Seven News boss addresses ratings slump

2013-02-28_0158Seven News Melbourne boss Simon Pristel has given an interview to The Age -an interesting move given he is a former editor for the Herald Sun.

In it he acknowledges struggling ratings against Nine News in Melbourne, and his inexperience in working in television.

But he defends his nose for a story.

”I’d never been in a television newsroom before. There’s a lot I had to learn and I continue to learn every day about the way the television business operates,” he says.

“The newsroom out there looks like the Herald Sun … the news judgment is the same. I’ve been an editor out there for seven years, I know what a story is.

”If you want to judge a bulletin purely on ratings, then, sure, we’ve got a long way to go,” he says. ”I’m confident with the team that we’ve got and that we’re recruiting, that we’ll get there. It takes a while … and getting back to lead position will take a little bit of time as well.”

Last week Seven News averaged 279,000 to Nine’s 427,000 in Melbourne. Nine has also beaten Seven nationally for both of the official ratings weeks so far.

In addition to dumping David Brown from weeknight weather, replaced with newcomer Giaan Rooney, Seven also had to face questions of Sandy Roberts exiting for FOX Sports.

The Age says Seven’s reporters are also “chafing at this insistence on stories that can be slapped with an ‘exclusive” tag.”

But Melbourne has long been considered a volatile landscape in evening News, with audiences frequently shifting between the two rivals, including mid-season.

”Clearly what was here last year wasn’t working, we were losing by a long way, so changes had to be made. I was given a remit to come in, make changes, and that’s what I’ve been doing,” he said.

Photo: The Australian


  1. I agree with Mr J about its all DNOD fault. Everytime it comes on I swich over to Nines Hot Seat, I cant stand Andrew O’keef. I think Seven needs to overhaul the 5.30pm slot first before they overhaul the news.
    I think viewers have had enough of DNOD and it clearly shows. Its about time channel 7 tried something new. Like bringing back Wheel of Fortune with Larry Emdur or another game show like Family Feud to see how ratings go there.
    I think guys DNOD has had its days and its time for Channel 7 to retire that show.

  2. Agree David but I have personally produced more top rating TV shows than most producers in the entire country and can see when a crock of shit is a crock of shit. If it smells like shit it’s probably shit.

  3. OK , the only difference is the lead in. I used to work in TV news/ current affairs for 15 years. It’s the lead in stupid! Thanks Bill Clinton!
    The bulletins are exactly the same…back in the days of “Brian told Me” it was different but today it’s cookie-cutter journalism.
    I have done 30 years in the belly of the TV beast and nothing changes. I could do this guy’s job tomorrow and probably do better… and don’t get me started on Helen Kapalos!
    What a joke — great one Neil Mooney you TV Genius !

  4. The biggest change needed is attitude. 7 News needs stop treating the viewer as stupid. When you use the exclusive or first on 7 line, make sure it is correct. If this is not correct then how can we trust the news to be correct.

  5. Simon Pristel has to be the worst person for the job. Seven News under Peter Mitchell is a flop and now Simon is chasing a shadow of a dream that is sprinting away. Seven news should be axed, leave it to Nine News at 6 to bring a reliable, honest and transparent account of the days news. The execs at 7 should all hang their heads in shame, they have destroyed what was an average device to beyond repair. Mitchell and Pristel must go now and take full responsibility for the news collapse. If they left the news team would be at least $1.5 million dollars better off.

  6. I can’t believe the attitude/arrogance of this man.

    Still, he’s presided over the continuing demise of the major metro daily in the country, I guess it’s appropriate that he now turn to destroying a successful television news show.

    I feel sorry for all the dedicated, long-term employees of Seven News in Melbourne.

    No wonder morale is at rock bottom!

  7. I’ll just say betraying the people bringing the news will be my breaking point. It started with David Brown. So if it happens again. I’ll probably be gone. And it might be years before I’m back. If ever. Because I’m not one of those viewers that don’t care about who it is bringing the news. Actually considering some of the ridiculous so called stories sometimes it’s often the only reason I’ve stayed i.e. the people. I watched Brian Naylor with Nine News from childhood until he left. But I won’t be surprised if they break me as a viewer. I suspect it’s inevitable.

  8. It’s all DOND’s fault. I’d be very disappointed if they start making changes and sacking people before they try fixing the 5:30 slot. 9 fixed their 5:30 after years of antiques roadshow(r) and failed gameshows, and that was the start of their recovery.

    All the talk of newsreaders, graphics, quality of content is irrelevant. Outside of the tv blogging world people don’t care between 7 or 9, the content is identical to the untrained eye. Most wouldn’t know the names of the newsreader they watch everyday and just watch the channel that the tv turn into from the night/morning before.

  9. ”I’d never been in a television newsroom before”.
    “I was given a remit to come in, make changes, and that’s what I’ve been doing,” –
    Change is good, but only if it is for the better. Meteorologist replaced by a ‘weather girl’ (?)

  10. No way. Won’t happen. The change being made is simply to lose the experienced staff. That never works.

    Amateur hour now (or half hour when they see fit).

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