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Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Content Survey Live 2021 Night 2: 10 News First Sydney: Sydney Edition


Welcome, to the second spectacular day of Content Survey Live: Five days of looking at 10 News Last, First as it looks post-centralization, and five days looking into the lexicon that is Seven's Brisbane news service... as it airs in regional Queensland. Tonight will feel like Groundhog Day... or was it last night? 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 second part of this adventure is a flipside: Monday's Brisbane bulletin made in Sydney had huge chunks of Sydney content dumped in. Tuesday's is a Sydney bulletin with chunks of Brisbane content dumped in.

The Seven Wonders, of locked down NSW await.

Sydney's bulletin was all set to come first (lockdown and all) in the ratings/seeding survey in late June. However, numbers from Brisbane ended up pushing Sydney to second. But: the content sharing between both Brisbane and Sydney bulletins, led me to call both Sydney and Brisbane with the same title, with few differences between both.

We open up the first window of the Sydney survey, with the ubequitous Sydney local window, 18mins in length. This window featured the first three local stories, being the big story in NSW right now: the evolving COVID crisis, with stories on a Sydney vaccination blitz, the ADF being sent to vaccinate regional NSW as well as the introduction of regional travel permits, along with a court story about a attack in Thornleigh that is heading to it's conclusion. In addition, there were two in-studio live crosses (on COVID numbers and longterm modelling and one local live cross (to Sydney Airport for Emma McKeon's return home, which also counts as a sports piece), as well as one voiced over piece on premium fuel hitting $2 a litre in Edgecliff within the 5pm-5:18pm window.

The Brisbane/Sydney window kicks off next, with a traffic update: not from the Car City chopper, but from the Car City Traffic Centre: a significant learning by the folks at 10 in Sydney, from Melbourne last year: where (as we pointed out in Content Survey Live's finale last year) their traffic chopper was still in the air during their extended lockdown, with the ingrained image in my mind of a empty Essendon DFO carpark still a poignant memory of the survey last year.
This window had two more V/O'd pieces of Sydney news (a caravan explosion (as 10 called it) at a Central Coast caravan park, and the Glenorie Woolworths python that went viral) and a full story about a Sydney company offering their own vaccination lottery.

The 6pm window saw the Sydney vaccination blitz story rerun (alongside the QLD COVID story and Toutai Kefu updates from the Brisbane 5pm-5:18 window) as well as another live cross for a Olympic homecoming, this time from Brisbane Airport.

Overall, five local stories.
four live crosses (although, two were in-studio)
Three V/O'd pieces.
and one sports presenter showing her face on her own story.

Sydney's take on a hybrid bulletin, is effectively a Sydney bulletin with token QLD stories in the latter half. But there needs to be significant changes made so it can stand up on it's own, and these changes can be as simple as swapping the 5:25 weather update with the 5:20 traffic update in Sydney, because the only markets with a heavy flickoff factor in NSW as a whole at 5:30, are the markets WIN operate in as a Nine affiliate. Any other significant changes can be done if Brisbane's news is produced separately in it's entirety (opposed to the shared window system between 5:20 and 6pm that has focused two nights straight, on news from Sydney as opposed to a semblance of balance of stories between those sourced in Queensland and those sourced in NSW).

In 2020, Sydney got a 6/10.
In 2021 however, Sydney's news, just barely passed the halfway mark: 5.25/10.

The Sydney local window was strong: in fact, it was stronger than last year in our view (along with the organizational learnings concerning traffic reporting in a extended lockdown), but the back end (which is shared with Brisbane) weighed very heavily on the score. Both the Brisbane bulletin on Monday and Sydney bulletin on Tuesday could have ranked higher, if they weren't tied together, and were full standalone products like they were before September last year.

RATINGS FOR TUESDAY NIGHT: (SYDNEY METRO MARKET) 126,000 viewers: although up on last year, these figures are still well behind the gameshows on 7/9 as well as the ABC's news at 7pm.

Tomorrow, it will feel like we are in the fastlane... as we go to Perth, and look at their Sydney-produced bulletin to see if there are visible differences between the Brisbane and Sydney product pumped out at 5pm EST, and the Perth product produced at 7pm EST.

Ten News Perth in Sydney: the last time around. (From ZampaKid on Youtube)

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