ACA forgets its audience. Did anyone see the train-wreck interview (aka The Generation Gap; aka  The Cultural Gap) on Nine’s A Current Affair as Tracy Grimshaw met teeny bopper boy band One Direction? Well, luckily for Nine, not many people did see it, as ACA’s metro audience plunged to just 547,000 viewers — from 884,000 on Wednesday night and 798,000 a week ago last night. It is the lowest metro audience for the program outside Christmas-New Year for years. Nationally, it was watched by 627,000, which was also well down on the night before and last Thursday night.

In other words, people who regularly tune in for ACA didn’t last night, or they turned off. That’s why established programs don’t go outside their established demographic skew — those rusted-on viewers suddenly become less rusted on when they feel they are being sold something they have no interest in whatsoever. It was a rare content blunder by the management of the program, and by the network.

An interview with One Direction would have been popular with the grandchildren of ACA’s core audience. As it was ACA failed to make an impact on the group’s core audience of 16 to 39 viewers, especially females — it was around the 14th or 15th most watched show in this demo. ACA finished fourth in the time slot.

If you want a bit more insight into what went wrong, take a look at the interview itself. In what was billed a “massive TV event”, filmed in front of an audience that appeared entirely composed of teenage girls, Grimshaw opened with an eye to history. On 1D’s fourth No. 1 debut on the Billboard chart, Grimshaw said that “no band has done this in the history of music” (presumably this is when ACA’s usual audience first grabbed their remotes in despair).  She continued in this vein for some time. “We keep hearing that the 1D bubble is going to burst — but it doesn’t, does it?”. Next question: “You’re not a boy band any more. You’re a man band. You’ve all got chest hair” (cue screaming). To her credit, Grimshaw doesn’t try to argue One Direction is a band with broad appeal, particularly among older demographics. But that’s the point. Hopefully now that the ratings have bombed her producers won’t make her do that again. — Glenn Dyer and Myriam Robin

Chairperson of the what? The Crikey bunker’s inhabitants spat out their coffees this morning as they read that one Georgina Hope Rinehart had been named “Chairperson of the Year” by CEO Magazine. Rinehart, after all, is famous for not attending board meetings — at Channel Ten she didn’t attend any of this year’s board meetings while she was a director, and her attendance has been suspect before. Who would hand out such a gong, we wondered? Does Rinehart own the magazine awarding her thusly? Alas, there’s nothing so nebulous a quick investigation could find. CEO Magazine is the local offshoot of a global title, owned locally by business-to-business publisher Beam Media Group, started by Chris Dutton eight years ago. It’s distributed largely in airport lounges, where, if one in five people who pass through read it, it estimates itself to have a readership of 250,000.

Rinehart’s award doesn’t appear to have been given out for her non-executive leadership skills (despite this being crucial to being a good chairperson, we’d have thought), but because she’s successfully led her own company, Hancock Prospecting, which she also chairs. According to Australian Mining, Dutton said she deserved the award for her persistence, determination, tirelessness and patriotism:

“This year, Roy Hill was able to secure the largest ever project financing for the development of a land-based mine anywhere in the world. The Roy Hill mine is symbolic of this ‘against the tide’ attitude.

“Her leadership qualities have attracted a committed and passionate team around her and ensured strong and successful negotiations of joint ventures and partnerships.”

CEO Magazine gave the same award to Rinehart last year as well, but alas, in 2013 she didn’t show up. She was in attendance for her gong last night. — Myriam Robin

Seven’s late bulletins. Around 9pm last night the Seven network put a news update to air on its 7TWO digital channel that was more than five hours out of date — it had an item about the late Phil Hughes being still alive in hospital as well as promos for the 6pm news. Just after 9.25pm Seven got its act together and aired an update news update on 7TWO that noted the death of Phil Hughes and had reports on what was on the 6pm news. The mistake is understandable, but should really not have happened. — Glenn Dyer

Ten’s days numbered, is it the orphanage? Next Tuesday, December 2, is not only the last meeting of the Reserve Bank board for the year, but also the putative deadline for bids for the Ten Network. We have a very good idea the Reserve Bank won’t move interest rates at next Tuesday’s meeting, but Ten?

Well, take a look at the Ten share price; as always, it seems to be telling a story. After a week or so of hanging around 26 or 27 cents, it dropped 1.5 cents, or 5.8% (in a day when the market edged higher) to 24.5 cents yesterday.

Normally when there’s some sort of bidding war for a company, the share price remains firm, or slowly rises as the smarties get a better handle on where the deal price might land. But a sharp fall five days before a deadline for bids is a bit odd. Perhaps no one but the Murdoch clan and their 50% owned offshoot Foxtel want Ten? Surely not. It can’t remain an orphan even at these prices, can it? — Glenn Dyer

Who says editorials follow the polls? Election-eve editorials are always a favourite punching bag at Crikey, but this weekend’s Victorian election has thrown up an unusual situation. Both the Herald Sun and The Age are endorsing Liberal Premier Denis Napthine, even though — as the polls have consistently shown despite a little recent tightening — he’ll probably lose come Saturday.

For a newspaper normally not shy of making its voice heard, The Australian used its editorial today to put a pox on both their houses. It ends:

“For all of Labor’s weaknesses, Dr Napthine and his colleagues have only themselves to blame for being on the verge of a humiliating defeat and a place in history as Victoria’s first one-term government for nearly 60 years …While Mr Andrews outplayed Mr Baillieu and has out-campaigned Dr Napthine, he and his team have not shown they are ready to govern.”

Vale Phillip Hughes. Every major paper in the country today paid tribute to 25-year-old cricketer Phillip Hughes, whose tragic death was revealed at around 3pm yesterday…

Front (and back) page of the day. The Daily Telegraph was especially poignant.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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