Hard News by Russell Brown


A lot of money and a bit rich

I'm still not clear on exactly what TV3's plans were when it bid for the Rugby World Cup rights, knowing (they did know, right?) that the three major games would air in the few hours on a Sunday morning when the Broadcasting Act forbids TV advertising.

But Brent Impey has quite a cheek blaming the government for Media Works' own decision to use a loophole that may exempt advertising broadcast from overseas:

Impey has also tackled the Government for forcing TV3 to fly special equipment and staff to France to broadcast the advertisements, a strategy he said would cost the company "tens of thousands of dollars".

"We are dealing with a piece of legislation that is so antiquated and discriminatory towards television that it's farcical that we have to take steps like this, flying equipment over to France, to deal with something the Government wouldn't deal with.

"We had asked the Government to introduce legislation for an exemption for the Rugby World Cup because it is an important event, but the Government took no action so we are going to these additional costs to comply."

In truth, nearly all of us would just wear advertising around World Cup games if it came to it, but it's pretty rich making the top bid then demanding a law change so you can cover it. I await the flood of congratulatory press releases from conservative Christian organisations more used to condemning the government for its godless ways.

Personally, I'm more concerned about the state of the coverage, which will be entirely in the hands of those most eccentric of sports broadcasters, the French. Expect regular arty shots of blades of grass and beautiful women, probably while someone's taking a quick lineout.

And, of course, the big games will be called by TV3's own Hamish McKay, who has been variously described on the local internets as mentally impaired, the worst commentator, the world’s largest talking penis, truly retarded and "a person who will feature highly on the 'most despised' list of TV presenters."

On the upside, Grant Fox will be doing comments and Murray Mexted won't.

Meanwhile, some congratulations are in order. To Lloyd Jones, clearly, for taking out the top prize in the Montana Book Awards -- onwards and upwards -- but also to the winner of the best first book prize, Rachel King, who showed grace and good taste in paying tribute to Paul Shannon, the author of Davey Darling. It's a good year when two authors like that emerge.

Big ups also to Otis Mace, who is presently topping the charts at the British-based online store Music Uncharted.

Feel free to note anyone else who needs congratulating.

PS: We're now selling David Cohen's A Perfect World from the Public Address Store. You could also pick up books by myself, David Slack and Graham Reid while you're there. I have some plans for the store, whose fruit will hopefully be evident sooner rather than later.

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