TVNZ7

April 17th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

I’ve blogged at length before on . I have praised a number of programmes on , but noted that their audiences were miniscule (seem to range from 0.1% to 0.4% of the population) and that trying to make both a commercial and a public service broadcaster is doomed to failure (as former CEO Ian Fraser has noted).

I’d like to see other broadcasters (including Sky) apply to NZ on Air to broadcast some of the better shows that were on TVNZ7 such as Court Report, Media 7, Backbenchers and The Last Word. But at this stage I’ve not heard any are.

has blogged a number of things:

I am drafting a private members bill which would ensure TVNZ7 had adequate funding to continue. But a private members bill goes into a ballot with around 60 other bills and it’s the luck of the draw as to whether it gets pulled out. If it did, it would be interesting to see the support for TVNZ7 and public service television across the House. I think the government might find itself outnumbered.

The bill has no chance of achieving anything, and is a last minute publicity stunt (nothing wrong with those, but let’s not pretend it is something different). The bill hasn’t even been drafted yet (most MPs draft the bill then announce it), and could not possibly be passed by 30 June. Hell even it was drawn out of the ballot, I doubt it would even have its first reading by 30 June.

There are two schools of thought. The government’s view  is that public service television can continue to be funded by NZ on Air funding programmes on commercial channels. The problem with this is that the most interesting programmes are not shown in prime time.

True, but with the growing use of PVRs and TV on demand on the Internet this is less of a problem.

There’s a strong argument for a complete revamp of the sector and the Broadcasting Act. For a  new independent public service TV channel separate from TVNZ. For requiring commercial channels, including the pay TV channel Sky to contribute. For even a small levy on internet connections to enable a new service to embrace the broadband environment and develop more Kiwi content that is accessible to Kiwis.

I really do hope Labour adopt this Internet tax as policy and campaign on it.

I am not against there being a public service television broadcaster, but the appropriate funding mechanism would be taxes – just as Radio NZ and Maori TV are funded. And no I do not advocate increased funding in these tight fiscal times. I think one could seriously look at a ABC or BBC style combined radio and television broadcaster within the current Vote Broadcasting.

There’s a strong view that if TVNZ7 was able to continue, and however it is funded, it should be completely separate from TVNZ control and influence.

I agree with that. You can not be a public service broadcaster and a commercial broadcaster. Choose one, not both.

Clare quotes Judy Callingham:

The channel itself should be a  totally separate entity, run by a separate organisation. Whether that’s a trust, a government entity or a company is a detail that can be worked out later. What is important now is to remove the channel from the control of TVNZ  altogether – mere editorial independence isn’t enough.

The separate entity could still use TVNZ studios and staff and equipment if need be.  It would hire them, just as private companies do. It would, and should, expect mates’ rates, but it shouldn’t expect to use the facilities for nothing, although perhaps the cost could be absorbed and become a paper addition to TVNZ’s annual dividend.

This would never work long-term in my opinion. TVNZ would always prioritize itself and other customers over an entity paying very little for its facilities.

Also this model overlooks one of the reasons why TVNZ7 had such dismal ratings. TVNZ never promoted TVNZ programmes in prime time on other channels. Trying to run a stand-alone broadcaster on $15m a year would inevitably fail. This is why the model of a larger combined pubic service broadcaster is better. One could promote the better TV programmes on radio, and vice-versa. There would also be synergies where (for example) something shown on the Court report could be followed up on Radio NZ the next day. When did you ever see One News follow up something from TVNZ7? Very rare.

Going on about “saving” TVNZ7 sounds good, but it was always a flawed model. What the debate should be about is how to best get quality public service programmes onto television. Is it purely NZ on Air or should it be all through a dedicated public service broadcaster or something inbetween? And how do you make it affordable in our current fiscal environment.

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24 Responses to “TVNZ7”

  1. KH (695 comments) says:

    TV1. Supposedly a public broadcaster. But if you were watching it could you find a sign of any “public good” at all. No. Even if you believed strongly in the idea of a public good broadcaster, TV1 ain’t it. Government should sell it, or if neccessary – give it away.

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  2. BeaB (2,142 comments) says:

    Sorry but Backbenchers is puerile with a lot of shouty people showing off. I’d rather go to the pub and do a bit of shouting myself than watch this nonsense.
    And then to have to help pay for it!

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  3. flipper (4,194 comments) says:

    Look DPF…..
    Callingham, like her “partner”, is a 60s dinosaur and is still wedded to the NZBS (from whence she came) philosophy. Others of the era have had the sense to move on. But not her and Edwards.

    Let’s face it: Edwards and Callingham are surrogate Labour functionaries.

    Solution:
    Sell TVNZ.
    Sell Radio NZ (Red Radio)
    Get Sky to turn Prime into a TRULY independent channel, devoid of left-wing/progressive bias – without going down a right leaning road.

    Good afternoon!

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  4. anonymouse (721 comments) says:

    So please remind me again what is Labour’s justification for keeping TVNZ, once they create this new nirvana fluffy bunny public access channel.

    BTW Some of the stuff on TVNZ7 did have a very Wayne’s World feel about it

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  5. KiwiGreg (3,259 comments) says:

    Publicly financed television and radio falls into two categories. Stuff that only an inside the beltway elite wants to watch or listen to or stuff the market would make anyway.

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  6. emmess (1,432 comments) says:

    We don’t need ‘public broadcasting’ in the 21st century.
    Has anyone considered the possibility that the existence of TVNZ7 killed off Stratos?
    Not saying it actually caused it. Just a possibility.

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  7. simo (151 comments) says:

    Jeeeez you fella’s have bloody short memories, I was taken to court by NZ On AIR in 1996 when we had the battle over the broadcasting fee…..now that was a a fairly epic battle which the customers won….this is the same old shit again you losers!!!

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  8. Pete George (23,680 comments) says:

    The numbers just don’t stack up. There’s a plethora of channels and a paucity of quality programmes as it is.

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  9. davidp (3,587 comments) says:

    TVNZ seems to be mainly a vehicle for delivering cooking shows, talent competitions, and shows about fat people to viewers. I have no idea why the government needs to own it.

    But then I have no idea why anyone would want to own a TV channel when you can deliver content via the internet. Set up a YouTube channel and you don’t even need to manage the hosting.

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  10. kowtow (8,733 comments) says:

    An awful lot of the stuff on 7 is repeated and has a huge man made global warming bias. I don’t like paying for left wing ,statist propaganda.

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  11. V (744 comments) says:

    One of these days Labour might find a priority … ?

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  12. hj (7,061 comments) says:

    Public broadcasting is a necessary adjunct to the political system, otherwise we would have to have only programs and opinions advertisers approve of. The fact that it may (in some cases ) not attract a large audience isn’t indicative of it’s usefulness as giving serious thought to serious issues is a big turn-off, but necessary nevertheless.

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  13. hj (7,061 comments) says:

    The latest SUV advertisement has a rat scurrying on to a train, kind off let’s you see what it shows you!.

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  14. hj (7,061 comments) says:

    Back benchers is the antithesis of what we need to get to grips with serious issues.

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  15. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Backbenchers is everything that is bad about Wellington and I love the place. It’s pretentious to the max ,full of the giggly undergraduate type that one would expect at a university debating club.

    It’s not something that the tax payer should be funding, if it were good it would have no trouble picking up a sponsor and be played when all the other top TV programmes are on, Sunday morning at about 5.00am

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  16. simonway (387 comments) says:

    I wonder how TVNZ would react to the idea of removing some of their requirements for local/Maori/public-service content in exchange for having to give free advertising (not a lot) to a new public broadcaster.

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  17. Viking2 (11,552 comments) says:

    So some of you still watch TV?
    someone further up talked about dinasours.

    TV is a dinasour.

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  18. mikenmild (11,655 comments) says:

    Backbenchers at least lets us see why some lesser-known MPs should remain less known.

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  19. Viking2 (11,552 comments) says:

    How the internet makes you happy

    Here’s one of the neat things the internet can do: by offering a live, free, web-streamed talk on happiness, presented by a philosophy professor and hosted by the Ayn Rand Center:

    The Declaration of Independence famously espouses the idea that every man has a birthright to the pursuit of happiness. An individual’s success in attaining happiness, however, depends on what he does with that right. This talk probes three factors vitally necessary to achieve happiness─factors that are not conventionally recognized but, in fact, routinely vilified.

    Speaker: Dr. Tara Smith is professor of philosophy at the University of Texas, where she holds the BB&T Chair for the Study of Objectivism and the Anthem Foundation Fellowship. A specialist in moral, legal and political philosophy, she has published books on values, virtues, individual rights and, in the past few years, several articles on objective law and judicial review.
    This event will be livestreamed free on the Ayn Rand Center’s Facebook page. Click here:

    http://www.facebook.com/events/193667467418927/

    You do not need to be a registered user of Facebook to view the event.

    What: Lecture on happiness—and how to go about achieving it!
    When: Wednesday, 18 April: 11:30am-1pm

    http://pc.blogspot.co.nz/2012/04/how-internet-makes-you-happy.html

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  20. Inky_the_Red (761 comments) says:

    The official figures I heard on TV7 is 1.4m different individual watch the channel every month. That is more people than voted National in the last election. Well worth a few million dollars to keep afloat.

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  21. Alan Wilkinson (1,886 comments) says:

    For heavens sake, sell TVNZ. It’s useless. Keep NZOA if you must. TV3 already produces much better stuff with its funding than TVNZ.

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  22. Leaping Jimmy (16,632 comments) says:

    This talk probes three factors vitally necessary to achieve happiness─factors that are not conventionally recognized but, in fact, routinely vilified.

    With all respect V2 unless the lecture says that happiness is a way of travelling not a destination, it’s going to be bollocks.

    In that one does not “attain” happiness. One “is” happy or not, as the case may be.

    Some people say things like: if I had a million dollars THEN I’d be happy. Well duh. What’s stopping one from being happy now, and newsflash, money does not repeat not change your emotional state, anymore than other bits of paper do. What money in abundance does is remove fear, which is an impediment to happiness, but it doesn’t facilitate a move towards it, except superficially, to the extent one is “happy” or rather distracted, with a Ferrari or big screen TV or whatever. But when that distraction wears off, happiness hasn’t magically appeared in one’s life.

    But hey, sounds interesting, thanks for the heads up.

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  23. Liberal Minded Kiwi (1,571 comments) says:

    Well at least no idiot leftard has screached about the so called wonderful BBC this time. What a tremendous waste of money it is and bloated like nothing you’ve ever seen in your lifetime.

    Imagine any Govt, not just Labour, putting their mates into cushy positions in there, not to mention the lack of accountability.

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  24. JeffW (327 comments) says:

    Why do we have NZ on Air?

    Why do we own TV One and TV Two?

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