Tits exchanged for tats in ongoing 'ratings war'

  • Media
  • December 8, 2009
  • Ben Fahy
Tits exchanged for tats in ongoing 'ratings war'

3-News-NightlineFirst there's a press release from TV3: "November has seen Nightline pull away from its competitor TV ONE’s Tonight in all key demographics."

Then there's one from TVNZ: "The latest news numbers show Sunrise lost a quarter of its audience in November while NZI Business and Breakfast continued to edge ahead."

Prime examples of the 'nah na na na nah' school of ratings data dissection commonly employed by the major New Zealand TV networks.

So, who to believe? *Warning, numerous confusing percentages ahead*

According to TV3, Nightline has continued to dominate at night: in the 18-49 demographic – TV3’s main target – Nightline took a 27.3 percent share in November compared with Tonight’s 15.6 percent, showing year-on-year growth of 28.5 percent compared with Tonight’s decline of 14.5 percent. Take a bow Samantha Hayes.

Nightline has always taken a less serious approach than its public competitor, but the "innovative" and "edgy" Ali Ikram's facetious, 'factitious' snippets, like this one about the Copenhagen summit or his ridiculous staged lamington fight with a hippie, are becoming almost Jon Stewart-esque.

November year-on-year figures also show that, as well as nabbing the 18-49 crown, Nightline beat Tonight in its own target demographic of 25-54 with a 26.9 percent share. Tonight averaged 19.4 percent, which was down 14.6 percent year-on-year.

"Nah na na na nah," the release implied.

379,http---a323.yahoofs.com-ymg-newideanz-newideanz-743439050-1196661749Overall, based solely on the number of eyeballs, rather than the age of the eyeballs, TVNZ easily took the 6pm news title (not surprising, really, given that TVNZ took 11 of the 12 Qantas Film and Television awards for news and current affairs): ONE News averaged 578,250 viewers in November, almost double the 3 News average of 312,850. At night, TVNZ's Tonight averaged 179,200 and Nightline was nipping at its heels on 161,640.

But, what's this? TV3 says it holds the lead in the 18-49 demographic at 6pm with a 30.6 percent share, compared to ONE News at 29.7 percent. It also claims Sunrise was up year-on-year with a 4.4 percent rise in the 18-49 demographic and, strangely, 76.1 percent year-on-year growth among the 18-49ers in the Waikato.

But, what's this? TVNZ says Sunrise lost a quarter of its audience in November, with just over 22,000 viewers on average each morning in November, compared to 30,000 viewers watching on average each morning in October, a drop of 25 percent. And it also snuck in another little barb: Campbell Live’s audience dropped by almost 20,000 from October.

"Nah na na na nah," the release implied.

new-sr-logo-1Mark Jennings, TV3's news and current events guy, isn't too concerned with Sunrise's numbers: he was interviewed for the network's 20th anniversary celebrations recently and said TV3 as a whole was in a similar underdog position when it started up. That changed slowly and the network gradually built loyalty. But he holds great hopes for Sunrise and thinks it will eventually follow in the footsteps of its quirky, nocturnal news colleague Nightline and one day knock Breakfast off its retarded perch.

Which is all a roundabout way of directing your attention to our draconian overlord Vincent Heeringa, who espoused his views on the best ideas of the year on ASB Business yesterday.

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