Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: For want of some purpose

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  • Sacha,

    Seeing Maharey say that so calmly yesterday got me asking why I had not seen anyone else associated with Labour be so clear about the intentions.

    TV producer Simon Bennett tweeted

    Still disappointed and angry about the termination of TVNZ7. Small-minded No-vision government. This country is run by grey people.

    Party associate and businessman Selwyn Pellett replied

    Helen Clark muttered that one of her biggest regrets was not reinstating public broadcasting. TV 7 was starting to fill that gap

    Shame.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Ironically, science programming eventually became a stellar part of the lineup

    Anyone who has followed the success of Mythbusters or of Brian Cox would know the public enthusiasm for popular science is undimmed by the efforts of the barbarians who guard the commercial broadcasting gates.

    And I have taken to recording Graham Norton on a Friday night for in-bed Saturday viewing, such is the quality of his chat show, which is yet another extinct format in this country, presumably deemed to boring and/or expensive and/or SOOOO yesterday by the half wits who run our broadcasting system.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2214 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    back-catalogue episodes of Horizon ... would be cheap and effective programming

    I wonder if they meant before or after the mid-90's where the programme developed a strong lean towards human interest life-science stories. (possibly in support of the Daily Mail's ongoing project to classify all matter into things that either cause or cure cancer).

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

  • merc,

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10816844
    So I am guessing TVNZ isn't going to sue the Govt. for allowing Sky TV to be a monopoly.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Anyone who has followed the success of Mythbusters or of Brian Cox would know the public enthusiasm for popular science is undimmed by the efforts of the barbarians who guard the commercial broadcasting gates.

    Or, indeed, of Natural History New Zealand, before its work was neglected by a rabidly commercial TVNZ. It's now part of an interstellar empire, but the affection we have for things that describe the world we live in continues. Programming like the BBC's 'Blue Planet' may not be cheap to make, but it's certainly popular.

    This I think was the strength of TVNZ7. By abdicating the "popular" determined solely in 18-49 ratings to the other channels, it was free to focus on the things that were strongly enjoyed by sections of the population. Does everyone want to watch a show about politics in the pub? No. Certainly not. But is there a part of the population who would genuinely love to watch such a show? Yes. Certainly.

    By mixing fairly cheap local production with commissioned local quality and international quality (news, documentary, drama, sport) you can make things work. Australia's SBS has taken too commercial a focus in recent years, neglecting the communities it was supposed to serve (is it any surprise it's headed by a former TVNZ exec?). But it still provides a fairly good example of how to get it right.

    TVNZ7 is dead. Long live non-commercial broadcasting.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • cphilpott,

    Great read, Russell - really interesting stuff.

    I completely agree with you about the SaveTVNZ7 campaign. It was certainly good to have something trying to stop the cancellation, and I think it will turn into something better and more suitable (and away from TVNZ, as you say). But I did find the funeral theme to be pretty poor, and unlike the rest of the campaign it seemed to be more finger-pointy, not at all in the spirit of finding a solution that suits everybody.

    New Zealand • Since May 2012 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to George Darroch,

    Long live non-commercial broadcasting.

    Amen! Also

    the thinking grandmother’s crumpet

    :-)

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • StepDoh,

    Is there any value in a reappraisal of the NZBC route, a better funded Radio New Zealand given extra money to produce local news and current affairs then procure the rest from indie developers with help from NZOA.

    I know they are running on oily rag funding at the moment, but there’s already news and current affairs nous there as long as it was presented fairly ‘straight’. Thinking in the vein of Tagesschau on Das Erste (20 mins long, presented straight and densely with voiced over footage and not to many live crosses) rather than competing with the Pacy! There! Now! of One /3 News.

    Could have made TVNZ divest Avalon as part of a divestment of any public broadcasting obligations? I’m sure they could set up a news studio somewhere on the terrace, it’s not like it actually takes a lot of space or investment.

    A bit before I left Edinburgh, STV the local channel three commercial broadcaster actually split their main evening news program into one covering Glasgow and Surrounds, and Edinburgh and Surrounds. Presented live from each city and only sharing national and political coverage.

    Definitely cheap and cheerful, but still quite relevant. Currently doing the same with Dundee, Aberdeen and Highlands.

    #lovethetron • Since Jan 2008 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • artig,

    I'm one of those who fall well outside the target demographics of commercial TV, and will sorely miss TVNZ 7. Although Save TVNZ 7 was doomed to fail I still supported them, and consider the demise of the channel as one of the stupidest acts perpetrated by the current government.

    The hour of news at 8 was a permanent fixture of my viewing calendar, as were local programmes such as Media 7, The Good Word, Talk Talk, The Court Report, The New Old, Hindsight, etc. One of the best series was The Sitting, all 10 episodes of which are still available on TVNZ video on demand.

    In future the TV will remain dormant almost every evening.

    BoP • Since Oct 2010 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Whatever some pundits would have you believe – and Paul Little’s incoherent argument to the contrary in the Herald on Sunday requires more critiquing than I have energy

    Here's all I can muster at the moment. Yes, Paul, the BBC churns out a terrifying amount of unspeakable shit -- something I can testify to after a few sleepless nights in British hotel rooms recently. And I can swoon over some of the wonderful work coming out of the cut-throat commercial world of US cable as energetically as any hipster.

    What that really proves beyond "one size does not fit all, or have a monopoly on either quality or dross" currently escapes me.

    Stephen Joyce’s standard response when questions are raised is that TVNZ 7 offered nothing that wasn’t available elsewhere. Yet there is no ready substitute for Backbenches or The Good Word.

    I think you've both got half a point there. Joyce is kind of right that there was nothing on TVNZ7 that couldn't have been produced and presented elsewhere. But there's been little incentive to do so, which isn't actually all on the evil commercial broadcasters.

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

  • George Darroch,

    Oh yeah, and another thing:

    Can anyone imagine Country Calendar being commissioned or funded under the current TVNZ model?

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Lilith __,

    the thinking grandmother’s crumpet

    Our very own Tom Jones.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to cphilpott,

    Welcome back to PA System. For the rest of us, here’s the latest on the TVNZ7 post-mortem.

    @artig: I’d say it’s more a strategy of philistinism than stupidity. What better way to ensure a gullible public, than the philistine-industrial complex? The same usual suspects have told us to trust NZ On Air to fill the gap, and what do we get? Mozzie Shore, oops, The GC and NZ’s Got Talent.

    And on a side note, NewsCorp vs Scientology: who would win? I’d say the general public, if they somehow manage to sue each other out of existence.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Danielle,

    Our very own Tom Jones

    I watched Mars Attacks last night, and found it just as sublime as I remembered.

    Tom Jones singing “It’s Not Unusual” to the assembled wildlife…how would you even think that would work?? And yet it’s a perfect moment.

    Edit: sorry, um, /derail!

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    This from the Press editorial quoted in Chris's column seems wildly naive:

    If public-service programmes are worth making, NZ on Air is there to see they get made. Once that is done, programme makers will find no shortage of outlets on which they can be shown

    Right now that's just bollocks, despite the golden glow of real broadband looming some years ahead.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    This from the Press editorial quoted in Chris’s column seems wildly naive:

    It’s utterly, utterly naive. It could hardly be more wrong. Yet people keep saying it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    As 'Save TVNZ7' morphs into 'we want public broadcasting!' the role on NZ on Air should come under scrutiny. It looks more and more like a subsidy for commercial broadcasters- they decide what gets funded, and then they sell ads around it, and allow us to watch it...
    Is there enough NZ on Air money to fund public service television?
    TVNZ7 was relatively cheap for what we got, because it shared news-gathering and facilities with TVNZ.
    I'm nervous about RNZ taking over the TV news-gathering role. It's the only decent public broadcasting news we've got- I still think it's very good- and TV could easily wreck that.
    I'd like to see public service TV start with a small NZ news and current affairs team; a good commissioning office, with robust accountability and a decent budget; and lots of the best news, current affairs and documentary programming from around the world.
    Probably at least $60m a year.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Russell Brown,

    This from the Press editorial quoted in Chris’s column seems wildly naive:
    It’s utterly, utterly naive. It could hardly be more wrong. Yet people keep saying it.

    Eyes wide shut!?!

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • cphilpott, in reply to Sacha,

    In my defence, I only included that particular quote as an example of optimism going forward. Besides, as Media7 itself has shown, "if public-service programmes are worth making" then they can find a home on another outlet.

    New Zealand • Since May 2012 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Will de Cleene,

    Even though some of them made a killing out of gaming public policy around spectrum allocation, those guys hate anything the government has to do with broadcasting.

    I did a bit of research in the weekend on this very point, looking up tenders for the 80s-90s spectrum sell-off, trying to see the quality of the ladder being pulled up with the next round of tenders. Alas, I couldn't find any smoking guns, although bonus cherries were scattered around the place, such as how much was bought up by Sky, Telecom and the churches.

    No room for public broadcasting in this round of re-allocations, unlike the first one, and the Maori stream only survives because the courts have said so.

    It also seems fair to say that the Labour goverment’s approach was unnecessarily complex. Well, let’s just say weird.

    Same went for the Charter, which I have had issues with previously. It is all part of Labour 5's larger problem; too much wool, not enough steel. Say what you will about the direction of Labour 4, you can't say they wrote worse law or instigated more flawed policy than during Clark's watch.

    Raumati • Since Jul 2011 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to cphilpott,

    Besides, “if public-service programmes are worth making” then they can find a home on another outlet.

    Let me re-phrase that for you: “if public-service programmes are worth money to advertisers, they can find a home on another outlet". Fixed :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Executive 1, is Brown corralled?
    Exec 2, yep, TV3 have him.
    Exec 1, thank god, my mum would never forgive me.
    Exec 2, yeah her and The Boss.
    Exec 1, we will never mention The Boss again ok?
    Exec 2, I know, I know, or we'll be sent to Igloo...

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Will de Cleene,

    looking up tenders for the 80s-90s spectrum sell-off, trying to see the quality of the ladder being pulled up with the next round of tenders.

    I seem to remember the UHF sell-off left a few polytechs and community organisations with spectrum- sometimes for very little (I think highest bid won, but only paid the amount of the next bid- and sometimes that was nothing.)
    It was a time of much optimism! :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to cphilpott,

    The Press editorial ignores the gatekeeping role of commercial broadcasters in NZ on Air's model, as noted by others here. Not sure what Media7 being picked up by TV3 says really. 'Backbenches' developments could be interesting.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    As ‘Save TVNZ7’ morphs into ‘we want public broadcasting!’ the role on NZ on Air should come under scrutiny. It looks more and more like a subsidy for commercial broadcasters- they decide what gets funded, and then they sell ads around it, and allow us to watch it…

    It's called regulatory capture.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

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