Seven taking Nine to court over breakfast battle


We were about due for a network stoush, and it has come in the form of Seven taking Nine to court over claims that Today is the #1 breakfast show.

Seven is taking legal action hoping Nine will have to remove its promos. Nine announced it had won the year after claiming 21 of 40 weeks won. But Seven maintains it leads in national numbers and the race is still too close to claim a winner.

Yesterday at Seven’s “Newfronts” CEO Tim Worner described Sunrise as being #1 at Breakfast.

But the legal spat may overshadow Seven’s 2017 announcements, which include bio dramas on Shane Warne, Paul Hogan & Olivia Newton-John and new Reality TV titles. Press is already giving more attention to the network war than talking up the shiny new shows. Like it or not a negative is way juicier than a positive.

The brawl over who can claim to be the leading show also emerges from an industry that uses hyperbole in network promos all the time. Was the Home and Away season premiere really “The most anticipated moment of 2016? ” Is You’re Back in the Room really “The television phenomenon taking the world by storm?”

Shaun Miller, media and entertainment lawyer, told TV Tonight, the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, comprising the Australian Consumer Law, prohibits a person from engaging in conduct that is likely to mislead or deceive.

“When Hungry Jacks states that ‘the burgers are better at Hungry Jacks’, that’s a mere advertising puff which cannot be measured in any way; it is a purely subjective claim that is not be likely to mislead or deceive any consumers and is not a false or misleading representation under the Australian Consumer Law,” he said.

“However, when Nine makes a definitive statement that Today is Australia’s “favourite breakfast program”, unless Nine can prove that Today is the highest rating breakfast program across the entire Australian population, then Nine is technically breaching the law.

“Of course, Nine would be within its rights under the law to claim that Today is Australia’s most ‘informative’ breakfast program, or most ‘entertaining’ breakfast program.  Those descriptions are subjective and are not able to be scientifically proved or disproved.

“But the word ‘favourite’ means ‘most popular’ which means ‘has the most viewers and therefore the highest ratings.'”

Nine is expected to argue that Seven has used similar metrics for some of its claims in the past.

While we’re at it, there is smoke and mirrors in Breakfast TV ratings everywhere you look.

For starters the published ratings do not reflect the average of the entire show. They reflect the average of 7-9am. Both shows code a separate number for the audience before 7am.

Both shows also run past 9am to around 9:15am in order to prop up numbers for The Morning Show and Today Extra. That’s been a bug bear of Studio 10‘s for quite some time. OzTAM takes no action that requires them to address this, either in their numbers, nor in their incorrect EPG timings.

So the use of language and measurement is already open to wild interpretation that is likely to give lawyers a field day.

When industry is supposed to be coming together, to celebrate 60 years, to combat new platforms and a diminishing ad market, all this fight will do is determine who has the bigger penis.

Gotta love Australian telly.


  1. Eh I don’t know how anyone can watch that crap called Sunrise!! OMG this show is full of so much pointless crap it’s embarrassing! If you want a real morning show which informs and educates you then watch Studio 10 or even the Today show

  2. I’m not a fan of Seven’s data spinners but I actually think Seven is justified in pursuing there matter, especially if when regional viewing is taken into account / excluding the Olympics, the positioning shifts. Ironically, Seven’s data masters have inspired Nine to do the same. Although Nine may have overreached.

  3. A race to the bottom. Meanwhile, hopefully viewers will start looking at offerings on other channels, and stop blindly following the “main” channels.

    • ABC News breakfast is a good alternative. Michael and Virginia are worth watching for an easier paced program with good news, sport and weather coverage.

      • @GRM – agree with you – at least when you tune in you get good news coverage which is what you want in the morning. I hate all that fluff on 7 & 9s breakfast shows and their news coverage is verging on pointless – ‘a car drove into a house in Sydney’ or ‘there was a house fire in Melbourne’. Seriously tell us real news that is really important first thing in the morning!

        And who cares which is better it changes all the time!

  4. Mr game show fan

    Channel 10 are absolutely laughing all the way to the bank because lots of advertisers may want to stay clear from the playground school fight between Seven and Nine.

    I hope the judge gives both Seven and Nine multi million dollar fines each for wasting the court’s time.

  5. Love that they cannot have consistent start and finish times for ratings reports or accurate EGG’s and then dispute their popularity and number one status! The second last line of this post made me laugh!

  6. I got a much better idea than wasting the Court’s time…cage fight! First the two girls and then the two guys. Then we can have the reverse singles and if it is all tied up we can settle it with a team match-up!

    So much false advertising by both sides and they want to go to court about this? Maybe we, the viewing public, should take both to court and see how that pans out…

  7. Secret Squïrrel

    What a complete waste of the court’s valuable time. I don’t suppose either party is going to bring up the fact that advertising a program as starting at 8:30pm when it’s known that it won’t actually start until after 8:40 is also misleading the public?

    Australia’s Number 1 Disgrace – FTA TV

  8. carolemorrissey

    Seriously ch 7 need to grow up & stop being such sore losers. And they need to stop saying they’re no 1 in their promos. Maybe 9 should sue them.

  9. Pathetic.
    I hope this bickering between the two results in lower ad revenue for them both. They’re like two children in a school yard and I’m kinda over hearing about them.

  10. Here’s another one, “Movie Event Bigness” was used to advertised a repeat screening of Batman Begins on a GO! promo this morning. While Nine might think this is a perfectly cromulent description, I think others may disagree.

  11. spectrum warrior

    Good to see that court time is being used up for such important stuff. Advertisers will be moving away from Seven because they won’t want their brand associated with a business who is a waste of spectrum space. I’m sure associates of Ch7 will ague the opposite.

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