Hard News by Russell Brown


Moving on

I mentioned something in a speech last night that it's probably time to make public: our Media3 TV show is no more.

The programme's demise has been declared more than once by pundits, but as far as we were concerned, we had a show until relatively recently. Shortly before the last season ended, we were asked by TV3 to prepare a prop for the October NZ On Air funding round, with the assumption that we'd be back on air early next year or possibly late this year.

We duly worked up some ideas to freshen up the show and wrote and submitted the prop. We didn't hear back from TV3 until deadline week for the funding round, and when we did, the news was that the network would not be continuing with Media3.

NZ On Air remained keen to fund us and gave us more time to find another screen, but that has not proved possible. I wouldn't rule out something similar appearing in future, but for now, it's done.

The show didn't rate badly. Contrary to some assumptions, this year's shift to late Wednesday nights was a move up. The first show in that slot was the biggest audience we'd registered on TV3 and it increased thereafter. In good weeks we'd attract 60,000 to 70,000 viewers, with the Saturday morning repeat typically accounting for something less than a quarter of those.

But the number of viewers within TV3's target demographic was smaller than that, and I presume, as is their right, they made a commercial decision. They have a business to run, after all, and that business relies on delivering the audiences advertisers want to reach. I do think this underlines the case for a public broadcaster.

I'm already enjoying doing new things -- and being able to pay more attention to Public Address (our traffic has doubled in the last few weeks). I'm certainly available for work writing, talking, moderating, whatever.

We had a great run -- six years! -- and I think we did some good work. I'd like to thank NZ On Air, TVNZ 7, TV3, Top Shelf Productions, our audience regulars and guests, and all the great people I've worked with -- not least our venerable producer, Phil Wallington, from whom I have learned so, so much.

This has been a remarkable and rewarding period in my life, and I know the rest of the team would say so too. And now, it's time to move on to new things.

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