4.30pm slot pulls in viewers

By Maggie McNaughton

TVNZ's new 4.30pm news bulletin is pulling in around twice as many viewers as Te Karere did when it was in the same time slot.

The half-hour news bulletin debuted on TV One on September 24, replacing Te Karere, which was pushed back to 3.40pm, with repeats at midnight and 5.45am.

Te Karere, which is in Maori, previously ran from 4.30pm to 4.50pm, followed by Location, Location, Location.

TVNZ said yesterday that it was pleased with the increased ratings and audience share for the 4.30pm slot, even though TV3's Everybody Loves Raymond was still pulling in more viewers overall.

"We did do a lot of research into what people wanted from the news and one of the things we got back is they wanted opportunities to be informed throughout the day. We are very happy with it," said TVNZ news and current affairs spokeswoman Rachel Lorimer.

But who exactly is watching it? "There are a lot of smart, interested men and women who are at home with families. Maybe students and people working from home are watching."

Ms Lorimer said overall ratings for Te Karere had improved slightly in its new timeslot.

Unitec School of Communication senior lecturer Peter Thompson said the increased ratings and audience share were good news for the 4.30pm news bulletin, which is presented by Neil Waka.

"They've got to be pleased with this. The interesting thing is it has only partly come at the expense of TV3.

"There's a little bit of slippage there, so you can probably infer a few people have gone from TV3 to TV One, but it's not huge.

"There's not a major change in TV2 ... so the argument you'd make overall is that TV One is picking up viewers that probably weren't there before."

Mr Thompson said having the news at 4.30pm undermined Prime News' argument that it was first at 5.30pm. But he said there was a question mark over whether moving Te Karere back had devalued its presence in the schedule.

"Putting it even further back into the afternoon alongside kids' programmes has a suggestion that this has been given less prominence in order to attract the One News audience for 4.30pm."

He said it was difficult to gauge who was watching the 4.30pm bulletin, but it could include people working from home and parents looking after children.

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