Category Archives: Television

Interest rates rise to 6.75 per cent

The Reserve Bank of Australia has lifted interest rates to an 11-year high of 6.75 per cent.

My question is: if the economy is going so well and both parties are suggesting that they are experts at managing the economy and keeping interest rates low, why are they both making huge election promises?

Answer: it wins votes.

But surely the Labor party could gain some ground on the question of their ability to run the economy, by ‘spending’ less on tax cuts and suggesting that the Liberal party’s sweeteners are economically irresponsible. Dah!

Meanwhile, I saw the interview John Howard did on 9am with David and Kim last week. This discussion was more influential than any other thing I have seen in the past year – even more so than a couple of Lateline interviews I’ve seen and the debate. If you like Howard, I would be spreading this one around!

Dancing with the Stars – Ep.5

Nearly two million Australians (1,906,000) watched Corinne Grant get booted off Dancing with the Stars last night. I do like Corinne but I don’t think she’s a dancer. She gave it a go, so good on her.

The real news is the ratings though. Channel Seven achieved the top five rating programs for Tuesday night. Home and Away (1,409,000), Today Tonight (1,385,000), Seven News (1,367,000) and All Saints (1,306,000), and of course Dancing with the Stars. For a two hour program, DWTS is a huge winner for Channel Seven compared to, for example, half an hour of Kath and Kim.

I was a bit disappointed with the ratings for Heroes on Thursday however (1,223,000) but for 9:30pm I’m sure that’s reasonable. I’m totally a fan of Heroes!

Also while I’m on the topic of television, I’m actually thinking about getting a HD digital set-top box so I can watch the new HD channels by Ten and Seven which are to be launched before the end of the year. From what I’ve read, Seven’s schedule seems to be a bit of a rush job, but Channel Ten’s offering looks quite good.

Side Note: if you like Channel Seven you can subscribe to their Jaiku feed for updates. Jaiku is one of Google’s latest purchases and is now only available to current subscribers. If you’d like to join Jaiku post a comment below (I’m going to be mean and only offer these to people living in Oz – so prove it!).

Vote for me! Democracy is dirty…

The documentary was called “Vote for me!” and was part of SBS’s week examining democracy, which they have called “Why Democracy?”.

And what did we see in this documentary? (If you watched the show, please comment; I hate talking to myself!) We saw Chinese children exploiting the weaknesses of the other candidates. We saw them canvassing their classmates for votes, and offering positions in exchange for votes (for example, ‘Deputy Monitor’ – clever!).

We saw parents writing speeches for their children and suggesting tactics for them to use – “Did he say he’d vote for you? Well, ask him in the debate who he is going to vote for, and if he says you, you can say he isn’t confident because he isn’t even going to vote for himself, and if he says himself, you can say that he is a liar because he told you that he’d vote for you.” We saw parents manipulating their children – “You can’t give up! You said you wanted to be President, and now you want to give up in the class monitor elections?!”

These children were eight and learning about democracy in a Chinese primary school. As I sat their, somewhat appalled, I couldn’t help but think how amazingly accurate this performance of democracy was. (Side Note: Australian election just 6? weeks away.)
So what is democracy? In my opinion, it’s about having a rigorous debate and then having an election where everyone gets an equal vote. We have this lovely, righteous view of democracy but it really isn’t all that pretty when you really step back and examine it.

In this election for classroom monitor, the kid with the rich parents ultimately won the race. Maybe he won because he exposed his friend as a decent, selfless liar or that he already had two years experience as prefect, or maybe it was the last minute sweetener!

Final thought on the documentary: my three arguments:

  • Democracy in Australia can be improved. Especially the donations to political parties which limit the ability for small parties to participate, and the outrageous spending on advertising.
  • If this is what children and teachers in China think that democracy is about – debates and name calling and conspiracy and strategy – maybe we need to work on that! Although I accept that these elements are present, democracy is really about the public debate (and the openness of that debate), that anyone can lead the country and that we all have an equal vote. On a side note, maybe my/our perception of socialism or utilitarianism is also somewhat un-reflective of the principles of those ideologies.
  • On a less serious level, maybe children shouldn’t be exposed to the nitty-gritty of democracy! Note to teachers: concentrate on the equal voting and positive campaigning (we want to know why you would be great at the job!).

World Swimming Championships – Uh oh

SMH: Tribal Mind reports:

They were breaking records and faces at the World Swimming Championships last night, but most Australian viewers didn’t want to know. Channel Nine’s devotion to the water was able to earn it only 23.3 per cent of the prime time audience, putting Nine in an unprecedented third place behind Ten on 23.5 per cent and Seven on 36.3 (ABC 12.0, SBS 4.9). Thorpie is sadly missed.

What Australia watched, Tuesday
1. Dancing with the Stars Seven 1.856m
2. All Saints Seven 1.576
3. Seven News Seven 1.448
4. Today Tonight Seven 1.307
5. Nine News Nine 1.276
6. NCIS Ten 1.255
7. A Current Affair Nine 1.204
8. Home and Away Seven 1.167
9. The Biggest Loser Ten 1.162
10. The Simpsons – 7:30pm Ten 1.142
11. The Simpsons – 8:00pm Ten 1.100
12. ABC News ABC 1.007
13. World Swimming Championships Nine 0.976
14. Deal or No Deal Seven 0.883
15. Ten News Ten 0.878
(OzTAM preliminary estimates, mainland capitals)

Will Nine cancel its Swimming Championships coverage or push it back later in the night? Or will they continue to put a program on in prime time that attracts less people than the ABC news. Oh my god – what have they done? I wonder if it is doing this badly in Melbourne. Do they have to keep it on due to media sponsorships?

I am having a wonderful week watching Channel Nine do so badly. What a gift!

LG TV’s display a certain distaste for Channel Nine programs…

Sydney Morning Herald reports:

Television manufacturer LG has failed to determine the source of a glitch in some of its televisions, which caused them to freeze when screening Nine Network’s programs, despite being notified of the problem three weeks ago.

The manufacturer said 10 models in its television range were affected, but that as far as it was aware, the problem only occurred in Sydney and Melbourne.

(Several readers – responding to this story – have reported the problem in other cities, including Brisbane and Perth.)

A statement released by LG this morning said “LG has become aware that occasional ‘freezing’ problems were experienced with selected TVs when viewing particular network digital programming in metropolitan Melbourne and Sydney over the weekend”.

But upon further questioning an LG spokeswoman admitted “LG became aware of of the issue three weeks ago, [but] did not have any data streaming recorded and therefore were unable to trace the problem”.

LG is getting some very bad press about this, including these two comments from LG customers:

I too have been affected. Funnily enough I reported the problem to them 6 months ago when I first bought the TV. Pretty crap that they won’t even advise customers directly when it’s fixed.

  • Posted by: Clark Kent at March 19, 2007 10:57 PM


It seems that the problem lies with both channel nine and lg, the problem usually occurs between 4pm and 5pm and on HD 90. Quick recovery is:

1 Unplug the power and coax (antenna) leads.
2. plug the power lead back in only
3. Do a auto search tune.
4. Plug the coax lead back in again
5. Do another auto search tune again.

FIXED, until the next time…:)

  • Posted by: matt at March 20, 2007 12:31 AM

More comments can be found at SMH: Mashup Blog.

Evidence the media does reflect society…

Two things happened today:

Some mothers do 'ave 'em
Betty and Frank Spencer: Some Mothers do ‘ave ’em.
Courtesy: BBC
1. The doctor on tonight’s episode of Some mothers do ‘ave ’em was smoking a cigarette in the hospital. He was in the waiting room with two nurses, nervously awaiting the arrival of Frank Spencer. Frank and Betty were coming to have their baby. Some mothers do ‘ave ’em aired in the mid 70s in England and I am presuming that since the media reflects society, we still hadn’t made the link between good health and cigarette smoke. It seems crazy that 30 years ago a doctor would be allowed to smoke in a hospital.

2. Also today, my younger sister found a Captain Planet figurine of mine (Wheeler – Fire). It was my favourite show when I was a kid. I couldn’t explain what the show was about, so I download the episode below from YouTube to show her. I never realised how good all the characters were and how they really kept hammering on about the environment and pollution. Find out more about Captain Planet here.

Isn’t it amazing how things have changed in the twenty years between Captain Planet in the mid 1990s and Some mothers do ‘ave em in the mid 70s. And also how vividly, television programs and the media reflect these changes back at society. We can look back at these programs decades later and get an understanding of how society thought and acted, not just about the environment and smoking, but about race, gender, sexuality, age and class.

Tonights episode of Are you being served “The Hand of Fate”, also revealed insights into class, gender and race during the mid 70s.

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Subway “New” advertisement tortures Australian Open viewers

Subway’s now old “New” advertisement has tortured many viewers as they tried to watch Seven’s coverage of the Australian Open.

The advertisement stars two people painting a sign which reads “New” and yet can’t think of the word in order to describe something fresh to have for lunch. The other actor (some American actor whom I don’t know the name of, nor care) shouts “New the word is new…”. By this time many viewers have changed the channel or hit the mute button and thus have no idea what the advertisement is actually about.

Let me think…

Get a NEW ad…

Get a NEW campaign… not one advertisement played over and over and over until everyone who ever considered buying your damn product no longer wants to…

Get a NEW Australian personality to star in your ads… someone that we actually know and care about…

Get a NEW media buyer… who realises fast food isn’t a low-involvement product, and in order to convince consumers to buy it you need advertisements which are fresh, new and emotive.

Get a NEW agency… perhaps one that is located in Australia and can tailor your advertising to the opinions and ideas of the local market… and one that doesn’t rely on repeating the word ‘new’ eighteen times in order to communicate that the product is in fact new…

Most truthful thing I’ve heard this week.

From Boston Legal: after Alan and Denny haven’t been speaking due to differing points of view regarding the war in Iraq.

Alan Shore: No matter my opinion about the war, I think there is something we can both agree on, and that is that this war is complicated. And I think complicated things, need to be talked about.

When people have strong opinions about the issues that really matter, they should be able to talk about those opinions openly. Complicated issues should be debated and discussed.

Obviously the government has had a bit to do with this shutdown of dialogue, with its use of phrases like “You’re either with us or against us”. Which basically says that anyone who says anything even remotely antiwar is (like a terrorist) against us. This leads to more emotionally stirring ways of saying much the same thing: you are “unpatriotic”, “unAmerican / unAustralian” and “that’s not the American / Australian way”, and that you are “unthankful for the thousands of soldiers who died for their country, so that you could enjoy freedom”. And it is very hard to talk about issues, when people are using these tactics.

I think this technique is used in other arguments as well. What common labels do you know of that are used to shutdown alternative ideological view points?

Hippie when talking about the environment.
Communist when talking about the problems with capitalism.

Morgan Spurlock’s 30 Days: ‘Minimum Wage’

Spurlock and his girlfriend, Alex, spend thirty days living on the minimum wage (around US$7 per hour). Spurlock uses a Temp agency to do a number of jobs, while Alex is employed washing dishes in a cafe. At different times they both have to go to hospital for treatment but find that the free clinic is understaffed with only 20 patients able to be seen after 5:00pm. He talks to people waiting in the line to find that some had been waiting since mid-afternoon. They are forced to go to the hospital and find the bills unaffordable on such a low wage.

Their apartment is unclean and unsafe, they have to rely on public transport to get to work and Spurlock takes on another job to earn more money. Their relationship is tested as Spurlock decides to splurge on his brother’s children who come for the weekend (although due to the editing this seemed a little rehearsed).

According to the documentary the minimum wage in America hasn’t been increased since 1997. The politicians argue that if the minimum wage was increased (even in line with inflation) the business world would cripple and staff would have to be put off. However, wouldn’t increasing the minimum wage allow these ‘working poor’ to actually purchase products and therefore help increase employment. At the moment they rely heavily on donated furniture and basic food supplies.

Last night I watched the Glasshouse and Corrine was saying that because few people in the New Orleans area vote, money isn’t spent on the area and, even in times of disaster, their opinion of the government isn’t really important. How does the American government get away with this, and why does Australia seem to want to follow what is happening in America in terms of economic policies? The government’s IR changes and voluntary voting are currently being discussed in Australia. I don’t believe that Australian politicians should aspire to achieve the American situation. Sure the American’s are economically prosperous but at what cost?