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Thursday, August 19, 2021

Content Survey Live 2021 Night 3: "It Should Have Stayed In Subiaco" (i.e. Perth)


Welcome, to the third 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 a hell of a lot different: especially as we are now watching Perth's 5pm bulletin: Will the 2hr delay actually help it out? 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 third part of this adventure, is looking at the bulletin that should have been left alone, let alone not shifted to Sydney during 10's cuts last year, purely because of it's timezone and it's sports focus (that is completely different than those who live in Sydney and Brisbane).

Well the sun's going down in ten seconds... 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1... in WA that is.

Perth's bulletin was a stable third, throughout the survey/seeding event in June. But, it showed a 7% decline from 2020: likely attributed to Nine introducing a 5pm bulletin into that market in December last year, with the former anchor for Perth's 10 News bulletin, Monika Kos (that was let go by 10 in September's cuts) presenting. Lockdown effects were minimal in this market, unlike Sydney and Brisbane.

We open the first window (15:30, two minutes and thirty seconds shorter than Sydney and Brisbane), with two consecutive live crosses (one to Jandakot Airport, concerning a fire, and another straight afterward concerning a shooting in a Rockingham cemetery). The Perth COVID piece (highlighting significant changes to the NSW/WA travel arrangements) actually airs third instead of first (as what would have happened if Sandra got stuck reading a Perth window). We also get full stories on a midwife protest... in of all places: Subiaco, and a full WA Olympic welcome home piece in sport before 6pm.

The Jandakot and Rockingham live crosses, the WA Covid piece, midwife story and V/O'd piece on a court case on a High Wycombe break-in from last year were all replayed after 6pm.

Unlike Sydney and Brisbane: the weather and sports segments were done live, specifically for the Perth market: including having sports presentation done in Perth.

A key note here: the first live weather wrap is straight at the start of the second window, as opposed to the tail end of the second window in Sydney and Brisbane.

And live is what the Perth bulletin feels like: especially with a high amount of voiced over pieces relevant to the market in both news and sport: which has retained the trivia (Justin Langer's 23 centuries in 105 tests is the answer by the way) and deep AFL focus, although it no longer follows up with fresh angles after 6pm.

Overall: Three local stories in full.
Two live crosses (that were reutilized as stories after six)
A impeccable six v/o'd pieces (more than night 1 and 2 combined), with one of those reutilized after six.
And the fact that sports presentation to Perth is still a local effort (unlike Brisbane) is a two point advantage.

Perth's time zone has been the greatest benefit to the 10 News Perth product, meaning you could still retain a local presence despite the majority of the bulletin being presented in Sydney: something 10 did well twenty years ago. It shows you what 10 should have done with the Sydney and Brisbane fusion... that is, not fused them with a format that works in neither city. However, with the inevitable fight between 10 and 9 in WA, 10 may well be wise to listen to the title of this post.

"It should have stayed in Subiaco".

Because if Nine pull a Adelaide in Perth (that is, achieve success if Rick/Sue ultimately retire at 7), it may well force 10 to bring Perth's bulletin home, like they did in 2008.

In 2020, Perth got a 8/10.
In 2021, however: Perth got a 8/10.

For Perth to retain the same ranking, despite all the cuts to their bulletin, is a remarkable achievement. The 8/10 ranking last year, won them our gold medal. This year, it may well prove the difference between dedicated local bulletins in all markets, and news content fusions that don't quite work, especially if the investment and will is lacking by 10 themselves to rectify them.

RATINGS FOR WEDNESDAY NIGHT: 48,000 viewers: down by nearly fifty percent on last year (which last night was incidentally, the same date, as the Perth survey in last year's Content Survey Live) but, critically: this bulletin is no longer thrashing both gameshows (with The Chase now ahead of 10's news) or Nine's 6pm product (historically a poor rater itself).

Tomorrow, it's off to Melbourne. To whet your appetite, we have a throwback to a early Mal's Melbourne story from 1987: The "Mal", of course being Mal Walden, at that time, a fresh addition to 10's team in Melbourne (after a departure from Seven).

Mal's Melbourne: TS Melbourne Naval Cadets, 1987 (From MooksTube on Youtube)

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