ABC defends New Year coverage after media mauling



The ABC’s director of television Richard Finlayson has defended the New Year’s Eve fireworks broadcast after a string of attacks on social and mainstream media about the show.

Disgruntled viewers have taken to Facebook and Twitter over the last 48-hours to air their disappointment at the broadcast, with the ABC taking over the duties from Nine this year, and the corporation says it has received 140 complaints about it.

Hosted by comedian Lawrence Mooney and presenter Stephanie Brantz complaints ranged from the “self indulgent” commentary of guests to the camera work and coverage of the fireworks display itself during the four-hour show.

In a comment piece on the Neil McMahon said: “It was – in case you missed it and have only your own embarrassments to contemplate today – like watching a Quentin Tarantino remake of The Sound of Music.

“In that sense, it had the advantage of keeping viewers screwed to the floor – it was hard to look away. But if you did, it hardly mattered: listening to it from another room was all you needed to know. Not a personality – be they Chaser luminary, newsroom star or musical act of head-scratching provenance – passed across the ABC couch without hollering their contributions with the fervour of harbourside guests who had fallen over the edge to find themselves being mauled by sharks.”

But today Finlayson released a statement defending the coverage which he described as more popular than previous year’s shows and claimed to have gained a greater audience and share overall with 1.27m metro viewers.

Despite criticism from viewers in other cities the broadcaster did not show the displays local to them, Finlayson said the show was intended “to create a national event, using a breadth of ABC talent, over four hours – rather than just cover the firework displays as has been the previous practice”.

He added: “Four hours of live TV is a huge undertaking. While there’s always things to review and improve, we think our team did a terrific job in celebrating an iconic Australian event.

“Social media is full of a range of opinions, positive and negative. All feedback is useful and our ratings numbers are saying that Australians voted with their remotes in favour of the ABC coverage. We are thrilled to have reached a total national audience of 3.8 million with our New Year’s Eve coverage.”



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