Seven and Nine have continued their war of words over who dominates breakfast television after narrowly avoiding a court battle this morning.
The rivals settled a legal dispute over how Nine promotes the Today show only moments before the case was due to go the Federal Court.
The television rivals were contesting Nine's claim Today was the country's number one breakfast show after winning 21 of the 40 official ratings weeks in metropolitan centres.
Seven took exception to the claim because its Sunrise program still led when metropolitan and regional ratings were combined.
AdNews understands the settlement allows Nine to promote Today as a top rating show in metropolitan ratings only, but it hasn't ended posturing from both sides, immediately issuing statements that claim breakfast TV superiority.
In a statement, Nine said: “We are pleased Seven has seen fit to drop the case against the Today show. And we congratulate our Today show team on winning the most weeks across the five capital cities for 2016. We know they will power on for the rest of this year and into 2017.”
Meanwhile, Craig McPherson, Seven's network director of news and public affairs, said: "We’re pleased Nine has now admitted Sunrise is Australia’s Number 1 and most-watched breakfast show. The truth was always going to prevail over premature elation."
Even hosts from both sides got in on the act.
TV networks often split metro and regional ratings because advertising rates are much higher in the five capital cities. While metropolitan figures are considered more important when promoting programs, it's not uncommon for networks to switch between metro and national ratings when it suits them.
It's not the first time the two rivals have locked horns in a legal dispute. Last year, Seven failed to block Nine from running a new cooking TV show called Hotplate, arguing the show was too similar to its own hit property My Kitchen Rules.
Although TV networks have begun collaborating much more in the past year, including the formation of Think TV, a deep-seated rivalry still simmers below the surface in a TV market that has come under strain in recent years.
Outside of the Federal Court this morning, the Today Show's Block of Cash (aka Blocky) was promoting the show as 'Number One for Fun', in a show of solidarity ahead of the court battle.
Thankfully, Blocky didn't have to dip into its considerable cash-filled pockets as both networks reached a compromise, but the war of words is set to rumble on.
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