How the newspapers reported last night’s events. At 7.40pm last night a teenager was shot after he attacked two policemen with a knife. The incident came at a bad time for the major newspapers, but most still managed to put the incident on the front pages.
Even Fairfax’s Age, oft criticised for its early deadlines by News Corp (and, let’s be honest, by Crikey), managed to put a factual account of the incident on its front page. The SMH did not. From The Age’s report:
“One man has been shot dead by counter-terrorist police and two policemen have been stabbed in Melbourne’s outer south-east. Police confirmed that those stabbed were from the joint counter-terrorism taskforce of the Victoria Police and the Australian Federal Police.”
Fairfax’s reporting does not include the information that the man was under surveillance by anti-terrorism task-forces (a claim first aired in the News Corp tabloids and confirmed by police this morning). Much of the detail about the man brandishing an Islamic State flag, for example, didn’t make Fairfax’s initial report. Fairfax’s report also did not mention deceased man having made threats to kill the Prime Minister. The alleged threat led the coverage in the News Corp tabloids, including Brisbane’s Courier-Mail, which reworked its front page for the incident.
The report stated that the man charged had been under surveillance following a threat he made against the Prime Minister.
The Daily Telegraph’s report was perhaps the most confident, stating that a “teenage Islamic extremist who made repeated threats against the Prime Minister stabbed two police before being shot dead in a terrifying battle last night”.
The Herald Sun even managed to fit in extensive comments from the midnight press conference given by police about the incident, which must have caused havoc at the printers.
In briefings this morning, police refused to confirm or deny whether the man had made specific threats against the Prime Minister. They also didn’t say whether his passport had been cancelled recently — another claim made in some parts of the press. His name has not been released. — Myriam Robin
Correction: An earlier edition of the above brief said the Australian’s print edition had no mention of the attack. Crikey’s edition did not, but 60% of the Victorian print run did.
Gillard popular in metro, but regional viewers preferred Home and Away. Julia Gillard’s night at 7 pm on Nine last night, and the figures weren’t bad, for metro markets. In the regionals, though, viewers turned on Our Julia and turned her off. That helped make it Seven’s night in the regions, especially in the main channels. Ten was third in the metros and regionals overall, and in the main channels in the regionals. ABC1 was clearly third in the metro main channels. Julia’s musings finished second in the metros, but fell to sixth nationally because of the thumbs down from regional viewers. She and Ray Martin attracted 1.429 million national/1.192 million metro/237,000 regional viewers. In fact, more regional viewers (260,000) watched the rotten Big Brother from 9pm than Julia’s murmurings — that’s a real tune out. And nationally, Home and Away at 7 pm with 1.536 million viewers easily accounted for Ms Gillard’s interview because of a much higher regional audience (556,000). — Glenn Dyer
ACMA finds against ACA on dodgy doctor segment. The Australian Communications and Media Authority has ruled against Channel Nine in relation to two segments aired on A Current Affair in October 2013. Those segments focused on doctors who allegedly gave out medical certificates to patients who were not sick, and involved hidden cameras in consultations with bogus patients. The original broadcast involved five consultations, and a follow-up segment was aired two weeks later after two doctors complained about the program. The ACMA said in a statement:
“The ACMA found that while the extended footage in broadcast 2 established that broadcast 1 was inaccurate, both segments contained inaccurate factual assertions that the two doctors had issued medical certificates for non-bona fide reasons, when in fact both doctors had investigated what they believed to be real medical symptoms and explored further treatment for these symptoms before issuing the certificates. The ACMA also found that one of the doctors was identifiable in the broadcast, and that the use of the recorded footage of the consultation invaded his privacy.”
ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said “there was no public interest justification in the program’s surreptitious filming of medical consultants, its inaccurate descriptions of those consultations and its editing of the footage to achieve a false effect”.
The ACMA wanted Channel Nine to make an on-air statement about its findings, but the channel didn’t agree to. Instead, Channel Nine said it would remove the segments from its website, include a link to the ACMA report, and include the matter in training materials for its staff. — Myriam Robin
Downton goes down. Downton Abbey returned to ITV in the UK on Sunday night, our time, and the reception from viewers was less than enthusiastic, compared to previous years. The program, which we won’t see until early 2015 on Seven, drew an audience of 8.4 million people (which is not to be sneezed at), down almost a million people on the figures for the first episode of the 2013 season. It is not the lowest, though — the first episode of the 2010 series averaged 7.6 million, so the program hasn’t lost its ratings mojo as the bald figures might suggest.
It still dominated the night though with an estimated 38% share, compared to 39% a year ago, suggesting the fall was more due to fewer people watching TV generally in Britain on Sunday night. The first episode was 90 minutes and it had the help of The X Factor as the lead-in, which averaged 8.7 million viewers and topped the night (this series is doing a lot better in the UK than in some of its previous seasons, and certainly better than the current series in Australia on Seven). And here’s an oddity, Antiques Roadshow, a staple of BBC One’s program in the UK (it is buried on Nine’s digital channels here) averaged 5.25 million at 8pm on Sunday night.That is an amazing figure.
Good news for Nine and Ten and Seven from the final overnight ratings for Monday night’s blockbuster start to the official 2014-15 US TV season. The oldies did well, and the two high-profile newbie programs also did well. The good news is for Nine — The Big Bang Theory is still a hit, despite the small hiccup over salaries for the stars a month or so ago. it was the most watched program of the night on CBS at 8 pm (18.03 million and 8.30 pm with 18.24 million. Remember Big Bang was moved from Thursday to Monday night by CBS to accommodate early season NFL games on Thursday nights. What is clear is that Big Bang’s appeal to its audience was so strong that it took its audience with it to the new night, which is no mean achievement in such a competitive marketplace. — Glenn Dyer
US ratings winners and losers. Scorpion (which airs on Ten, Sunday here at 6.30pm) was a hit with 13.8 million viewers at 9pm on CBS. Seven’s stalwart The Blacklist won the 10pm slot with 12.3 million viewers on NBC, for the first episode of its second season. For Nine, the news wasn’t quite as good about its high-profile new US series called Gotham, a contrived “prequel” about Batman. It averaged only 8.21 million viewers for Fox, and took the fourth spot at 8pm (but did well in the key 18 to 49 age group).
NBC’s The Voice was the big performer, averaging 12.95 million viewers from 8-10pm, according to the US ratings data. Another solid golden oldie was ABC’s Dancing With The Stars which averaged 12.76 million viewers from 8-10pm. The key demographic in the US is the 18 to 49 age group — success there means a program survives. The Big Bang, The Voice, Gotham and The Blacklist had a share from 3.2% (Gotham) to 5.9% (Big Bang episode one). Dancing With The Stars had an 18-to-49-age-group share of 2.2%, which is good enough for a program which skews old and attracts advertising support on that basis. It will be interesting to see whether viewers return to Gotham and Scorpion next week. Both series are now in the difficult period of trying to convert initial success into a longer-term survival.
The ratings for these programs could be boosted by the seven day delayed figures due out in a week’s time. This is called “Live plus 7 days” (L7) which will be the focus for CBS this year. The other delayed ratings category is Live plus 3 days (meaning there will be a report on Thursday of this week about Monday night’s performance). — Glenn Dyer