A “full blown media war” has been underway in Adelaide after Nine ran local promos targeting Seven’s decision to axe its 4pm local bulletin.
Seven claims the bulletin was halted locally due to COVID while it was broadcast from Melbourne, but it has since been restored.
FIVEaa Breakfast’s David Penberthy said “… it was a bit sneaky for Channel Nine to keep running ads denouncing Seven’s news service as not being local, last week.. the bulletin came back, the ads kept running.”
Seven reportedly sent Nine a “ferociously-worded” legal letter accusing them of false, deceptive misleading conduct.
He said, “As a result Seven’s lawyers last Friday sent this thundering letter to Channel Nine saying:
The broadcast of the false promo representations is likely to cause Seven damage in the form of lower ratings for its nightly news service in Adelaide and correspondingly higher ratings for Nine’s news service. Seven is entitled to seek injunctive relief together with payment of damages or an account of profit in those circumstances.
Seven requires Nine’s written undertaking that the promo will no longer be broadcast and if we do not receive such an undertaking by 10am tomorrow (last Friday) we’re instructed to commence proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia and to seek urgent relief.
Penberthy said, “Nine subsequently got spooked and pulled the ads but when you’ve got the local Seven bosses saying listen guys, you keep this caper up we’re going to sue you… it shows how high the stakes are in the TV wars.”
FIVEaa co-host Will Goodings, formerly of 10, said, “It’s just nice to know the reputation of being local is still worth fighting for. That’s the best part of that story.”
A Nine spokesperson told TV Tonight, “We stand by our promo – it was factually correct and that’s why Nine refused Seven’s demands to pull it early. We note that despite their threats, Seven took no legal action.
“Nine News Adelaide is proudly live and local at 5pm weeknights and nightly at 6pm – and we will continue to highlight for the market how we have worked very hard to keep our local bulletins on-air amid the pressures of the pandemic, so that South Australians were kept informed.”
“Seven News chose to abandon a local bulletin in favour of one from Melbourne. That’s a fact – and their backflip last week doesn’t change the fact they decided in July to opt out of Adelaide.”
Seven declined to comment further.