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July news ratings put on spin cycle as rivals go tit for tat

TV ratings are a lot like politics: whether you’re winning or losing, the other side is always doing it wrong and, even in the worst situations, you can always try and spin things to make it look more positive than it really is.

On the balance of recent events, with a couple of plagiarism-related issues for TV3 and the ratings successes of Breakfast and Q+A on One, TVNZ appears to be winning the news battle at present.

Certainly, in terms of the flagship bulletins, One News dominated in July, increasing total viewers (up from 662,080 to 665,110), ratings and share from last year, while 3 News lost more than 65,000 viewers year on year (down from 440,820 to 375,190).

“Analysis of the 18-49 year olds shows that 3 News has lost share in its own demographic for six of the seven months of this year so far.  One News is now neck and neck with TV3’s 6pm bulletin in that age group,” TVNZ says, with a smug grin on its face.

A win’s a win, however and while the gap is obviously closing, 3 News is still claiming to have maintained a “stronghold” over the 18-49 demographic, beating One News 29.7 percent share to 29.1 percent. Whether half a percent still counts as a stronghold is a matter of debate.

In the 18-49 Auckland Urban demographic, 3 News claimed victory, maintaining its lead year on year with a 27.6 percent share, compared to One News on 22.6 percent. And in One News’ demographic of 25-54, 3 News is also reporting an Auckland-based win (26.5 percent vs 23.8 percent). The young folk still seem to like 3 News, however: in the 18-39 Auckland Urban demographic 3 News went up 4.5 percent to a 29.3 percent share, while One News was down 12.7 percent to 17.8 percent.

The jewel in the MediaWorks news crown is still Nightline, which won against Tonight in all key TV3 demographics as well as the 25-54s, recording a 5.6 percent increase to a 22.2 percent share while Tonight was down 19.9 percent to a 15.7 percent share.

“Nightline has pulverised Tonight and this is a great result for Rachel Smalley and the team,” says director of news and current affairs, Mark Jennings. “Rachel has stepped into the Nightline role after being our Europe correspondent and her journalistic experience combined with her natural warmth is proving to be a great combination for the programme.”

And let us never speak of Sunrise again.

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