Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: After the Charter

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  • Russell Brown,

    How do we get these onto Primetime? NZOA issues a call for expressions of interest in broadcasting said series. The networks then tender for the funding. A condition of funding is timeslot. I'm sure various other conditions could be applied to make sure the proposed series meets specific 'charter' objectives. I think it likely that networks will compete to secure the gig. For heaven's sake, no-one would want the competitor to secure the funding.

    You'd think so, but think back to Ian Fraser's complaint when he left TVNZ: that the company's Charter obligations were incompatible with the realities of its schedule. Only, it'd be worse, because TVNZ and everyone else would be behaving as fully commercial entities.

    The issue isn't the cost of production, it's what the broadcasters lose by screening non-commercial TV in a commercial timeslot. That's why production of serious documentaries has dried up -- not because there isn't finding to make them, but because the broadcasters don't want to screen them.

    The only way around that is to start subsidising the broadcast itself -- at which point you maybe start thinking it would be better to have a public broadcaster.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Russell, are you saying that despite the presence of an apparent competitive market as Simon has suggested, in fact none of the broadcasters would decide to screen the programmes in peak hours without another subsidy?

    Coleman is clearly thinking of new platforms, but to make a market-oriented approach work could there be separate production and distribution subsidies, or some similar arrangement?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I'm thinking of competition for subsidies between different distribution methods as well, not just conventional TV "channels". I take your point that a conventional public broadcasting approach seems to be a simpler way of achieving similar outcomes, but I'm not clear what the more-market equivalent would even look like.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Bennett,

    Networks (ie programmers) do change position on what is commercially viable in Primetime. This may be a response to an international trend in programme-making, or it may be that the competition has broken new ground and proven the established dogma wrong.

    For some time there was no long-run hour-long local drama in primetime on TVNZ. Then TV3 demonstrated that local drama could be viable, with the success of Outrageous Fortune. and that local comedy could work (Brotown, Jaquie Brown Diaries). TVNZ's response: work very hard towards developing their equivalents.

    It's also worth remembering that the profit motive isn't the sole reason for programming a specific show. Networks are very aware of brand, and their perception of the public perception of what their brand identity might be. Therefore some programmes have great value to a network, even though they might make a loss within their specific slot. This is because the programme might help define a network's brand, attract kudos, provide marketing and publicity opportunities, and sometimes deliver a specific audience to the next programme in the schedule.

    All NZ programming is very expensive compared to ready-made, off-the-shelf programmes from offshore. However, even in this already commercial environment, we still get Dancing With the Stars, Outrageous Fortune, Go Girls, Diplomatic Immunity, NZ Got Talent, and many other expensive local shows, that taken individually would be far less lucrative for a network than most overseas shows in the same timeslot.

    I don't think the destination of the $15M charter money (which is only a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of TVNZ, and NZOA's annual funding budget - which I believe is somewhere in the vicinity of $75M) will make much difference to the overall TV landscape in this country, whether it's available specifically to TVNZ or contestable across all the channels.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 174 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    Slightly off topic, and I guess I'm vaguely in the vanguard of new technology, but I've been really well impressed with how TVNZ OnDemand plays on a 32" LCD. If the technology eventually evolves that people can download programming cheaply when they want it easily (as opposed to having to build their own computer and spend a few days frigging round with it). This I think would start to remove concerns about time of broadcast and lost opportunity cost.

    Wednesday evening is a bit of a dead TV day, and I forgot to record Diplomatic Immunity, so watching that and the 1977 Top Town final was much preferable than whatever was happening live.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    It's all very well for Coleman to mock "academics" (I may occasionally have done that myself) but there's a point where it becomes anti-intellectual. They need to start paying attention to data.

    *sigh* With all due respect, Russell, there's also a point where "academics" need to start paying attention to the idea that condescending prickery is neither persuasive nor an effective mode of communication. That's not being anti-intellectual, but valuing the kind of intellectual modesty where you don't act as if you're the oracle of a secular priesthood.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    The only way around that is to start subsidising the broadcast itself -- at which point you maybe start thinking it would be better to have a public broadcaster.

    I wonder if competition is still important. It'd be nice to see TV3 competing with TVNZ to show NZ programmes. A sort of reverse bidding, where the TV companies bid for the lowest subsidy, mixed with the time slot and audience that their channel would bring it to (viewers).

    Otherwise, as Simon points out above, you might miss out on bringing TV shows to the TV3 type audience.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Craig, I have seldom seen such a unified reaction from three quite separate experts who did not seem to have colluded beforehand.

    Why do you think they responded to the Minister's argument that way?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    I think Russell ran it all brilliantly and I hope he manages to get more Key clones or mavericks to front and defend their portfolio decisions.

    John Roughan of the Granny Herald would probably be the royal flush.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5445 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Craig, I have seldom seen such a unified reaction from three quite separate experts who did not seem to have colluded beforehand.

    *sigh* Who needs to collude? I'll quite cheerfully admit that I don't follow the minutiae of broadcasting policy, but if Norris or Edwards actually said anything they've not been saying for years I must have been off making another cup of tea. Then again, I understand considerable effort was expended trying to get balance up the panel but you can hardly force people to front at gun point.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • James Liddell,

    can we have Paula Bennett? She is minister for, what, four ministries? I want to know what she thinks about the portfolios she runs, why she thinks it, what she sees as the future for them...

    Bennett''s only responsible for one Ministry: MSD. She has three portfolios - Social Development and Employment, Disability Issues and Youth Affairs. But Disability Issues and Youth Affairs are both run from within MSD, and neither are vey heavy portfolios policy-wise. SD&E is, however, a very time consuming and difficult portfolio which would challenge the most experienced Minister.

    And, to be honest, I don't think she's been acquitting herself very well when she actually does have to answer serious questions.

    Her performance during this interview on Friday left a lot to be desired methinks.

    I worry Bennett's a sacrificial lamb...If she fails, does a kinder, softer National fail too?

    I don't think Key et al. see her as much more than a "soft face" for the portfolio, and certainly not a key Minister (if you'll excuse the pun). Remember, she was excluded from the Ministerial team that was planning the Jobs Summit and the economic "recovery" packages. Which is a bit odd when considering that her major portfolio is Social Development & EMPLOYMENT, and that she is responsible for the largest Budget Vote. Policy-wise she hasn't achieved anything that would be commensurate with a "softer" National.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I, for one would rather see homes insulated as part of a stimulant package, making our homes more energy efficient would reduce home expenditure on heating and increase discretionary spending. Perhaps the power companies are against this idea, who knows?
    This government is totally devoid of ideas other than those of a cylcepath (geddit cyclepath, psychopath, fnarr fnarr)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Why do you think they responded to the Minister's argument that way?

    Way to sidestep the main question, Craig.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • James Liddell,

    I, for one would rather see homes insulated as part of a stimulant package, making our homes more energy efficient would reduce home expenditure on heating and increase discretionary spending.

    But that was a Labour-Green idea, and therefore part of the nanny state Helen knows best agenda. Just like energy efficient light bulbs. Haven't you been paying attention, Steve? New Zealand voted National on November 8, and with that we got back our personal freedom. I, for one, am glad that poor and elderly New Zealanders can continue to choose to live in cold, drafty and damp houses. :-)

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    To be fair, Key did not seem abashed to be discussing the insulation scheme on Q&A this morning. Russell Norman in the panel said he didn't mind whether they called it "Green homes" or "Blue homes" or whatever, as long as it got done. We'll see.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • James Liddell,

    Thanks, Sacha. Didn't see that this morning but will make sure I hunt it down when it's up on On Demand.

    It's good that Key's not averse to it it, even if he and English canned pretty concrete plans for such a specific scheme made by the previous Govt. And I agree with Russell Norman, it doesn't matter who does it, as long as it gets done. But someone should certainly tell Paula Bennett that, because she was definitely not singing from the same songbook in her interview on Friday.

    What did you think of Q&A? Worth watching? Does it compare well with Agenda?

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    To me, Q&A seemed a bit less free - but that may have reflected the personality of its hyper new host who I found as always reminiscent of a yappy terrier. Holmes also seemed fairly biased towards the right (especially his cowardly aside about Andrew Little and the EPMU) and I don't imagine that bodes well for broadly informed discussion if it continues. Panel were useful and the show still provides more time for whole thoughts than any other outlet on our telly.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • James Liddell,

    Sounds as though it was pretty much like I'd imagined it'd be. But hey, at least Paul Henry isn't on there.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Way to sidestep the main question, Craig.

    Sasha: I don't take fatuous appeals to authority seriously, and don't intend to start dignifying them with a response. I was trying to be nice about it...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Here's some of the 'Oo, from last night:

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Were Hello Sailor any good, 3410?

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

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Serious Rawk 'n' Roll points off for the free bus rides for anyone with a valid concert ticket. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Ah, so three broadcasting specialists don't have any authority. Strange universe you inhabit there, Craig.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Were Hello Sailor any good, 3410?

    Missed both support acts.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Were Hello Sailor any good, 3410?

    Missed both support acts.

    I was lucky enough to catch all the acts.

    Hello Sailor went down well with the crowd. They played the tunes everyone knew and loved.

    The Counting Crows were alright, but the crowd felt a bit flat throughout. I'm not sure the band's earnest and introspective tunes were a good warmup for a kickass band like the Who.

    And the Who did play with ferocious energy.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

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