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Friday, August 20, 2021

Content Survey Live 2021 Night 4: Whatever Flys Your Keyte. (Melbourne)

Welcome, to the fourth 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 be looking at Melbourne, after significant changes to their product from last year. But, first: The ground rules.

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 fourth part of our adventure comes to the shores of Port Phillip Bay, to a bulletin that defeated adversity to win a silver medal and take two categories out in 2020's Content Survey Live.

The big question: Will we lose ourselves in Melbourne: Victoria's capital?

Melbourne came fourth in the ratings/seeding survey this year: because it was more or less a correction from 2020. When the 2020 ratings survey happened, it was the beginning of Melbourne's lengthy mid-2020 lockdown, when Content Survey Live happened last year, it was mid-lockdown, this year: ratings are down 28% from 2020 (important, as 2020 had Melbourne have the largest audience growth/loss of all five capitals, and placed it at night 5 last year.)

10 Melbourne's news opens with two local COVID pieces, and two live crosses (lockdown compliance and the announcement of 16-39 Pfizer expansion), inc. one feature that needs to be adopted network wide: posting of vaccination data. As we close the first window (14min: 30secs, a full minute shorter than Perth, and 3mins 30secs shorter than Sydney/Brisbane) we have a sports piece on Melbourne City W-League star, Rebekah Stott returning after a successful cancer battle and a plug for first sport segment at 5:45.

There, were some qualms we had though with the weather presentation: especially as it is more noticeable that some segments are pre-recorded, more a fault of the Como Centre news studio (much smaller than the foyer at Pyrmont used for Sydney, Brisbane and Perth news presentation), not to mention the crazy idea of having a panelbeater sponsoring a traffic report (that usually sees prangs galore), although it could be worse: having the Dashboard Doctor sponsor the segment.

We end up with a solitary V/O'd piece, on a Melbourne search.

Sport however, had a heavier AFL content ratio, than last year. All the AFL content and the Stott piece mentioned earlier were rerun at 6pm.
Thankfully, the sports trivia question's answer was shown in the 10play version of the bulletin: unlike last year, where the entire post-6pm sports segment was omitted.
(The answer to the Melbourne quiz, is coincidentally, the same subject as Perth's last night: Justin Langer.)

In addition, we had a piece in the second window on breast cancer research, and the first fresh story post-6pm in the entire run so far: a piece on the Suburban Rail Loop being... driverless.
The two stories on COVID were rerun, along with a fresh live cross after 6pm.

Overall: Five local stories (three rerun at 6, and one story exclusive to post-6pm)
Three live crosses (two in first window, one at 6pm)
Just one V/O'd report.
And zero visibility by a sports reporter on a sports story (the addition of one could have helped the Rebekah Stott piece)

Comparing Melbourne's bulletin with the two other east coast bulletins airing at the same time is like comparing V-Line's Vlocity program (which was tied in with track improvements) and the NSW State Rail Authority's XPT (which never lived up to it's potential, because the track standard was poor). Melbourne's bulletin is smooth as a Regional Rail Link broad gauge track, doesn't feel like you are hearing the bogies grind, and is not making notable switches onto other track like Sydney and Brisbane who feel like you are on a rough ride on a 40yr old XPT seated in economy exiting Sydney heading north.
This seamless product also had no crossover with the Adelaide product (which is surprising, but makes me think that the Adelaide product has significantly altered from 2020), unlike what is constantly seen in Sydney and Brisbane.

In 2020: Melbourne got 7.75/10 for their work at a trying time.
In 2021: Melbourne got 7.5/10

The key reason why Melbourne's ranking dropped by so little (compared to Sydney and Brisbane), is simply because of the limitations of the studio at Como in South Yarra, especially when it comes to weather presentation. There was a explicit reason why for years, Mike Larkan presented 10 Melbourne's weather outdoors: so viewers didn't have to look at a television set the size of their own that they were watching on to see weather maps and figures if it were presented in studio by the presenter.

The best alternative, is to possibly look at presenting the weather for Melbourne and Adelaide in front of a chromakey (until such time as a set similar to Sydney is acquired), so viewers can see figures and maps a whole lot larger and clearer.

RATINGS FOR THURSDAY NIGHT: (MELBOURNE MARKET): 126,000 viewers, up by twenty percent on last year (although, when Content Survey Live did Melbourne last year, it was mid-lockdown #2). These figures are still well behind the 5pm gameshows and the ABC at 7pm.

Tomorrow, we are off to Adelaide, to a market that should have celebrated ten years this year, since their news returned home from Melbourne. Instead, their ratings problems since centralization have triggered significant events in that market.

Ten News Adelaide, returns home, January 24, 2011 (from lilsmartykid7 on Youtube)

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