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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

media woes & revamps « Previous | |Next »
June 29, 2006

I've been watching the tumultuous upheaval at Nine for some time:--the slow decline of Channel Nine from being No 1, the costcutting ($15 million budget cuts), the extensive sackings (100 redundancies in news and current affairs), the cut shows and repeated programs, and the bullyboy blokey culture being exposed behind all the glitzy glamour. It's a pretty big crisis isn't it. Nine looks tawdry with the sheen gone--almost tabloid even.

Bill Leak

Many commentators say that Nine's decline is the effect of the forces of competition in the media marketplace working away. So Seven replaces Nine as No 1 in the battle for news and current affairs supremacy and the ratings race this year, because it is more competitive. Seven rules for now.

Sure, ruthless competition exists in the media industry and this means winners and losers. But this competition is taking place within the overall decline of free-to air television, despite the extensive government protection and the blocking of reform. It is a structural shift as free-to-air television is no longer the centre of the mediascape. This structural shift is also affecting newspapers: their circulation continues to drop, classifieds move online, and they too engage in costcutting.

Has Nine thrown in the towel? Or will Chanel Nine's news and current affairs programmes be revamped or remodelled. How so? Go the middle class tabloid route? They were already on their way there weren't they? However, that would make them one of a pack. How about becoming an Australian version of Murdoch's Foxtel in the US? That would distinquish them from the pack would it not?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:29 AM | | Comments (8)


Good point.

Yesterday and today, we talked about the jessica Rowe situation, in light of the Work Choices mess.

Seems as if today, the celebs are colelctive bargaining in response. See our blog if interested @

I don't know how tv makes money in the first place - advertisers I guess.

Channel 9's problem is it only has 2 or 3 good shows at all, NRL or AFL depending on where you live and whatever is on, on Sundays - the new CSIs

Oh the Sunday morning business/politics shows too of course

Other than that 9 has nothing.

yep, free-to-air television uses programs to build an audience to sell to advertisers. The more popular the program the bigger the audience and the more advertisers are willing to pay. Hence the emphasis on ratings--it measures the 'bigness' of the audience market for advertisers.

The rivers of gold is the advertising revenue.As you point out Channel Nine hhas few good programs, and as it cannot deliver the big audience it promises to advertisers, so the rivers of gold dry up as advertisers move elsewhere.

It's the constellation of mass market and mass television that is currently fragmenting, due to the internet.

It is interesting re Jessica Rowe. She is a media personality or celebrity who is faced with falling ratings on the breakfast Today show. She's probably very expensive ($400,000) and so Nine executives need to have her sacked in their cost cutting moves. How long can the expensive stars be quarantined from cost cutting?

I don't watch the Today show so I do not know what it is like. I know that Today, like Sunday is losing the ratings war with Seven, and so it is in line for a revamp.I presume that the Nine's news and current affairs shows will undergo a makeover---one modelled on the successful Fox News network in the US?

It is only a matter of a time before a Foxtel makes an appearance in free-to-air.Since Murdoch won't be allowed to do it by introducing a fourth free-to-air channel, who better than Packer.

Gary, the entry of Fox-tel into free to air is interesting. Maybe TEN might be the mechanism for them to do it?

But would they then need to divest themsleves of the newspapers (but keep the internet platforms)?

I slipped up there. I should have said Fox News in this paragraph:

It is only a matter of a time before a Foxtel [sic] makes an appearance in free-to-air.Since Murdoch won't be allowed to do it by introducing a fourth free-to-air channel, who better than Packer.

I don't know all that much about Foxtel. It is the big sleeper in the television market.It has a toehold and is now covering costs, but the media packages it offers to consumers are rigid, thin and one size fits all.

You pay a lot and get very little---unless you want endlessly repeating news headlines 24 hours a day. I use it to watch Parliament during the day when in Canberra.

Foxtel needs lots of sport to get more traction but free-to-air still has Aussie sport tied up.

Could one reason for the slow erosion of the Sunday program's audience be the considerable bias in political reporting that started about the time Jana Wendt became the host. Not that I'm suggesting she is responsible, I'm guessing there were management changes then too.

Until then appearances by Coalition and Labor pollies were about 50/50 with the occasional Democrat or Green. Now its about 80/20 the Coalition's way, and has been higher in the recent past as this page shows:

I don't watch Channel Nine's Sunday either. The implication of what you have pointed out is that Channel Nine was already taking the first steps to transforming itself into an Australianized version of Fox News.

What is missing is the very biased presenters eg., (Bolt or Ackerman); a greater emphasis of nationalism as patriotism; the emotional abuse and high intolerance of differing or non conservative views and perspectives etc etc

If that is the step to be taken---what other options do they have?---then they will kiss Jana Wendt goodbye and replace her with a shrill.

Andrew Bolt addresses this in his column
in the Herrald Sun on the ABC. He asks:

The challenge is simple: to join the 21st century. To realise that most listeners and viewers now know the "neutral" journalist or presenter is a myth. That most are as smart as a journalist and like to make up their own minds. That they can be trusted to hear a debate, in which all the facts come out, and still judge wisely.

Is there a model for this modern media? There is, and ABC TV last year ran a documentary trashing it. It's Fox News -- which came from nowhere to bury CNN and become the most popular cable TV network in the United States by a mile.

So there we have it. Fox News is the way to go.