Cracker by Damian Christie

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Cracker: Send in the Clowns

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  • Russell Brown,

    Can you spot the issue here? You can’t compare daily and weekly viewship, because obviously these aren’t unique viewers. ONE News doesn’t have 600,000 people watching one night, then 600,000 completely new people the next. It’s viewership isn’t 4.2m people per week. It’s probably more like 2m. But the point of the Herald editorial seems to be simply to pick one high figure (and ONE News is obviously one of the highest you can pick, twice that of 3 News) and compare it with a relatively low one (although 200,000 people? I’m stoked).

    Thanks for this Damian. I'd been meaning to address that crappy little drive-by of an editorial (which appears to be addressed towards something that a Herald reporter quoted me saying).

    I know that statistical illiteracy and the Herald aren't exactly strangers, but it wasn't like the author even wanted to know the difference between nightly ratings and weekly cume. A measured assessment wasn't really the aim of that editorial.

    I am of course simply falling into the trap –that unless TVNZ 7 shows can somehow prove themselves as popular as commercial shows, they shouldn’t exist. Which kinda defeats the purpose of public service broadcasting.

    Exactly. The editorial seemed at pains to assess the channel on the opposite terms to its actual mandate. If all you wanted was numbers, you wouldn't be re-screening Attitude at decent times three times a week. Eeew! Cripples speaking for themselves in prime-time! Commercial suicide! But that's actually what TVNZ 7 is there for.

    Also, thanks for reading Whaleoil so I don't have to. Although I do feel bound to note that Mr Oil's revulsion for taxpayer largesse was not such as to prevent him agreeing to wax on about his reading habits on TVNZ 7's The Good Word.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    Ah, "Perigo." It's very Alan Partridge.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    i wish TVNZ7 was more like cable and repeated shows a lot more, so that within the space of say 24 hours you have 4 or more chances to catch a show and 4 or more within the week.

    the amount of times i miss a show and then have to watch 'on demand' is annoying, i like sitting in front of my telly.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    There are still a great deal of households that do not get digital television. This is one.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    suffice to say I know of no current TVNZ 7 show (and I know the approximate budgets of several) receiving more than the $27k per episode received by The Nation, and I know some that get less than half that, even though you wouldn’t know it to look at the production values of The Nation.

    Burn!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Ratings schmatings! The figure of 600,000 nightly viewers of ONN is nothing to do with any such figure (at very best a rough estimation; at worse, a distortion of reality) but with the tiny ‘representative’ number of viewers with Peoplemeters glued to TV ONE (or as a TV exec once put, rusted to TV ONE until they pop off).

    Until we start to use a different kind of language when talking of ratings, we won’t get anywhere.

    Caught the ep of Hindsight on royal visits last week. It was great.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2537 posts Report Reply

  • artig,

    Confession: I don't watch Backbenchers. Being hard of hearing I just can't distinguish what people are saying when several speak or shout at the same time.

    However, I do watch and enjoy several other local programs on TVNZ7, including Media 7, The Court Report, Hindsight, The Good Word, Use As Directed, the news hour at 8, and probably others I've forgotten. As well as a number of overseas programs. So I will be sad to see the demise of TVNZ7. I hope some funding can be found to continue with all or some of the local programs on other channels.

    BoP • Since Oct 2010 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to George Darroch,

    There are still a great deal of households that do not get digital television. This is one.

    Quite independent of mine and Damian's interests, it's worthwhile if you can afford a -sub$200 decoder or a $450+ Freeview-integrated TV. The improvement in picture quality, even on a CRT TV, is remarkable.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Another example of Herald stupidity. Last week there was a front-page story about bullying in schools, with the headline "TV to blame", even though the subsequent story said nothing of the sort.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2537 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    It doesn't appear in listings in newspapers or The Listener.

    I'd watch a lot more 7 if it did. It was only a few weeks ago that we taught the TV to watch Media7 and Hindsight for us so we didn't have to remember when they were on. Haven't done it with The Good Word yet, but... srsly, WhaleOil?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    Thanks Geoff. And yes, I have issues with ratings of all shapes and sizes (the idea, for instance, that every single copy of the Herald gets passed on four times or whatever they say it is to create a 'readership' figure as opposed to a sales figure. I think however that with the biggest prime-time shows, in the 5+ category, they are about as accurate as can be.

    There might be a large number of people with peoplemeters 'rusted' to TV ONE, but they represent an even bigger number at home doing just that - if there's an obvious skew in that biggest of all sample sizes (5+) then I doubt the various channels would buy into it. The problem I have is when it gets whittled down to how many Auckland-based 18-39 year olds were watching at which particular minute, and what editorial (as opposed to advertising) decisions should be made as a result.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Cant. I'm just stoked that I can watch Maori TV (now being called 'the last public service channel' but) courtesy of SKY...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    TVNZ 7 is without a doubt less popular than those other channels. It has almost zero promotion and a budget to match. It doesn’t appear in listings in newspapers or The Listener.

    And what a clusterfuck that's been.

    Basically, TVNZ and APN have been unable to reach an agreement on forward listings for 6 and 7. TVNZ makes money selling forward listings to APN, for use in The Listener and the HoS -- they're copyright goods, in TVNZ's view.

    I've been told that TVNZ wanted to either charge either more or the same for the service with the TVNZ 7 listings included, and APN firmly wanted to pay less because of the extra space the listings would occupy.

    I'm genuinely not sure where the balance of fault lies, but the failure of these two companies to reach an agreement in the public interest has been unedifying.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    The very worse thing about ratings (there are many, many bad things) is the 55+ category ie once you turn 55, then you are lumped together with a 65 year old, a 75 year old, and 85 year old, the near-deed, and the living dead. Has anyone considered that a 56 year old these days might just have very different tastes--and more disposable income--than a 75 year old retiree??

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2537 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Emma Hart,

    The Good Word yet, but… srsly, WhaleOil?

    Hmm, that was my first thought. Ratings؟

    Overall though TVNZ7 seems to fill a gap that may become even more screamingly obvious in its absence.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Sue,

    so that within the space of say 24 hours you have 4 or more chances to catch a show and 4 or more within the week.

    Though in these situations I frequently had the misfortune of finding the same show for the 3 or 4 times I managed to sit in front of the TV. I think something more TIVO-like is the way to go, so as not to have to bother arranging one's life around the schedule at all.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • John Morrison,

    So Russell and Damian, looking into your crystal balls, after 2012 there will be no public television, no scrutiny of the media, maybe some exploration of politics and Freeview being gutted. Is that about right?

    Cromwell • Since Nov 2006 • 85 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    Hate to tell you this Geoff, but there ain’t no 55+ (at least not made available to us internally at TVNZ). The lists are:

    05+
    5+ Akld Urban
    18-49 Akld Urban
    25-54 Akld Urban
    05-14
    All 15-24
    15-29
    18-39
    18-49
    All 18-54
    25-39
    25-54
    All 30-59
    HHS w/kids 0-9
    Main Shopper with kids 0-14 in Home
    HHS 20-54
    Main Shopper 25-54
    Maori and Pacific People
    Have SKY Decoder
    Sky 18-49

    And so you really only fit in the 5+ category. Which makes your argument even more poignant! But seriously, what does an 18 year old have in common with a 49 year old? Other than DNA, if one is the other one’s parent…

    (just spotted the 30-59 but point stands)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Joshua Drummond,

    I'm glad to see that the first few minutes of Perigo are exactly what I expected when I first heard about the show - a televised SOLO press release, inexplicably filmed in what appears to be a set for a low-rent production of Something Funny Happened On The Way To The Forum.

    On topic: For what it's worth, I watched both Media 7 and Backbenchers, and I'd be sorry to see them go. I hope to see them with new homes. (What I'd really like is to see TVNZ survive, but I guess that's pretty unlikely.)

    Since Nov 2006 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I'd watch a lot more 7 if it did. It was only a few weeks ago that we taught the TV to watch Media7 and Hindsight for us so we didn't have to remember when they were on.

    I've not been very organised with TV for a while, but when we finally bought a digital TV a year ago, I found myself watching just as much (problably more) of 6 and 7 as any other channel because I'd usually just flip to the digital guide to see what was on. Media 7 and Back Benches were both priorities if they happened to be there, so thanks guys.

    Now I'm in Melbourne and with about 2 to 3 times as many free channels (sadly still few with anything good on them), the digital guide thingee in our TV has an annoying habit of not populating with a channel's schedule until we've actually switched to the channel. I downloaded an app for my Android phone called IceTV (not sure if this works in NZ) that'll tell me everything on during the day that I've flagged an interest in, ordered by start time. Channels and browsing TV guides in the traditional way don't mean much to me now.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    O goodness!
    I'd only fit in with "Maori& Pacific people" (shit, we have so much in common) and "have Sky Decoder" - and good luck with finding anything about MY demographic with that selection mate!

    There used to be sieves for making concrete: the one called COARSE comes especially to mind-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Ken Sparks,

    I just wrote to the Minister of Broadcasting last week and in asking him to reconsider stopping the funding of TVNZ7 I suggested that there is seemingly no place on TVNZ for any kind of public service programming that reflects New Zealand's cultural values and might appeal to an intelligent audience who see television as a valuable educational resource as well as a source of entertainment.
    According to his private secretary 'The Minister will consider the issues you have raised, and respond as soon as he is able.' I'm not holding my breath. I've been privileged to have been involved in making some great TV programmes over the years and gratefully saw the establishment of TVNZ7 as a necessary move as the two commercial channels went , well more commercial.
    The whole TV ratings system needs to be exposed for what it is - I'd be really interested to know what the actual figures are especially with regard to time-shifted viewing and ad skipping. Do the peoplemeters even monitor Freeview?
    We need to make this an election issue, flood the Ministers office with emails and of course like lots of stuff on http://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-TVNZ-7/193564444000077 and sign the petition...

    Cox’s Creek • Since Apr 2011 • 60 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Ken Sparks,

    Gah! I dont do Facebook (or any other social media.)
    Is there a nice online petition site that doesnt actually sign your knackers away?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • matthewbuchanan,

    Third, it’s “fewer”, not less.

    Bless you.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Islander,

    I wish you'd do twitter. Seriously.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

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