Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Future of Television

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  • Finlay Macdonald, in reply to Sacha,

    Consult most teenagers about how they see it.

    The ones I know watch a tiny bit of event TV, often ironically, but mostly don't watch at all. They are incredibly creative and communal, too. I believe they are what is known as "the future".

    Since Apr 2013 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And let’s not start on the comedy …

    I thought that died the moment Rowan Atkinson decided on Mr Bean.

    We also forget that Shortland Street put brown people on screen and made them stars, presented gay characters and had them loved. It’s as disruptive as anything else our television has ever produced.

    I always hated Shortland Street, but that is an excellent point.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    I always hated Shortland Street, but that is an excellent point.

    And while I can sniff at soap operas with the best pointy-headed elitists, it's also hard to miss that they've also been a great training ground for an awful lot of "highbrow" actors, writers and directors. Art is all very nice, but it doesn't hurt to learn the craft of being tight, precise and extremely adaptable on an unrelenting timetable and and unforgivingly tight production with next to no money.

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

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Finlay Macdonald,

    The ones I know watch a tiny bit of event TV, often ironically, but mostly don’t watch at all. They are incredibly creative and communal, too. I believe they are what is known as “the future”.

    I guess the question is how representative are the ones we know. But I think that’s not a bad characterisation of the kids who’ll create the culture.

    I suspect they’d be more likely to have watched X-Factor than The Block, which is basically for squares.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I am put in mind of our young fogey commisioner's incredulity at the news that our Media3 TV commentator, Joe Nunweek, did not own a TV.

    I recall that, yes. Generation gaps come in all shapes and sizes.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    mostly don’t watch at all. They are incredibly creative and communal, too. I believe they are what is known as “the future”.

    I showed my daughter this comment and she went "That's me"

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Finlay Macdonald,

    Consult most teenagers about how they see it.

    The ones I know watch a tiny bit of event TV, often ironically, but mostly don’t watch at all. They are incredibly creative and communal, too. I believe they are what is known as “the future”.

    I still think on-demand video will eventually reach critical mass. At least once NZ can get its broadband act together.

    I wonder what would it take to do something on NZ TV so shockingly original enough to be branded a menace to society? As in the kind of effect the Sex Pistols and the Ramones had on mainstream commercial music in 1976. If it's anything to go by, Bryan Bruce's recent social docos caused controversy, but not on the scale of the Pistols/Ramones.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5430 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    The highest rating program in the USA in the last couple of years has been NFL football on Sunday nights, along with NCIS and they get about 20-25 million viewers a week which is around the 6-8% of the population mark.

    The Block gets 637,950 out of 4,430,000 for it's finale.
    = 14% of the population, and maybe about 10% for it's regular mid season stuff.

    The biggest watched TV show in the USA EVERY YEAR is the Superbowl which gets around 80-90 million viewers which is around 27% of the population. It's booyah for the hosting network because the ads during the game (of which their are many) cost millions of dollars for one 30sec time slot.

    So TV3 must be rubbing it's hands together to get a show that is rating that high 3 nights a week for that many weeks.

    Any idea on what it typically costs for a 30 sec ad in primetime on NZ TV and what it might cost during a high rating show????

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    It occurs to me that one thing that might need to start being taken into consideration with ‘highbrow’ long-form drama series and the like is the slow-burn factor. Viewing figures at time of intial broadcast are arguably now much less of a factor than they once were.

    ‘The Wire’ is an extreme example, but I had people getting all enthusiatic with me about this great new show they’d just watched for several years after the final episode had aired. That’s now been replaced by ‘Breaking Bad’, where I’m getting Facebook notifications that friends have just started watching series 2 on Netflix, when series 5 ended a few weeks back. I’ve done it, and am doing it, myself: I got into shows like BSG several years after everyone else was buzzing about it. I scroll through Netflix now and watch shows like ‘Mythbusters’ and ‘Deadliest Warrior’ years after they were first broadcast. YouTube is full of docos that I’d like to watch, mostly from back when the History Channel was still good. On broadcast TV, shows like ‘The Onegin Line’, ‘The World at War’, ‘Only fools and horse’, etc. are still on what appears to be an endless loop on their own dedicated channels. But someone’s still paying for ads to be broadcast in and around them. GoT may cost millions an episode, but it’s going to be milked for decades.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Those folk who get sniffy about Shortland Street haven't watched it for a long, long time. I am proud to say it has been one of the more enjoyable aspects of life in New Zealand for the last 20+ years. I have a colleague who reaches Classics and he would agree.

    But as for ratings and Peoplemeters....Nielsen only claim that they report Presence in a room where a TV set is on. Perhaps we could debate as to whether this is the same as watching television.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2558 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Viewing figures at time of intial broadcast are arguably now much less of a factor than they once were.

    Sure, but there's a number of complicating factors. Hannibal (which Three is showing sometime in the new year) is pulling the kind of ratings for NBC that would usually get an expensive network scripted drama euthanized with extreme prejudice. But it works for the network because it is a co-production, and the way the deal is structured means they're not only kicking in a relatively modest percentage of the budget but the license fee is a lot lower than is the norm for similar shows. (In no small part to co-producer Gaumont International securing very strong foreign sales.)

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

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Yamis,

    The Block gets 637,950 out of 4,430,000 for it’s finale.
    = 14% of the population, and maybe about 10% for it’s regular mid season stuff.

    The Herald is now saying this:

    The final of The Block, which screened from 7.30pm to 9.30pm, was the most watched programme in that timeslot on Wednesday, with an average of 995,800 viewers, and 1,185,300 tuning in in total.

    Edit: No, checked it again TV3's release. The 1,185,300 overall is correct, but lord knows where they got the 995,800 average. It appears to have come out of thin air.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    Those folk who get sniffy about Shortland Street haven’t watched it for a long, long time.

    Guilty as charged, but you know what? Shortland Street isn't really my thing, and that's more than OK. Yes, Russell is quite right: Let's not be naive about commercial imperatives being important. Always have been, always will be. But at least for me, a sign of a healthy culture is when every damn thing isn't expected to even try being all things to all people all the damn time. That's just the road to bland mush that ultimately means nothing to nobody.

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

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Sure, but there’s a number of complicating factors. Hannibal (which Three is showing sometime in the new year) is pulling the kind of ratings for NBC that would usually get an expensive network scripted drama euthanized with extreme prejudice. But it works for the network because it is a co-production, and the way the deal is structured means they’re not only kicking in a relatively modest percentage of the budget but the license fee is a lot lower than is the norm for similar shows. (In no small part to co-producer Gaumont International securing very strong foreign sales.)

    That supports my point, though. Hannibal might turn out to be a slow burner, or it might deserve those low figures. From what you've said, the network(s) are playing it smart enough to spread the risk around and give it time to find its feet, rather than can something potentially good at the first sign of trouble.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    basically for squares

    Hey! I resemble that comment.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Yamis,

    rubbing it’s hands together

    Yeah a bunch of folks made money from that show, pity that didn't extend to the actual contestants. There were some pretty cynical business decisions made. Some of that is understandable given the risk associated with producing such a show but by halfway through they would have known that they'd turned a healthy profit so sharing that with "the talent" would have been nice.

    I think that hard business cynicism evident in TV is one of the things that turn the youth off. Why spend your leisure time giving money to the suits when you could share your attention with your peers. They are more relevant and if there is any money to be made from hits then it goes to your peers rather than to some overpaid CEO.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    But at least for me, a sign of a healthy culture is when every damn thing isn’t expected to even try being all things to all people all the damn time.

    +1

    My taste is mine. It is demonstrably different from anyone else. There is great art I actively dislike yet still recognize as great art and valuable to society. That is why I think Russell is right and we need taxpayer dollars to make sure that there is a chance art can be made for small groups of society and not the commercially viable majority.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    bergamots...

    You want people to buy apples?
    Make them taste like a burger … sigh.

    Hmmmm...
    <Warning NSFV*>
    cored apples,
    with hot pork
    centres...
    yum!

    or the applebagel:
    cored, ringed and
    bacon layered,
    lettuce maybe?
    just cos...

    - bun appetit


    *Not Safe For Vegetarians

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7944 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    RE: The Block, looks like some elements of the NZ Institute haven’t been completely squashed by the NZ Initiative merger…

    The NZ Initiative: Kill the property porn shows to fix housing

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5430 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    The 12 yr old in my house amuses me because she likes to read a book while “watching” Xfactor or The Block NZ. Talk to any of them and their TV culture revolves around YouTube and that can be almost anything but it mostly involves some kind of cultural remix or satire.

    So broadcast TV is very much wallpaper except for a very few programmes like “Grand Designs” or “Once Upon a Time”.

    Being able to watch YT on a TV screen makes it easy to trawl through the back catalogue and view almost anything. With appleTV and airplay we can watch anything that is online and while I suspect that puts our home into a separate demographic – online is the platform of choice rather than say NZ tv which is a hash of Aussie, US, Brit & NZ content.

    I watched “Repo Man” ( 1984) with the 12 year old who was quite taken with the satirical tone & mix of aliens, music and OTT acting. Part of her cultural education and only $5 on iTunes. That kind of back catalogue is impossible to beat.

    I haven’t watched Shortland St since the first season but the glimpses I get in promos or overlaps when waiting for something else still make me cringe. Its not quite bad enough to be good but it is very bad. I know SPTV is a great training ground for tv makers but I don’t watch any soaps and have never understood the attraction.

    I think mainstream TV is mostly for passive viewing. Anyone active who picks programmes to watch in advance is going to roam in the digital world or at their video store. ( Adam Curtis anyone ?)

    There are some TV shows that do seem to do very well and they are the ones with 20+ writers so it is clear that there is still some great TV being made.

    I do think the measurement of TV viewing is a real problem. It would be better if there was more qualitative measurement.

    Like an earlier commenter noted – doesn’t matter how many times Wild Bean cafe was product placed in the Block show we are not going to drink it. I do think some of the brands on the Block were over exposed and ironically that might even have reduced their commercial appeal.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 368 posts Report Reply

  • David MacGregor, in reply to SteveH,

    I read somewhere that people's diets are surprisingly malleable.
    After eating something we state distaste for prior about 14 times - it simply becomes what we eat and will state a preference for it.
    We don't eat what we like. We like what we eat.

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • David MacGregor,

    All this whinging about TV makes me wonder if anyone is out there dancing to architecture?
    The media landscape has changed.
    Build something new that suits it - and don't make it a shrine to Keith Bracey.

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I watched The Block, off and on, mostly because my wife wants to veg out before bed after a hard day. I felt a tiny bit sorry for the couple that only made $25,000, until I remembered that several of the people in the top 8 on The Contender not only went home empty handed after 10 weeks, but also having been knocked out cold on live TV.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Consult most teenagers about how they see it.

    My son basically never watches TV on the TV. But he probably uses about a gigabyte a day of internet and loves Big Bang Theory, Mythbusters etc.

    It may have something to do with him being a teenager and being in his room is just the thing of course.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Jason Kemp,

    I think mainstream TV is mostly for passive viewing.

    What does "passive" mean in this context? People don't think about it? People don't discuss it? People don't deliberately seek it out? People who watch mainstream TV aren't very bright?

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

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