Sunday, February 8, 2009
Opening Night - Sunday 8 February 2009
Last night was the first night the official 2009 Australian Television Ratings season.
The night was thrown into chaos with split scheduling across the board owing to the developing news story of the Victorian Bushfires which so far has become the worst natural disaster in Australian history.
All networks devoted extended coverage to the event in their Melbourne markets as well as additional bulletins at night, pushing existing shows all over the schedule
My chart attempts to make as much sense of all the moves as possible but a clear picture of the night won’t be available until figures adjusted sometime later in the week.
Anyhow here’s how they fared on the first night in
Seven had a big night – deferring their afternoon programming for news and pushing the debut of newsmagazine Sunday Night back to 7pm in Melbourne didn’t hurt them one iota, the new lineup of Sunday Night/Border Security/Triple Zero Heroes pulled a mammoth audience for it’s first outing – it looks as if Seven has successfully transplanted their Monday shows to Sunday night – but the real test will be up against 60 minutes next week.
Nine had the cricket all day and reaped a huge rating as a result, but it was their news coverage of the fires which stood out for this viewer, they seemed to have almost every reporter in their employ out at a different location bringing some truly memorable vision of the day.
Ten had the most uneven day and they were partly to blame. Ten have the unique advantage on big news days of being the first cab off the rank at 5pm, but Saturday, when these fires started (not to mention the hottest day in Melbourne’s history) saw Ten run with a national Sydney based bulletin, giving Sydney stories priority over the unfolding crisis.
Sometimes Ten’s national weekend bulletins are interesting because you get to see a bit of what is going on across the country as compared to the more parochial market leaders – but on days like this a local approach is really needed.
By Sunday Ten had realised their error and had brought in Mal Walden for a special hourlong Sunday bulletin but viewers ignored them in favour of Seven’s early coverage.
This result, and the decision to persist with Out of the Blue saw Ten’s share fall dramatically last night. The Biggest Loser was easily dropped by a news hungry public although they recovered nicely with So You Think You Can Dance – proving the show has a devoted audience – Rove got off to an inauspicious start, I suppose people weren’t much in the mood for snarky fun after all sheer horror – they’ll pick up next week.