How to fix the Logies

May 3rd, 2005

Glenn Dyer writes:

There are only two ways to make the Logies credible. Either TV Week needs to make the voting process transparent, or the award needs to be separated from the Packer publication.

This is especially so after one of the more average Logie TV experiences. Technical hitches, poor set design, bad audio and cost-cutting left many at Crown uninterested in what was happening on stage. It’s no wonder that by 10pm many had fled to the bar and an early start to the party. But not only is the quality questionable — so too is the objectivity of the awards. TV Week and ACP make their circulation, readership and advertising cost figures freely available on the website so why not tell us the Logies votes — unless there’s something to hide?

It would be a simple thing for the head of PBL and ACP, John Alexander, to order the release of votes: to have them counted and fully audited independent of TV Week. TV Week sells around 290,000 copies a week and even though it boasts it has 1.9 million readers, neither are big numbers compared with the audience that watches TV. Some industry folk estimate there are between 50,000 and 70,000 votes involved in the Logies, mostly from young girls who form the major target audience for the magazine.

Crikey has led the way in exposing the various rorts publishers get up to in their circulations, but TV Week would have to be a contender for dodger of the year by simply refusing to release any voting details for the Logies. The Logies audience of between 1.972 million and 2.15 million people might have been big enough for Nine to win the night, but viewers still preferred the series-two final of Dancing with the Stars, which attracted 2.3 million people.

The Logies audience was more than 400,000 lower than the audience for the 2001 broadcast, the first year of reliable ratings derived from people meters. It was also 13% lower than the 2.273 million last year. In short the Logies are a big audience grabber, but nowhere the monster that Nine executives continually hope they will be.

Unlike the Oscars, where winners aren’t known until the envelope is opened, Logie winners were obviously known before they were announced. How else did Nine manage a self-congratulatory on-screen announcement after each win by the Network? Nine’s resident psychic? That further devalues the worth of the awards and adds to the feeling that they are for the benefit of the Packer empire first and the industry a distant second. If the industry wants the awards to retain any credibility it should insist on greater transparency in the voting system.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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