The battle for Perth viewers, the bulk of whom are predominantly Channel Seven viewers, has recently taken a new turn with local editions of news replacing national 4:30pm bulletins.
Nine launched a bulletin fronted by Matt Tinney in mid-March while Seven was still screening a national bulletin from Sydney. With the time-zone difference there were clearly some advantages in having a local bulletin.
Two and a half weeks later, Seven fired back with its own local afternoon bulletin fronted by Natalia Cooper.
On Twitter, Tinney responded with, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. @NineNewsPerth The FIRST with a LIVE & LOCAL 4.30 News.”
But the gap between the two reflects the hard yards that lay ahead for Nine, and the way Seven enjoys an historic link with its audience that impacts on national figures every day.
Yesterday Seven’s afternoon news in the west was 34,000. Nine was just 7,000.
Thumping them both was TEN’s The Bold and the Beautiful on 56,000.
As Seven News Director Howard Gretton told Perth Now, “The result is a tribute to the professionalism of the Seven News team in Perth. It reflects the continued success of Seven News as the dominant force in TV news in Perth.”
As well as Chairman Kerry Stokes being a Perth local, Seven has a 43 year history with its Telethon, plus a local edition of Today Tonight.
Meanwhile, Nine has limits to its ability to effect change with Perth and Adelaide affiliates under the control of WIN TV.