Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Media3: Where is Broadcasting?

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    ““Labour will take a fully-costed policy into the next election to establish a sustainable new public broadcaster.”

    (From context, this clearly means “public service” not just publically owned).

    I was going to look that up, thanks. Clare Curran does so much hand-waving it can be easy to forget there's a reasonable sort of policy commitment there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    let them placate you with loaves and fishes

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    The key will be to insist that it’s public service television, it’s allowed to sometimes be boring, it’s never infotainment or half-and-half commercial- and commit to it long-term without looking at the ratings every five seconds.

    There's no virtue in being boring. Public service TV should embrace difficult, serious and minority topics, or present in ways which which may bore some people, but it's not necessary to be a bore.

    I've been thinking about this a bit lately, because I've been finding Media3's move to an actual commercial slot quite refreshing. I'm more inclined to think about what might grab and interest those younger viewers coming out of Nightline. We've all lauded Campbell Live for its embrace of journalistic values, but it's also often entertaining and sometimes (in a perfectly acceptable way) calculated.

    I was reading David Byrne's 'How Music Works' yesterday, and thinking about this. I like his appreciation of stagecraft.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    The key will be to insist that it’s public service television, it’s allowed to sometimes be boring

    No no no… public service television more has to be “boring” than the commercial stuff had to be tasteless-yet-lethal as a slab of raw tofu marinated in anthrax culture. One of the smartest yet most “commercial” television dramas I’ve seen in years was a co-production of not one but two publicly owned state telvision companies working under various local content quotas and fiddly production funding mandates.

    Now, if by “boring” you mean “not strenuously trying to be all things to all people until you end up meaning nothing to nobody”, I couldn’t agree more -- and it's a tension all producers struggle with to some degree. But I’m one of those pointy headed elitist types who doesn’t have to go to a board and justify what I’ve commissioned. Please tell me how to square that circle, because bigger brains than mine have been failing for years.

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

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    “Labour will take a fully-costed policy into the next election to establish a sustainable new public broadcaster.”

    Good! Be interested to see the detail, but it's a firm statement of commitment.

    public service television no more has to be “boring” than the commercial stuff had to be tasteless

    Jeez, of course it doesn't have to be boring :)
    Just when the goal is to be informative first, and educative second, and to entertain is a distant third, you'll get some straight-up programming that's hardly entertaining at all. And sometimes, dammit, that's worth it. Even if only a handful of people watch.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    a firm statement of commitment

    So was this, though they don't seem to talk about it any more.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Yeah. IF someone goes to the bother of fully costing (and presumably that means being very clear about what exactly they have in mind) it'll be interesting- and demonstrate someone is doing the thinking. Otherwise. Another minister, another drawn-out bamboozlement.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And Maharey probably couldn't have been expected to know that National would simply kill off the inquiry while it was still in progress. That was breathtaking.

    I was going to look that up, thanks. Clare Curran does so much hand-waving it can be easy to forget there's a reasonable sort of policy commitment there.

    When I was at the Wellington Save TVNZ7 meeting last year, I personally asked Curran of the possibility of a Royal Commission on public broadcasting and the media industry. She said it would only be justified in the event of a major Hackgate-level scandal.

    And I've always suspected austerity wasn't the real reason for pulling the plug on TVNZ6 & 7. Rather, I've always thought that the usual suspects know that an uninformed public is easier to manipulate.

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

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    IF someone goes to the bother of fully costing (and presumably that means being very clear about what exactly they have in mind) it'll be interesting- and demonstrate someone is doing the thinking.

    I believe that Brendon Burns was taking his shadow role in that area pretty seriously before September 2010. While I wasn't exactly his biggest fan prior to the quakes, I'm genuinely sorry he's gone.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to ruth eliz Zanker,

    But only because users pay twice. Firstly from taxes which saw NZOA provide kids funding for fta channels. Secondly through pay television subscriptions to access the SAME local kids stuff behind the pay wall.

    One of the side effects of this is that kids' TV in NZ is more Americanised than America itself. Cargo cultism if I ever saw it.

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

  • Kyle Matthews,

    the free food is really good

    It's all pigs around the public trough up there in Auckland isn't it?

    One of the smartest yet most “commercial” television dramas I’ve seen in years was a co-production of not one but two publicly owned state telvision companies working under various local content quotas and fiddly production funding mandates.

    Scandanavian countries are kicking the rest of the world's butt when it comes to crime drama these days. The end of series 3 of Forbrydelsen messed up my head for a few days. The Bridge is in my pile of things to watch.

    Even if only a handful of people watch.

    That annoys me. If it's a niche programme but is well supported in that niche, great. If almost no one is watching however that's terrible. The point of TV shows is to be watched and inform, educate, entertain. They can't do that they're incredibly good shows that no one saw.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    The point of TV shows is to be watched and inform, educate, entertain. They can’t do that they’re incredibly good shows that no one saw.

    The flip side of that: even a handful of people being informed and educated by a programme adds MORE to the information and education of Aotearoa than a million people watching Project Runway.
    I’m not saying: keep forever funding things noone watches. Or ‘forget the viewer- make it as boring as possible!’ That would be stupid.
    But I am saying ratings don’t tell us anything about how informed or educated people were by a programme- they should never be the prime driver of public service TV. Even a small number of people who are well-informed can make a difference- raise the level of conversation.
    And really good shows can build, they can be repeated, they tend to find an audience even if it takes time. How many people here have seen The Wire? How many watched it live-to-air at 12:15 am on a Tuesday? Bet the Nielsen ratings weren't that good...

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    The point of TV shows is to be watched and inform, educate, entertain. They can’t do that they’re incredibly good shows that no one saw.

    Or for would-be Inner Parties who want a lemming public, it's the polar opposite: to disinform, dumb down, and de-sensitise. The GC and Henry-gate, anyone?

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

  • Sacha, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    It's all pigs around the public trough up there in Auckland isn't it?

    you're thinking of Welli :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    The point of TV shows is to be watched and inform, educate, entertain.

    and to foster belonging, to this place and the many cultures and communities we share in it.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    It’s all pigs around the public trough up there in Auckland isn’t it?

    I can't believe John Drinnan hasn't exposed the potato salad scandal yet ;-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    FFS, Red, could we acknowledge that some really shitty television slithered into the light of the cathode ray before the 2008 election? Honestly, if I can bring myself to admit the Fifth Labour Government did get things right now and then :), this shouldn't cause undue trauma.

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

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    FFS, Red, could we acknowledge that some really shitty television slithered into the light of the cathode ray before the 2008 election? Honestly, if I can bring myself to admit the Fifth Labour Government did get things right now and then :), this shouldn’t cause undue trauma.

    To clarify, it's been that way since the Prebble & Douglas days. The Clark administration had the right ideas, but seemed a bit half-hearted in executing them. Ian Fraser was the right man for the job, but he was handed an impossible task with TVNZ's inherent structure. 5 years was too short for TVNZ 6&7 to prove themselves.

    And no one of any political colour seems to have the guts to stand up to SKY TV - maybe we'll just have to wait till on-demand video reaches mass penetration.

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

  • Sacha,

    Damn good show this week. Recommended viewing. Lovely to see you there again Geoff.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Myles Thomas,

    You're all right.

    And we're all on the same page when it comes to public service TV. Though it doesn't have to be boring, I think Rob's point was more that it doesn't have to appeal to the youth market and rate it's socks off allowing it to be a bit more cerebral.

    Making public service TV interesting is the same challenge faced by Media 3 and all the old TVNZ 7 programme makers. And the BBC, ABC, PBS, NHK, Al Jazeera etc etc on a daily basis. It's an unfortunate expectation that public service equals 'worthy' but 'entertaining' is a requirement too. How to do so is the age-old storytelling skill that can only be nurtured and developed with experience and continuity of work.

    Here in NZ we don't always get it right, but the ratio of hits to misses is about the same as everywhere, we just never see the rest of the world's misses here in NZ (apart from NCIS).

    In answer to Craig's question about how to commission quality - successful TV networks learn that creative decisions are often best made by a couple of individuals rather than a committee. The Board must support but never get involved - HBO to David Simon, Maori TV to Julian Wilcox and the BBC to Stephen Sackur.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2011 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Sacha,

    Good to see you too, Sacha. Not so sure about the baby hedgehogs, though!

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2557 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    Great with a light dressing :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB, in reply to Sacha,

    Recommend it for anyone who hasn't come along yet. Map here.

    Hey, anyone recall what the building used to be? (it's obviously not new)... and is it the wall that used to bear the classic late 70's/early-mid80's graffiti that was so good it wasn't obliterated for around a decade? ("Zap is udder crap") (hint for those too young or forgetful to know/understand, Zap was a flavoured milk product)

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 889 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to FletcherB,

    (hint for those too young or forgetful to know/understand, Zap was a flavoured milk product)

    Now that's going back a while. These are the earliest adverts I can find on YouTube...

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

  • Kyle Matthews,

    How many people here have seen The Wire? How many watched it live-to-air at 12:15 am on a Tuesday? Bet the Nielsen ratings weren’t that good…

    We're comparing Public Service TV with a critically acclaimed HBO series which was a ratings failure?

    That means that I can point out that Star Trek was cancelled after three seasons in support of my argument. Or something.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

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