more like a contestant in a beauty pageant than a newsreader. It’s totally illogical, but in the end viewers are king. Some of these audience concerns were raised at meeting of producers and journalists two weeks ago. Some of the talk there leaked out, but not the focus group results about Ms Bath.

TONIGHT: Spicks and Specks at 8.30pm on the ABC, Hungry Beast at 9pm to see if it gets a second wind. Nine has a certain program featuring a lot of nostalgia. Ten has not very much except NCIS Los Angeles. Seven has City Homicide. SBS has a repeat of Inspector Rex at 7.30pm. Nine again repeats The Apprentice at 10pm after that reunion show. It didn’t help last week, why this week.

Source: Oxfam, TV Networks reports

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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