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Saturday, August 21, 2021

Content Survey Live 2021: 27,000 Reasons Why Adelaide Got: Night 5.


Welcome, to the fifth spectacular day of Content Survey Live: Five days of looking at 10 News Last, First as it looks post-centralization (culminating today), and five days looking into the lexicon that is Seven's Brisbane news service... as it airs in regional Queensland (which begins on Monday). Tonight, we look at Adelaide: a market whose ratings for 10 have been completely smashed in twelve months. Let us begin again, by reminding you of the ground rules for the first week:

The Ground Rules

Our focus, in Content Survey Live (particularly in it's first week), 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 in August, 2019.

-Locally sourced stories: that is stories reported by local journos. Really big local market stories with national impacts, also fit here. 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: especially important, as last year we literally got on the night TVQ's news was surveyed a bulletin where no GC content aired at all.

10 Week:

The fifth and final part of the 10 adventure is looking at the market where the effects of centralization have hit the hardest. Hello Adelaide.

But will a centralized Adelaide news service for 10 have a clearly defined character, or will it just be a news service presented in Melbourne to a market that is no longer interested in their product?

In our ratings/seeding survey, 10 Adelaide, performed a unprecedented move. It dropped 44% from 2020, while the centralization move has triggered seismic shifts in Adelaide TV news, including Nine winning it's first week at 6pm in nearly two decades earlier this year, with Nine's gamble eighteen months ago to move their local 4pm news to 5pm paying off, with the Adelaide 6pm news market being a lot closer proposition these days thanks to Nine being there at 5, when 10 abandoned Adelaide.

We open the first window, with three local stories, (a carjacking (where the home security footage came second hand), SA COVID numbers and a overpass hitting a critical construction stage) and three voiced over pieces (A stolen car in Elizabeth, a robbery at Millicent and a gorilla at Monarto Zoo).

It all goes downhill from here, beginning with a sound failure on Jennifer Keyte's end during the preview for the 5:45 sports window (which the 5:45 sports reports, are shared with Melbourne)
The lack of immediacy for Adelaide viewers is suddenly apparent, once the second window arrives, so we did a shocking move: We loaded up the Melbourne stream and ran it side by side.
Outside pre-recorded headlines, weather and silly shorts to fill a traffic report-sized gap (including viewer photos and even Jennifer Keyte reading out tomorrow's Adelaide speed camera locations) it was a exact duplicate of Melbourne from 5:18 to 5:50. Melbourne's was live. In Adelaide, it's 1/2hr delayed news, and leaves no wriggleroom to report any breaking story in that city: thus viewers just go elsewhere.

However, the sheer advantage of Adelaide's timezone, allows for a critical piece of infrastructure, come 6:02 (62mins too late for many), the first piece of live news into Adelaide on 10 that day... and you only ran one fresh story: a live cross into the Variety Bash hitting it's climax.
The fact that the post-6pm sports segment got a Adelaide-specific cross from Marvel is applauded, despite the original cross airing half a hour after it did in Melbourne.

But the big question now lies.
Overall: Four local stories (1 post 6pm, all others reruns)
One news live cross (post 6pm)
Three V/O'd reports
And a sports presenter visible for a dedicated cross, along with shaking up the order of the post-6pm sports wrap.

In 2020, Adelaide got 7.5/10 (for a bulletin that was still live and local for 90mins)

In 2021, Adelaide got 3/10.

The extra .75 separating it from Brisbane (that got 2.25/10 on Monday), is purely because Adelaide had live and local at 6pm (something Sydney and Brisbane lack), however the steep drop overall, is purely upon 10 for treating those same viewers with contempt, by not being able to deliver immediacy at 5pm, especially when you have a healthy competitor, who has made significant gains at your expense. 

RATINGS FOR FRIDAY NIGHT (Adelaide market): 21,000 viewers: down on last year (to be expected), but most critically: the bulletin was comprehensively thrashed by Nine, whose 5pm live and local news drew 41,000 viewers (and rated just under 7's average for 5-6).

Well, that is now it for Week 1, and the 10 survey. Five nights of reviews, and five nights of wildly different products to deal with.

The winners in this survey:
The leader in local stories: A tie between Melbourne, and the Sydney/Brisbane hybrid.
The leader in live crosses: Sydney
The leader in sports reporter visibility: Melbourne/Adelaide hybrid on Friday night
And finally, the leader in V/O'd reporting: Perth

Now, we have the overall standings for week 1, of Content Survey Live.

Gold to Ten News Perth with a 8/10
Silver to Ten News Melbourne with a 7.5/10
Bronze to Ten News Sydney with a 5.25/10
4th to Ten News Adelaide with a 3/10
Wooden spoon to 10 News Brisbane, with a 2.25/10

The sheer fact, the two bulletins with the worst connection to their respective communities after centralization rank at the bottom of this list should indeed be a wakeup call for ViacomCBS executives.
Brisbane's ratings would be in the same toilet as Adelaide, if Nine re-entered the local fray at 5:30 in the Brisbane market specifically (it all but owns the Gold Coast, alongside 7) but, Adelaide has a long way to go to rescue itself out of the toilet, before the inevitable flush happens, and Adelaide's bulletin is neatly folded into Melbourne's.

However: Ten needs more resources in it's news department badly. I'll be cheering when they inevitably bring Brisbane's news home, but if there isn't the investment to make such a bulletin work viably, people will just simply pass over what 10 calls news, and go and find it elsewhere (especially in regional Australia where Southern Cross is doing the bare minimum, and is literally forcing people to go to Sky News instead of pushing it's content supplier to do more for their news output)

10 is at a significant crossroads. Extinction of local newsrooms is merely a signature from a boardroom pen away, and it needs to be avoided at all costs, because metropolitan viewers won't be as easy to force to Sky.

I just hope such a event isn't being thought of right now.

This would have ended the Content Survey Live event if we were to duplicate the format of 2020.

I can say to you now, this event is not over yet.

On Monday night (and all through next week), we take stock, of what news regional Queenslanders miss out on, thanks to Seven squeezing 35mins of news into a 15 minute space.

You'll also find out on Monday night, why "Lexicon News" is called that name.
Especially, as it's like... talking to a wall.

Dan Hartman's "Talking To The Wall" from the film "Perfect": (From Something Weird Stand on Youtube)

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