Avalon

April 6th, 2011 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

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I was sad to see announce today that the Good Morning TV show will be relocated to Auckland at the end of the year. It’s the only show of any substance to be produced at Avalon at the moment and probably marks the end of an era for New Zealand TV.

Avalon is an iconic landmark in my electorate, towering over the neighboring suburbs since the late 1970s. It used to be the home of TVNZ, and heaps of legendary kiwi TV was made there (at one stage almost all Kiwi drama was made in the Hutt). Then TVNZ abandoned any pretense of public service TV, moved to Auckland chasing the almighty dollar, and Avalon has been on a downward slide ever since.

Like Chris, I am sad to see Avalon go. It’s been the traditional home for leader’s debates and many other shows. And in the deep past, it was the centre of TVNZ news.

Or perhaps it’s time to start afresh? Let TVNZ go off and be a commercial broadcaster and setup a new public service channel? Avalon wouldn’t be a bad place to start…

I broadly agree with Chris. Trying to have TVNZ as a commercial and a public service broadcaster is an impossible task. Just ask Ian Fraser, who tried.

I’d sell off TVNZ (the state doesn’t need to own commercial broadcasters) and use the capital from the sale to set up a unified public service broadcaster which does television, radio and web.

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30 Responses to “Avalon”

  1. toad (3,654 comments) says:

    Funnily enough, and much as I oppose privatisation, I do think that idea has some merit – provided the second leg of the deal is adhered to (and I wouldn’t trust the Nats in that regards for one minute – they would probably find another SCF bailout to eat up the proceeds).

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  2. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    Except that good morning sucks ass.

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  3. speters (107 comments) says:

    Good idea DPF. The current situation is just contradictory and makes the job of those tasked with running TVNZ impossible.

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  4. peterwn (2,933 comments) says:

    There have been big technological changes too. It was apparently intended that Cabinet Ministers would be whisked out to Avalon for the likes of post Budget interviews. At that time TV cameras were hideously expensive and vary bulky, and shortcomings in colour TV then meant that makeup had to be applied to interviewees or they would look as they had one drink too many. Nowadays it is a trivial matter to originate a TV broadcast from Parliament or just about anywhere else.

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  5. calendar girl (1,108 comments) says:

    ” … and use the capital from the sale to set up a unified public service broadcaster which does television, radio and web.”

    That part is OK in principle, limited capital to create equity in a totally new entity. Now tell me how much public money per year will be required to meet the running costs of this non-income-earning “unified public service broadcaster which does television, radio and web”.

    It has all the characteristics of another bottomless pit of public funding for an operation that appeals to the superior, cultured minority who don’t care to pay from their own pockets for their entertainment preferences. A mirror image of the NZSO, perhaps, but many times more expensive.

    [DPF: If you take the current operational funding for Radio NZ, Maori TV, the TVNZ charter money, TVNZ's non commercial 6 and 7 channels plus NZ on Air, then I think that would be cover a full public service broadcaster]

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  6. decanker (220 comments) says:

    I agree, that is a good idea. Provided this new streamlined public broadcaster isn’t then tagged as a nice-to-have lined up for the scrapheap.

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  7. redqueen (342 comments) says:

    It really would be interesting to see what TVNZ would fetch and what kind of new ‘NZBC’ could be formed out of the news capabilities. While the new organisation could be Wellington-based, it would need very strict remits to limit it expanding into the commercial sphere (something which TVNZ has done and which has reduced its public service element to dust). Still, if TVNZ was privatised and we got a decent public service broadcaster I’d definitely vote for it.

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  8. decanker (220 comments) says:

    calendar girl,
    Look at any programme on TVNZ 7… which one is designed to appeal to a “superior, cultured minority” and why?

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  9. Sam (493 comments) says:

    “[DPF: If you take the current operational funding for Radio NZ, Maori TV, the TVNZ charter money, TVNZ's non commercial 6 and 7 channels plus NZ on Air, then I think that would be cover a full public service broadcaster]”

    Why not take all that money and leave a large proportion of it with NZonAir (the rest going back to taxpayers of course) – i.e. spread the love. If you don’t approve of NZonAir spending priorities, these can easily be legislated for I imagine…? The problem with funding another broadcasting network (public or otherwise), is the duplication of existing broadcasting infrastructure, which is kind of pointless in terms of the scale we have here…

    [DPF: That is an option, and I will do a fuller blog post on this. I see two routes ahead. One is setting up a BBC style unified public broadcaster. The other is to change NZ on Air to "NZ Media" and give it a role to fund public good programmes or articles, across all media - ie not just broadcasting, but could also fund public good investigative journalism etc". I'll elaborate more in my post]

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  10. big bruv (12,327 comments) says:

    Stuff the second leg of the deal, public access broadcasting is always a mouthpiece for left wing scum.

    The government has no place being in the media business.

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  11. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    Why on earth would you put public money into a “public service broadcaster”. The state should only be stepping in when there is a market failure and ownership and running of a business or business-like activity should even then only be a last resort.

    For example, if you decided that it was important that there be ballet on TV then pay a TV company to show ballet, you dont need to own it. Of course it is entirely wrong to tax people who dont want to watch ballet to do that but that is a seperate debate.

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  12. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    Personally I’d sell what was saleable and abolish the rest of the state-funded culture and arts apparatus. It panders to a bunch of self-important wankers and is money that, given the choice, few if any taxpayers would spend in that way.

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  13. 2boyz (230 comments) says:

    Time for a name change I think, out with the old ‘Television New Zealand’ & in with the new ‘Television Auckland’. I’m afraid we (the rest of NZ) don’t fit the target demographic.

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  14. MT_Tinman (2,790 comments) says:

    I’ve never forgiven Avalon for closing the free bar the only time I visited (Kids version of Wheel of Fortune – I was with my son).

    Serves them right!

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  15. backster (2,000 comments) says:

    I agree with Big Bruv scrap Government involvement in Broadcasting and TV. The Government or Opposition can buy time on the competing channels if necessary.

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  16. Viking2 (10,702 comments) says:

    Sell the lot and Kordia as well and pout the cash back into paying off our loans. If we want a service then we can pay for what we use. Sounds all sensible to me.

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  17. orewa1 (425 comments) says:

    Whichever of its roles it tries to fulfil – commercial or public – TVNZ is at least an abject failure and arguably a farce.
    Close it down, pay off the whole staff, and give Radio NZ the money to establish a modest but effective public TV facility. They do a very good job, on a shoestring, in radio.

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  18. Gwilly (154 comments) says:

    Sell it. The days of govt using television as a propoganda machine should end and they shouldn’t be involved in television anyway. It can hardly be classified as a core govt service, and we can’t afford it.

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  19. somewhatthoughtful (436 comments) says:

    Funny you say that KiwiGreg (about market failure) I’d say the terrible quality of broadcasting from our private radio compared to the quality news and programming that comes out of RNZ as just that.

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  20. Pauleastbay (5,030 comments) says:

    Firstly, TVNZ would have been a successful commercial broadcaster if they had not had the “charter ( a one page pie in the sky piece of crap inflicted on it by Marion Hobbs

    Secondly
    A building is not a fucking icon , a building is not iconic.

    Icon – the most misused word in the English language.

    And its the worlds most ugly building to boot

    …………….Legendary Kiwi TV……………. FFS

    Every bit of TV is run from Auckland, except this crap advertorial sham in the mornings,( public service TV ??????????? labour think, duplicate services and buildings). Avalon has only been kept open as an appeasement to voters, otherwise the building should have been shut down 15 years ago.

    Glad to see someone has had the nuts to say, moth ball it and get out of Dodge

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  21. adze (1,695 comments) says:

    I enjoy TVNZ 7. I hope it doesn’t lose funding and close down as has been rumoured.

    I also enjoy Radio NZ, their interviewing style leaves that of Jerry Springer & Kent Brockman’s lovechild Paul Holmes in the dust.

    I’d even be prepared to pay for their retention as long as I could choose to receive them independent from The Borg Sky.

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  22. starboard (2,447 comments) says:

    Chris Hipkins blogs:
    “I was sad to see TVNZ announce today that the Good Morning TV show will be relocated to Auckland at the end of the year. It’s the only show of any substance to be produced at Avalon at the moment and probably marks the end of an era for New Zealand TV”

    What planet does Richie Cunningham live on? Good morning show would have to be the crappiest show on tv since The Ray Wolfe hour. What the fucks an ” advertorial ” …the woman presenter cant stop looking at herself on the monitor( nice jugs but )…the whole things a poorly done amateur embarrassment. Good riddance.

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  23. Pauleastbay (5,030 comments) says:

    Starboard, correct, great tits

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  24. davidp (3,319 comments) says:

    DPF>The other is to change NZ on Air to “NZ Media” and give it a role to fund public good programmes or articles, across all media – ie not just broadcasting, but could also fund public good investigative journalism etc”.

    I think the whole broadcasting aspect of your idea is old fashioned. Make public interest programs, but host them on the web and let people download them on demand rather than stream them sequentially over radio waves. You don’t even need to host them yourself since YouTube will do it for you.

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  25. starboard (2,447 comments) says:

    Yes..yes they are..

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  26. Doug (405 comments) says:

    adze

    TVNZ 7 to close,
    The Standard won’t be happy.

    http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/tvnz-7-close-4104745

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  27. James (1,338 comments) says:

    ‘Why on earth would you put public money into a “public service broadcaster”. The state should only be stepping in when there is a market failure and ownership and running of a business or business-like activity should even then only be a last resort.”

    There’s no such thing as a “market failure”….for the same reason as its not a “nature failure” if a tree rots and dies…or thrives and grows big….its just the system at work. Now failure IN the market certainly happens…and its a good thing and vital to the whole system….poorer used and mis-allocated resources are diverted to more productive uses when things fail and are superseded by newer,more efficient entities be they businesses or whatever. All of us individuals ARE the market…its a medium for us to exercise our choices and desires in consensual trade with our fellows.People forget that “Public” equals State…and we have fewer choices and say with it than we do with the private market system.

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  28. calendar girl (1,108 comments) says:

    [DPF: If you take the current operational funding for Radio NZ, Maori TV, the TVNZ charter money, TVNZ's non commercial 6 and 7 channels plus NZ on Air, then I think that would be cover a full public service broadcaster]

    I hope that you analyse the financials thoroughly when you do the follow-up post. I shall await with interest your starting point operational funding for the new venture. The the projected growth of funding required. You know as well as I, DPF, that “enough” is never enough for state-funded “bread-and-circus” operations that have no market incentives or controls.

    A couple of other points:

    1. I agree with BB, backster and Gwilly above about the insidious propaganda aspect of public broadcasting. It is always seen and used as a bulletin board for the political and social views of whoever can capture editorial, usually the socialists.

    2. Good luck with getting rid of a specialist Maori TV channel as part of this little adventure.

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  29. Viking2 (10,702 comments) says:

    The Government spends around $231 million a year on all forms of broadcasting including Maori Broadcasting, Radio New Zealand, community radio and television stations, Freeview and NZ on Air, which received about $81 million last year.
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    TVNZ got an extra $79m in 2006 for TVNZ 7 and TVNZ 6, which has since been set up as a commercial youth channel.

    TVNZ 7 to get the chop
    TRACY WATKINS
    Last updated 05:00 07/04/2011
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    Politics
    New SIS bill ‘lacks accountability’ Minister says sorry over crash mix-up MPs told of starving boy eating cockroaches Political briefs – Wednesday, April 6 Key denies Cunliffe claim of SCF offer No routine arming of police – Commissioner Feathers ruffled in diplomatic shake-up Israeli embassy set up to withstand bomb blasts New laws get tough with vehicle breaches Education split in re-allocation of Hughes’ roles

    Public broadcasting channel TVNZ 7 is to be wound up after just three years.

    The commercial-free channel has cultivated a niche audience since its inception but Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman confirmed yesterday its funding would not be extended beyond next year after it failed to live up to expectations that it would support itself over time.
    Dr Coleman said the Government had no plans to sell off TVNZ, and he believed Radio NZ was operating well.

    - The Dominion Post
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/4856878/TVNZ-7-to-get-the-chop

    Question is WHY NOT?

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  30. Sofia (778 comments) says:

    @ MT–Tinman
    “I’ve never forgiven Avalon for closing the free bar the only time I visited (Kids version of Wheel of Fortune – I was with my son). Serves them right!

    You may have been suffering all this time with some misinformation.
    To my knowledge, from its inception in 1975, the bar was never free to anyone unless hired by some entity [programme, birthday or wedding, socuial group] who still paid for the drinks. I stand of course to be corrected.

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