The public broadcasting spend

September 20th, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Chris Barton had a very good article in the NZ Herald detailing how we are still spending $233 million a year on . That is not a small amount, for a country of our size. The challenge is that costs do not scale much to size.

We spend:

  • $82 million contestable NZ on Air funding (includes $15.1 million Platinum Fund)
  • $58 million for Maori television (includes $25 million Te Mangai Paho contestable)
  • $36 million for Radio New Zealand
  • $18 million for TVNZ 6 and 7
  • $11 million for Maori radio
  • $9 million for other (Pacific transmission, archiving, digital, NZ On Screen, etc)
  • $5 million for Freeview
  • $5 million for New Zealand music
  • $4 million for commercial and community radio
  • $3 million for National Pacific Radio Trust
  • $2 million for Parliament TV

I’d be very interested in true viewer numbers for each. The article cites monthly and weekly cumulative audiences for some channels and programmes, but that means if you watch 10 minutes of a channel once a month, you get included. What I want is the average number of viewers or listeners during a show.

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20 Responses to “The public broadcasting spend”

  1. tvb (4,318 comments) says:

    These are quite big numbers. There SHOULD be a figure on audience rating. The problem with all this spend is the centre-left view point that is presented. That does not reflect NZ. The funding for TVNZ6 and 7 can be wiped overnight. I would like to see that funding go to a right wing radio station.

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  2. tristanb (1,133 comments) says:

    How much money are we spending on Freeview advertisements? Every second ad is telling us how to get digital TV – surely anyone with half a brain can work that out for themselves. I’m not sure why they have to get that lowest common denominator of retard, who is going to complain when analogue gets switched off anyway. We must have spent any money we’d make from the lease of the freed up frequencies.

    What also pisses me off is the money we are giving to musicians just for them to lecture us on how we are stealing from them. Peter Wadams, J. Williams and Annabel Fay are all scumbags I don’t really want to be giving $100,000s.

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  3. ben (2,418 comments) says:

    $/viewer/minute. That’s what I’d like to know.

    Instead of taking our money at, ultimately, the point of gun, can’t broadcasters be asked to earn their money? That’s how it works at Newstalk ZB etc. Their cost to the taxpayer per viewer minute is negative taking account of taxes they pay.

    Radio NZ plainly has no idea who their audience is or what they want. I don’t blame them: without the feedback that goes with earning more revenue than costs they are walking in near darkness. One of benefits of profit seeking is a requirement to work out who your target market is and what they want, and making a return if and only if you succeed in giving those people what they actually want.

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  4. swan (659 comments) says:

    So, whilst noting the limitation of the statistics, there are apparently more people watching TVNZ 6 and 7 than Maori, for 1/3 the price. Yet it is TVNZ 7 being cut.

    One suggestion – at least retain the station to play all the BBC 4 doco’s. Presumably this can be done on the cheap?

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  5. Longknives (4,686 comments) says:

    Why so much for Maori television? I was flicking through the channels at Prime-Time one night and they were playing a black and white replay of Mr Ed!! (overdubbed in ‘Te Reo’ of course!) Now such ‘creative’ exercises can’t be overly expensive…So where on earth does all that money go???

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  6. somewhatthoughtful (462 comments) says:

    That list is missing Steven Joyce’s crony loan to his old company….

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  7. tristanb (1,133 comments) says:

    Now such ‘creative’ exercises can’t be overly expensive…So where on earth does all that money go???

    Have you seen their Auckland office in Newmarket? Or the branded 4WD’s they get to drive around in? Then remember how much money in costs to pay the tribal bigwigs who were gifted a cushy job.

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  8. KiwiGreg (3,247 comments) says:

    So the question is – would we be worse off if we DIDN’T spend that ~$250m a year (I recognise that it’s like a week’s deficit spending but we have to start somewhere).

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  9. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    I live for the day the house of cards collapses around these parasites . The fucking leeches will kill the host, the host, the poor maligned taxpayers are to give to they are killed off. We live in la la land if we believe we can spend like this without serious repercussions, Boy do I hope I’m around long enough to hear the cry of anguish and the gashing of teeth when those that dish out out wealth realize it’s all fucking gone.

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  10. Pongo (371 comments) says:

    well NZonAir are financing 600k for a couple of fools to break aviation law and the Maori Radio is keeping Willie Jackson living in luxury.

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  11. Nigel (517 comments) says:

    UK BBC costs NZD 115.56 per person ( in millions 3,446.8 license fee + 293 govt grants, 61.838 population )
    NZ NZD $52 per person ( in millions 223/4.413 )
    AUS SBS & ABC cost NZD 64.87 per person ( 929 ABC & 211.8 SBS, 21.874 population )

    Seems to me given the topography of NZ & the ramifications that has for broadcasting, along with the breadth of public broadcasting we receive we get great value for money, even if it could be tweaked ( I’d drop 6/7 & sell TVNZ ).

    I also believe we have the best balance of public broadcasting & publicly funded broadcasting of the three nations above, NZ Onair to me walks all over the BBC/ABC funding model as it’s relatively broadcaster independent, I’d note Australia’s number is really higher, because they have regulations on local TV content & local Sporting content, with consequent costs to broadcasters.

    Given TVNZ make a profit you could argue NZ’s number is 5% lower than I put above.

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  12. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    The government shouldn’t fund public broadcasting at all. It’s not an essential service and it’s of very limited value given that the public today has access to vast amounts of (superior) media and information at the click of a mouse. These funds should be cut and either spent more wisely or given back to the taxpayer.

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  13. KiwiGreg (3,247 comments) says:

    “Given TVNZ make a profit you could argue NZ’s number is 5% lower than I put above.”

    Actually it’s higher as you arent factoring in the capital value of selling TVNZ.

    But just because a bunch of other nations do something (foreceably extract money from their populace to spend on something the populace wouldnt buy themselves) is no reason for us to.

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  14. DJP6-25 (1,355 comments) says:

    Next years ‘public’ broadcasting spend should be $000.000.000

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  15. John Barr (3 comments) says:

    Radio New Zealand National is the country’s most popular station for live radio listening according to latest Nielsen Media All New Zealand Radio Survey results. National’s audience of 507,000 people aged 15+ makes it number one equal with one other radio station for audience size, but when the station’s share is considered, Radio New Zealand National is out in front with 11% of the New Zealand market.

    Looking at both audience size and station share, the Nielsen Media results show that National is the most popular station in the country. Radio New Zealand National – first equal for cume and number one for market share. In the past year the Radio New Zealand website http://www.radionz.co.nz has consolidated its position as the most visited radio website in New Zealand.
    A great double for the public service broadcaster – the most popular radio station and the most visited radio website.

    Radio New Zealand makes all qualitative and quantitative research results, including those for key programmes, available online with updates three times a year. For more details go to: http://www.radionz.co.nz/about/audience_research

    John Barr
    Communications Manager
    Radio New Zealand

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  16. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    It seems clear that quite a lot of New Zealanders appreciate what Radio NZ does.

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  17. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    mikenmild – Sure. But why does it have to be publically funded?

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  18. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    There are a lot of things that don’t have to be publicly funded, but that I would miss if we didn’t have them.

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  19. bc (1,364 comments) says:

    tvb: “I would like to see that funding go to a right wing radio station.”
    Don’t we already have Radio Live, Newstalk ZB etc?

    ben “Radio NZ plainly has no idea who their audience is or what they want.”
    And you know this how? I would wager that they do have this information.

    Longknives: “Why so much for Maori television? I was flicking through the channels at Prime-Time one night and they were playing a black and white replay of Mr Ed!! (overdubbed in ‘Te Reo’ of course!) Now such ‘creative’ exercises can’t be overly expensive…So where on earth does all that money go???”
    Rugby World Cup?

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  20. TTTC (11 comments) says:

    RNZ is the only true public service broadcaster of significance in NZ.

    Political parties, of whatever colour, need to decide whether ideologically they believe in public service broadcasting and if they do – fund it properly. If they don’t leave it to the market and save the money.

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