News Limited’s bias is at it again

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The Daily Telegraph’s headline “NRL obliterates rival codes in TV war” caught my eye. I don’t usually read the Daily Rupert, but was looking for another article someone had talked to me about.

Sydney viewers were “analysed” as follows:

Tigers v Roosters (Nine) – 471,000
Titans v Warriors (Nine) – 441,000
Panthers v Raiders (Nine) – 254,000
Bledisloe Cup (Seven) – 152,000
Swans v Bulldogs (Ten) – 129,000

A nice little kidney punch from the terror with the quip: “The biggest shock was saved for the Australian Rugby Union, whose showpiece event, the Bledisloe Cup, wooed just 152,000 Sydney viewers.”

Of course, sneaking in later were some facts like: “However, the Wallabies did have more than 70,000 people watching them live at ANZ Stadium, and 181,000 tuned into Fox Sports – traditionally the preferred telecast over Seven for rugby fans.”

Hmmm, so when you combine the Seven and Foxtel numbers, which you need to so as to calculate the actual number of people watching the game on TV, you get 333,000. Not paltry, better than the Panthers-Raiders game, and smashing the Swans (in the context of the Sydney market). Hardly “obliterated”.

Let’s not get into whether we count the actual crowds, which can swing both ways. The NRL’s three crowds would match rugby one, I’ll give that up.

And note we are dealing with Sydney viewers. So again it is worth noting the little fact for AFL numbers sneaking in towards the end: “Meanwhile, just 129,000 fans watched Swans skipper Brett Kirk and coach Paul Roos’ AFL farewell against the Western Bulldogs, despite 500,000 die-hards glued to the box in Melbourne.”

500,000 Melbourne viewers? So we’ll stay away from national numbers because they might not look so obliterating. It would have been far more interesting to see what the numbers in the various different TV markets were, and the overall national numbers. Assuming we could get an actual like-for-like comparison, which is difficult given both Nine and Seven often don’t show codes not involving a Sherrin at a decent time in southern states.

I wonder what the Sydney FC v Phoenix ratings were on Foxtel. The Daily Terror probably doesn’t pay attention to football unless the Socceroos are involved.

I have to shake my head at this jingoistic flag waving from News Ltd, with selective use of statistics. As they say, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Further, it is even funnier that News Ltd owns the rights to the NRL, rugby union and AFL (and football!) through Foxtel. So this article is essentially crowing about one subsidiary or product line of News “obliterating” another (incorrectly I would argue).

And the media wonders why it is held is such low regard. Christian Nicolussi has missed his true calling, in advertising (or propaganda).

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