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Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Content Survey Live: Part Two, A Day's News Upon The Swan.

Welcome, to Part Two of a week long mission, that is Content Survey Live. Today, we are now looking at 10 News First's Perth bulletin from Tuesday night.

In case you are reading this series out of order:


But first:

Reiterating the Ground Rules

Our focus, in Content Survey Live, will be monitoring Ten’s five capital city news services (a benefit of technological change, now allowing us to watch interstate bulletins on delay), in order of their ratings position within the network (with each market covered once) over a week, using the same criteria we used in the “Great Local News Study” from Kuttsy's Pitch XI last year:

-Locally sourced stories: that is stories reported by local journos. Really big local market stories with national impacts, also fit here (e.g. coronavirus lockdown in Melbourne). Voiced over local stories are counted separately.
-Live crosses: stuff that is used to embellish a story.
-Weather is not counted.
-Sport is not counted if it’s done by obviously freelance journos, or voiced over pieces: you gotta have dedicated reporters there, with their mug on air reporting a sports story for it to count.
And finally: Ten Brisbane will have it’s Gold Coast content tracked again during it’s night: to see if any lessons have been learned by 10 in eighteen months.

Now, we begin the second survey... Perth.

Profile of Market
RATINGS AVERAGE for 10 News First 8-19/07/2019: 54,000
RATINGS AVERAGE for 10 News First 6-17/07/2020: 64,000

Ten in Perth, has been through the whole centralization story before: back in the days of CanWest ownership of the network in 2000, Perth's news was centralized to Sydney: and resulted in the newsroom at 10 in Sydney having to pull triple duty (5pm local, 7pm outside DST/ 8pm during DST: (5pm in WA) Perth "local" (effectively Sydney presenters reading Perth stories) and 10:30pm national late news). The 5pm news bulletin was returned to Perth in 2008, and relocated from Dianella to Subiaco in late 2016, as well as gaining Monika Kos in 2020 after Perth's Today Tonight was axed by Seven in favour of a additional half hour of news, while due to timezone constraints: Perth is also the only market currently with a local weekend news service on 10, albeit produced in Sydney back-to-back with the national version that is seen elsewhere.

The NEW-10 5pm bulletin is currently the second highest rating commercial news service in Perth, but third overall (the ABC is a strong overall #2), trailing Seven by a huge margin, but the reaction towards a second centralization could see Nine (doggedly fourth overall, despite huge investment since becoming a Nine owned and operated station in 2013) potentially leapfrog 10 in WA if they can take advantage.

Let's first look at locally sourced stories:
The big lead on night 2: Two women from Adelaide breaking out of a Perth quarantine hotel.
-Perth Royal Show cancellation announcement, despite 129 days of no COVID-19 community transmission in WA, along with delays to WA's move to stage 5 restrictions
-Very confronting story about a attack on a elderly grandfather in East Cannington.
-Reece Sturgeon case (who spraypainted CCTV cameras), dressed as the Joker getting rejected entry to court,
-A sports preview in the first segment?
(Very loaded first segment: stronger than Sydney's on Monday, I reckon.)
Second segment: GPS tracking for DV offenders being introduced into WA.

How many of these stories were repeated post-6pm?
The quarantine hotel breakout, Perth Royal Show cancellation, East Cannington attack, sentencing live cross and Eammon Atkinson live cross were replayed in full post 6pm.
A total of five local stories, with three of those replayed post-6pm.

Next up, is live crosses:
We got a live cross from Perth's courts, straight out of story 1.
Live cross about a culmination of a major court case, involving sentencing.
A live cross from Washington DC to Perth: a 5am wakeup call for Eammon Atkinson.
Around the town in segment four: cutting champagne bottles open with swords!
A total of four live crosses with live cross two and three replayed post 6pm.

Next to come to the plate is sports presentation:
For starters, we start the first sports segment with a sports quiz question: long abandoned over east, as budgets got cut.
(Spoiler: Answer is all West Australian: especially in the field of giving away free kicks in the AFL)
-AFL coverage dominates this city's news: both local and interstate, including the guest teams playing in a WA hub currently: the Sydney Swans and GWS Giants (fresh off a Sydney Derby played in the home of the Western Derby).
-This deep AFL focus, led to a story on cricket season changes, being introed with the subject line... AFL on the background graphics.
-Piece on the West Coast Fever v Melbourne Vixens Super Netball game in Brisbane that only just concluded at the time the bulletin aired.
Not to mention, that the second sports segment of the bulletin post-6pm had fresh content, in the form of coverage of the North Melbourne V Brisbane clash: fresh AFL angles, even a piece on the Western Force rugby side's upcoming clash with the QLD Reds: with the only repeat being a piece on cricket.
Sports reporter visibility: zero, but the depth of coverage on AFL and other sports was superior to the NRL dominant coverage in Sydney on Monday, and deserves commendation.

And, finally: Voiced-over reports by the presenter:
-report on a child abuse case heading to court
-Warnbro car crash the previous night
-Drink driving Dockers player suspension: followed up in sport.
-FIFO worker smuggling goods
-Secret recordings in shopping centre.
(More local V/O'd reports prior to 5:30 than Sydney had in the entire 90mins on Monday night)
Top stories recapped at 5:30pm, but not at 6pm
(thus not giving the viewer a chance to flick to Rick and Sue).
A total of
five voiced-over reports.

Overall, 10's news in Perth, is a flipside to what Sydney produced on Monday. A decent product, great timing: the first segment wasn't a marathon, and had the majority of V/O'd reports with vision from the newsroom. The sports presentation was a step up from Sydney's on Monday night: But I ask 10, why the hell are you letting Gossage go? He's a asset that deserves a whole lot better (much like what Max Futcher had in Brisbane before going to 7 in 2014, and becoming 7's big asset): and is possibly 10's best sports presenter at this time. The absence of traffic reports is a refreshing point of difference, that 10 should be shouting from the rooftops at Subiaco. The only letdown I have with Perth is weather presentation: which needs to have more flair than just having someone sitting at the newsdesk reading a autocue, but sadly it's more of a limitation of the set at Subiaco than anything else.
However: I have huge fears for a post-centralization Perth bulletin on 10. These include:
-extending the first segment to match those on the east coast, when the current layout of Perth's bulletins should be rolled out nationwide.
-the uncertainty over whether or not the Perth bulletin will be pre-recorded, or worse: lumped together with Sydney and Brisbane into a Frankenstein's news bulletin that is relevant to none of these markets.
-The temptation to add traffic reports to Perth's news, by Sydney management.

However: I would rate Perth's news tonight, a 8/10.

RATINGS FOR TUESDAY NIGHT (Perth market): 87,000 viewers: comprehensively thrashing not just the Chase and Hot Seat in Perth, but Nine's news hour at 6 (which drew 62,000 viewers between 6/7pm).

Tomorrow: Adelaide comes alive with Content Survey Live, although the idea of a 10 logo shaped pizza sounds good... right, George Donikian?

(Video from D0nkeyshines on Youtube)

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