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Media briefs

Mar 17, 2014

Media briefs: Hockey the critic … 2DayFM wins … Bob each way …

Joe Hockey (and much of the country) was unhappy with both the ABC and Sky's coverage of Saturday night's elections. Who knew South Australia would be more interesting? Plus other media tidbits ... top of the pops. There were no changes in this morning’s Nielsen’s online ratings, which reveal the top 10 Australian news websites by traffic. But there were plenty of interesting tidbits. Australians spent, on average, 37 hours and 12 minutes looking at news content in February, and visited twice as many pages on than they did on The Sydney Morning Herald‘s website. Australians spent an average of one hour, 37 minutes on in February.

MailOnline is still the 10th most-visited website for Australians, while The Guardian is up 15% according to Nielsen, but isn’t in the top 10. The Australian also had a good month — with audience up 23% as it surpassed a million monthly visitors. It’s a good result, but still a way from cracking the top 10 (Mail Online had 1.3 million visitors).

All the top 10 recorded larger audiences in February than in January. Nielsen says this is at least partly seasonal. As the year gets under way, people spend less time browsing shopping and holiday websites and start consuming more news instead. — Myriam Robin

What’s a national broadcaster to do? Two elections on the same night, both predicted to be clear-cut Liberal victories. As it turned out, Tasmania had Antony Green, but South Australia had a far more interesting result. So who got the bulk of the coverage? Much to the frustration of election watchers, both ABC and Sky stayed with the Tasmanian clear-cut election result while SA’s race went down to the wire. It earned both stations a rebuke from Treasurer Joe Hockey, who panned their “hopeless broadcast priorities”.

No doubt complicating the coverage for both stations was the fact that with a clearer result, the Tasmanian leaders gave speeches far earlier in the night. An ABC spokesman told us that while there’s no formal requirement for the national broadcaster to cover the speeches, it’s expected “as part of balanced and comprehensive coverage”.

Luckily, South Australians with TVs were ably served by the commercial stations as well as ABC1, which aired local election broadcasts. Bad luck for those watching on their computers though. — Myriam Robin

A win in court for 2Day over ACMA. 2DayFM has won its appeal to suppress an Australian Communications and Media Authority draft ruling which found it breached the New South Wales Surveillance Devices Act. Part of 2DayFM’s license prevents it from using its broadcasting service “in the commission of an offence”, so the preliminary ruling by ACMA that it had breached the act by airing the ‘Royal Prank’ telephone call could have led the regulator to shut down 2DayFM. But the station’s lawyers argued that by issuing the ruling, the regulator was acting as “policeman, prosecutor, judge, jury, prison warden and parole officer”.

In November last year, ACMA’s argument was upheld by Justice Richard Edmonds, but it has now been overturned by the full bench of the Federal Court. ACMA can now appeal the decision to the High Court, or can release the report without the offending section (making it far less likely the station will be shut down over the offending incident). — Myriam Robin

Front pages of the day. It’s all sewn up in Tasmania, but both party leaders in South Australia are wooing independents in the hope of forming government …

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