Kath & Kim: articles

Magda Szubanski

Natural talent… Magda Szubanski.

Szubanski wins again

Magda Szubanski has consolidated her grip on the hearts and minds of Australians.

For the second year in a row, she has emerged as the nation’s most recognised and best-liked personality, ahead of Ernie Dingo, Rove McManus, Andrew Denton and John Wood.

The survey was conducted by the research organisation Audience Development Australia as part of its regular Q-scores report for media and advertising clients.

Every six months ADA shows 600 photos of public figures to a sample of 750 adults in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, and asks two questions: do you recognise this person, and how much do you like them on a scale from 0 to 4.

The combined must watch scores can influence pay rates and job prospects for the personalities on the list. Last year, Szubanski was best known to Australians as the indomitable Sharon Strzlecki in the hit series Kath & Kim.

After the Q-scores report, Szubanski was offered the job of spokesmodel for Jetstar and other products, and those appearances further boosted her recognition factor this year, if not necessarily her popularity.

Her latest must watch score of 41 is up from 36 last year, while Dingo scores 31, McManus 27, Denton 26 and Wood 25.

Denton has replaced Bert Newton from last year’s list.

The managing director of Audience Development Australia, David Castran, said Australians at the moment were reacting against what they see as contrived television, and this was reflected in the kinds of personalities who score highly as must watch.

The people who are rising in the list are seen as down-to-earth, natural presenters, with an everyday quality, he said.

That’s why Denton has come into the top five, and why the scores for David Koch and Melissa Doyle from Channel Seven’s Sunrise jumped. Viewers see them as honest and real, even if they sometimes make mistakes on air.

Two names to watch, growing rapidly in recognition and popularity from a low base, were Grant Denyer, the weather presenter on Sunrise, and Angela Pippos, an ABC sports reporter.

Asked how the Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin had scored since publicity about holding his infant son while feeding crocodiles, Mr Castran said Irwin’s recognition factor had soared while his popularity had plummeted by 25 per cent.

Mr Castran plans to include the faces of politicians in his next survey of recognition and popularity, scheduled for October—although it’s likely the way we feel about them will already have been revealed in the only poll that counts.

By David Dale
May 31, 2004
Sydney Morning Herald