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Throng Special Report: NZ’s Evening News Sports

Throng Special Report: New Zealand’s Evening News Sports Coverage

NZ's TV community website Throng (www.throng.co.nz) recently surveyed four free-to-air local news bulletins in depth over a four week period: ONE News, 3 News, PRIME News - First at 5:30 and TVNZ News at 8.

In many areas the four bulletins were very similar but there were also some surprising differences. This summary focusing on sports coverage marks the first of a series of releases comparing the news bulletins over this four week period.


How long are the bulletins - really?

Once advertising, upcoming previews, promotions and news bulletin summaries were discounted, both ONE News and 3 News had similar bulletin lengths on average - 40:14 and 40:58 respectively. TVNZ News at 8 on Freeview offered an average bulletin length of 49:49 - shorter than one might expect given the network is advertising-free. PRIME's half hour 5:30 bulletin averaged 20:34.

How long is the sports coverage?

Once upcoming previews, promotions and sports summaries were discounted, both ONE News and 3 News devoted a similar proportion of their bulletins to sports coverage on average - 27% and 25% respectively (average lengths of 10:53 and 10:05). PRIME News gave a much higher proportion of sports news at 36% on average (7:28). While TVNZ News at 8 was on average more than double the length of PRIME's bulletin, it devoted less time on average to sport (averages of 7:21 and 15%).

TVNZ spokeswoman Megan Richards said "we do not deliberately schedule more or less sports news on News at Eight. However as we spent more time covering other bulletin elements such as weather, business, world news and interviews than other bulletins it may seem that there is less sport on News at Eight".

Richards also commented on TV ONE's figures saying "One News bases its sport content on two basic principles: is it newsworthy, and are the pictures strong enough to sustain interest for New Zealanders. That's how we judge how much time in our bulletin is devoted to sport."

TV3's publicist Stephanie Taylor said "3 News takes its responsibility to the public very seriously, and this remains true when it comes to sports coverage. Our sports reporters and presenters are passionate about sport, and are dedicated to keeping our viewers up-to-date on the latest sports news and results both locally and internationally. We ensure that our reporters and presenters cover sports that they are enthused by, for example Hamish McKay as Rugby Editor and Shaun Summerfield with motor sport."

PRIME's Richard Sutherland said "we have no hard and fast rules about how much of each bulletin is "news" and how much is "sport". Everything is based on editorial decisions made on the day on what is most important. For us, what counts is a story's news value, whether it's crime, politics, rugby, football or tiddlywinks. For example, you may have noticed tonight's bulletin led with a sports story (All Black captain out for much of the Tri-nations through injury), because in the judgment of the EP, that was the most significant and newsworthy story of the day."


Weeknight versus weekend coverage

Sports coverage on all bulletins was slightly higher on the weekends than during the week. One PRIME News weekend bulletin devoted 48% to sport (average of 43%) while the other news bulletins did not give much over a third of their show to sport on the weekends.

Top sports

Rugby followed by rugby league were the two sports with the most coverage by each bulletin taking up an average of 43-46% the sports bulletin time. TVNZ News at 8 gave the most coverage to netball - Richards commented that this was not deliberate however many trans-Tasman netball league matches finish in time for their broadcast.

Note that while Olympics coverage may seem lower on ONE News than 3 News, during the survey period ONE News ran a number of Olympic "news" stories such as the Olympic team uniform launch and the Olympic torch relay which were classified as news, rather than sport.


3 News gave more coverage to motorsport than any of the other news bulletins. Taylor says "as TV3 is the home of motorsport with the A1GP and V8 Supercars we do make a deliberate effort to keep our viewers informed".

Top sports on ONE News:

1 Rugby 29%
2 Rugby League 17%
3 Soccer 12%
4 Cricket 10%
5 Netball 8%
6 Motorsport 6%
7 Golf 4%
8 Athletics 2%
9 Swimming 2%
10 Olympics 2%

Top sports on 3 News:

1 Rugby 26%
2 Rugby League 17%
3 Cricket 12%
4 Soccer 12%
5 Motorsport 9%
6 Olympics 5%
7 Netball 5%
8 Golf 3%
9 Tennis 2%
10 General 2%

Top sports on PRIME News:

1 Rugby 25%
2 Rugby League 21%
3 Soccer 16%
4 Cricket 13%
5 Golf 7%
6 Netball 5%
7 Motorsport 5%
8 Tennis 2%
9 Athletics 1%
10 Basketball 1%

Top sports on TVNZ News at 8:

1 Rugby 28%
2 Rugby League 16%
3 Netball 11%
4 Soccer 10%
5 Cricket 9%
6 Motorsport 8%
7 Athletics 3%
8 Cycling 2%
9 Olympics 2%
10 Golf 2%

Throng is a network of TV community websites launched in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the UK. The New Zealand site is viewed by over 125,000 people a month and features a mix of official press releases, video clips, viewer commentary and feedback, polls, episode summaries and more.


Data collected from 21/4/2008 - 18/5/2008.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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