Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: About Campbell Live

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  • BenWilson,

    Serious question: who here regularly watches Campbell Live? And by that, I mean the full episode, live to air. Not occasionally watching a video someone has shared on Facebook.

    I don't. I really like John Campbell, but I haven't watched the show since the 2000s, and if Campbell Live had been cancelled five years ago I wouldn't have noticed.

    You got me.

    Part of Campbell Live’s problem may be that fewer of the kind of people who would watch Campbell Live at 7pm are bothering with free-to-air broadcast television. Perhaps in the end we’ll just plain stop bothering.

    And you too.

    I pretty much feel like my opinion on TV actually should be ignored, because I have almost nothing invested in it at all. I follow news, but there is literally no broadcast news I can be bothered to watch, other than raw footage.

    This is no slur on Campbell, who I think is better than the others. But once in a blue moon do I feel inclined to sit through something for half an hour that I can pretty much get in a few minutes from glancing at my Twitter feed, following links and browsing headlines, and reading blogs.

    Can't stand the format any more, sorry about that. It hurts my brain the way a CRT hurts my eyes, something I just don't have to put up with any more.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10631 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    One effect of this is the shutting out of older viewers, who are of little interest to advertisers. They were the people most disenfranchised when TVNZ 7 closed down.

    Ironically, this is the group with time to watch and often money to spend.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Perhaps Julie Christie should read Martin Van Beynen's Why The Bachelor demeans us all in the Press.

    The Bachelor and its ilk are like air pollution. We don't have to live in an industrial zone but we all have to breathe the air at some stage. In the same way, this corrosive show works its way into the general discourse and culture. It sucks the oxygen out of an atmosphere which must sustain us all.

    These programmes eat away at the general spirit of the nation. They bed-in stupidity and make it hard for honesty and true creativity to survive.

    Such a programme lowers even further the common denominator of viewing taste and tolerance. A contrived and dishonest show which extends the extreme end of rubbish programming and drags the average down with it. If it is successful the effect is even worse. Once programmers see the pap they can get away with to win an audience, they will naturally do it again and so we have a nasty self-perpetuating and descending cycle.

    Well said, sir.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1381 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Some interesting graphs and commentary from Throng regarding One News, 3 News, Seven Sharp and Campbell Live over time:

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Joshua Couch,

    As the lowly autocue operator in a darkened corner of the TV3 studio, I scrolled through the screen of words as John Campbell read them live to air. The paragraph ended. The pre-recorded story began… And John dramatically slammed his head down onto his desk.

    He had just introduced a story about cats.

    The smile he had managed to plaster on his face for the camera was gone. Spinning round in his chair John addressed an entirely different audience: the faithful floor manager, the cheeky camera operators and me; the wide-eyed student hoping one day for a real job in the media.

    John wasn’t proud of that story. This wasn’t the programme he had wanted to make. It was trivial, ratings–pandering candy floss. He knew it, and he wanted us to know it.

    This must have been about seven years ago.

    John has battled the higher-ups to make his show not just about the things we want to see, but about the things we need to see. But in truth, his enemy is not those cruel-hearted industry execs who can’t see past the bottom dollar, he’s battling human nature and our waning attention spans.

    So, what if all I want is candy floss? What if I don’t want to eat my veggies?

    The masses calling for us to #SaveCampbellLive are all too often people like me who say “It’s a worthwhile and important programme so they should keep it” followed by the admission that “I don’t actually watch it myself”.

    In effect, “Vegetables should be available to people. Just don’t ask me to eat them.”

    New Zealand • Since Apr 2015 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Sacha,

    Mediawatch’s Colin Peacock sets out the context.

    Interesting para in there:
    "Local event television is a long-term strategy and we are very comfortable with the performance of these shows to date . . . despite what some uninformed commentators believe, these days the success of shows like The X Factor NZ and The Bachelor New Zealand is not solely measured by television ratings," the statement said.

    So, if ratings aren't important to "reality" shows, why are they so important when CL is considered?

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2929 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Russell, in reply to nzlemming,

    Event shows have all sorts of exciting revenue-earning potential - sponsors, product placement, viewers who actually pay to participate in phone voting - which is far more difficult for a show like Campbell Live to generate. Plus - they are shows that more people are going to watch live, which advertisers like.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Ken Double,

    In other words, he’s a good journalist.

    You are right.

    The problem is that when compared to the wittering sycophants Hosking and Henry, Campbell’s lack of bias comes across as being left wing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve, in reply to Joshua Couch,

    John has battled the higher-ups to make his show not just about the things we want to see, but about the things we need to see. But in truth, his enemy is not those cruel-hearted industry execs who can’t see past the bottom dollar, he’s battling human nature and our waning attention spans.

    Yes. Yes. That's exactly the issue.

    We (the broad and general we) proclaim that we want important and noble TV... But then we (the broad one again) don't watch it.

    In effect, “Vegetables should be available to people. Just don’t ask me to eat them.”

    Obviously what Campbell Live needs then is the TV industry equivalent of a delicious cheese sauce!

    Oh, maybe that's the cat stories?

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • Victoria Tupou, in reply to Joshua Couch,

    So, what if all I want is candy floss? What if I don’t want to eat my veggies?

    The masses calling for us to #SaveCampbellLive are all too often people like me who say “It’s a worthwhile and important programme so they should keep it” followed by the admission that “I don’t actually watch it myself”.

    In effect, “Vegetables should be available to people. Just don’t ask me to eat them.”

    But what if we want to eat our veges but just not in the way that MediaWorks is serving them?

    I really feel like someone needs to write something about the way ratings information is gathered…

    It’s ridiculous that in this day and age the only numbers that matter are the people who watched the programme live-to-air. So many people watch CL in so many different ways. Even if you watch on the TV3 website you still sit through ads – are they counted? The number of shares / tweets videos receive should be counted. It is all valuable to the advertisers.

    I can’t remember the last time I watched CL live-to-air. I watch it later on MySky, or OnDemand, or if I don’t have time to watch the whole show, I just watch the video segments that I’m interested in. In some cases, I have shared videos well after the on-air date. All videos still had advertisements.

    I have never met nor ever heard of anyone who has a ratings box. Who has them? Where are they? When shows like CL depend on these numbers, the whole system just freaks me out. Sad face.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2015 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Gary Elshaw, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    ...but Cancer does.

    Apia, Samoa • Since Mar 2011 • 22 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to nzlemming,

    So, if ratings aren’t important to “reality” shows, why are they so important when CL is considered?

    Because the opportunity for tasty product placement deals is scarcer in current affairs. Putting one sponsor's product all over their intro and promo clips is about the best CampbellLive can offer.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    We (the broad and general we) proclaim that we want important and noble TV… But then we (the broad one again) don’t watch it.

    As citizens it's good to know the checks and balances journalism is meant to provide are there, even if it's only for other people to read and act on. We don't all need to be involved at the same level to value it.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Nick Russell,

    ah, snap

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Russell, in reply to Victoria Tupou,

    Most of the problem here is that viewers who watch broadcast TV through other platforms, such as on-demand or via MySky are don't count. Largely because the product TV3 sells are viewers who are delivered to advertisers. You can rail against how that system with its reliance on a small number of ratings boxes is unfair, or out of date, or inaccurate, and I will probably agree with you. But that is the system the broadcasters and advertisers have agreed to use, and the survival of shows like Campbell Live depends entirely on the support of that regime. Hence - if you don't watch the broadcast edition of the programme, you may as well not watch it at all as far as TV3 is concerned. That's an exaggeration, but it's effectively the basis on which they make decisions.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Russell, in reply to Sacha,

    You don't have to be involved with journalism to appreciate it. Alas, nor does TV3. They are a business, not a public service, and if they can make more money by replacing Campbell Live with something else, they are likely to do just that.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Joshua Couch, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    the TV industry equivalent of a delicious cheese sauce

    HA! yes!! I reckon that's probably satire. Look over at the US.

    It's The Daily Show and Colbert Report that have audiences that are MORE educated on current affairs than viewers of the 24-hour news channels.

    Comedy/satire is the one way to speak truth in an entertaining way. (in a way that rates)

    New Zealand • Since Apr 2015 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Joshua Couch, in reply to Victoria Tupou,

    But what if we want to eat our veges but just not in the way that MediaWorks is serving them?

    That is the crux of this conversation. Not just "what to do with 7pm?", but "how to do current affairs in the age of twitter?"

    New Zealand • Since Apr 2015 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason,

    Why anyone would want to watch Mike Hosking's love affair with John Key is beyond me.

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 258 posts Report Reply

  • llew40, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    Their successes fund their failures in a very predictable way.

    And at the risk of thread-jacking, this is another reason why getting a return on any investment in premium content rights is so important - it helps fund the stuff that is perhaps less commercially viable.

    Since Nov 2012 • 140 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Euan Mason,

    Why anyone would want to watch Mike Hosking's love affair with John Key is beyond me.

    Esspecially when you have the option of watching Paul Henry's love affair with John Key on the other main broadcast channel.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1381 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Russell, your sentence " For someone in governance to behave as Christie is said to have done – when her target was coming up for a contract renewal – is not so much unwise as insanely irresponsible. "
    Could easily be re-written as... " For someone in governance to behave as [insert almost any public figure here] is not so much unwise as insanely irresponsible"
    and be just as true

    This is all part of a much bigger picture.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    It's true Steve:

    In just the few weeks I've read about:

    - a noted former corporate CEO for whom one of the core goals of her oversized hobby business is to get written about in the media.

    - a technology company CEO who wants to make "SAP for small businesses". What have small businesses ever done to him? It's excessive retribution for an overheated latte, really.

    - and the person who destroyed HP now wanting to move on to larger targets and become President of the United States

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    At the heart of the problems of the NZ broadcasting sector is a certain C-word. Cartel.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5415 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Nielsen measures live viewing (with a sample of 600 Peoplemeter households) and also time-shifted viewing, via a smaller panel.

    They still use that? I would have thought there would be an opening for someone to offer a more comprehensive set of numbers than 600 out of a hovering figure of around 130,000, the GCSB for instance.

    Joking aside. The ratings for last week...

    Audience ratings
    The 20 highest rating funded television programmes on air last week, 2 - 8 April 2015
    PROGRAMME AVERAGE 5+ AUDIENCE
    1. Hyundai Country Calendar 557,990 TVONE* · 7:00pm Saturday
    2. I Am Innocent 374,550 TVONE* · 8:30pm Wednesday
    3. The X Factor (NZ) 254,951 TV3* · 7:00pm Sunday, 7:30pm Monday & Tuesday
    4. Best Bits 197,195 TVONE* · 9:30pm Thursday
    5. 7 Days 180,942 TV3* · 9:30pm Friday
    6. Jono and Ben 157,421 TV3* · 7:30pm Friday

    Campbell doesn't get a mention in the "Top Twenty"
    Does anybody have any idea what sort of confidence factor would apply with those numbers?.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

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