Australian news hit by bingo war

Sydney (Reuter) - Cut-throat competition between Australia's commercial television channels has prompted networks to introduce bingo during prime-time news to lure viewers.

Channel 9, owned by the media tycoon Kerry Packer, opened its battle for the biggest slice of the news audience on Monday night. News watchers were teased to stay tuned with cars, cash and holidays.

Channel 9 had seen rival Channel 7 chip away at its hold on the top news berth with a bingo game launched early last month that offered 250,000 Australian dollars ( pounds 90,000) worth of prizes.