Drinnan on Save TVNZ7

May 18th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

writes in the Herald:

Since this column started nearly six years ago it has maintained there is demand for a non-commercial TV channel in New Zealand.

I agree. But it must not be part of TVNZ. You can not be a commercial broadcaster and a public service broadcaster.

On Tuesday, the Save TVNZ 7 group held a meeting in Auckland, the first of many around the country, which happily was more focused on building momentum to make public television an election issue in 2014, rather than reviving TVNZ 7.

Of course it is. The campaign is purely about the election, not about saving whose funding decision was announced well before the last election.

But I was struck by a few things as I listened to the debate. The first was the age of the audience. Which is understandable since older people are naturally ignored by commercial television programmers. Few young people seem to be upset by the absence of non-commercial TV.

The second aspect of the audience was race – appearances can be deceptive but I saw just two people who were not Pakeha. This may be due to the fact that Maori have their own channel, while Chinese and Indians have developed their own channels and programming on Triangle TV. But different ethnicities would clearly have added fresh ideas.

It was also worrying that there seemed to be a party political bias in the crowd – veering to the left. Public television should allow all perspectives.

So it was a bunch of grumpy old leftwing whities. Most of them probably think Coronation Street should be on for two hours a night.

There seemed no acknowledgement of the concept of personal video recorders, of the internet and the development of internet TV.

The danger is that some supporters want a TV channel that is just right for them, supported by taxpayers. Users of Apple TV and YouTube are doing just that by choosing the content themselves. There are lots of options for public television.

The reality is the average programme on TVNZ7 was watched by a miniscule number of people. Between 0.1% and 0.4% of the population. This is not because they programmes were not good, but because the concept of having them within TVNZ was fatally flawed, as TVNZ has no interest in promoting those shows rather than ones with more advertising dollars.

But it is a myth that the demise of TVNZ7 is the end of public broadasting, and more than the myth there was none until we had TVNZ7. The taxpayer currently spends a significant $150m on .

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34 Responses to “Drinnan on Save TVNZ7”

  1. KiwiGreg (3,259 comments) says:

    Much like it would famously have been cheaper to hire taxis for all the users of the Greek railways, it would be cheaper (but entirely unfair on the rest of the populous) to buy “public” broadcasting viewers and listeners “free” DVD players and DVDs.

    The notion of a (largely inside the beltway) bunch of folk that it is somehow fair to tax their neighbours so they can enjoy their preferred entertainment without being interupted by ads frankly sickens me.

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  2. JeffW (327 comments) says:

    Let the people who want non-commercial TV subscribe to it. Why do taxpayers have to provide such a service. When we discover there is no money tree, this will go. Why wait until we are bankrupt?

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  3. Joel Rowan (99 comments) says:

    My main desire is for the News at 8, BackBenches and maybe the 5min news on the hour, to be transferred to TV1. It would be nice if TVNZ could run three commercial channels, with one of them focussing mostly on news/current affairs and the other two mostly on entertainment. The hour-delayed channel seems daft to me.

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  4. Yvette (2,842 comments) says:

    ‘Public Service’ television was first buggered back about 1975 – change to colour, two networks, and the opening of Avalon – and it has never come right since.

    The demise of TVNZ7 is because it was never promoted. No TVNZ channels, other than ONE and 2, have been.

    What is needed now is a New Zealand media website with everything New Zealand on it, with a subscription system similar to ITunes, but with many NZ On Air funded programmes, TVNZ. NZ Film Archives, ex Film Unit and other items for free download.
    Internet downloaded television is where it will have gone, by the time anyone works out a solution to ‘public broadcasting’.

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  5. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    That Coronation Street comment was a bit of a cheap shot don’t you think? While it might not appeal to Wellington theatre review amatuers, it’s pretty popular. Unlike anything on TVNZ7, it easily justifies itself on commercial grounds.

    [DPF: Not cheap shot at all. Hey here is an idea. Why not turn TVNZ7 into TVNZCoro, and have Coro Street on it 24 hours a day for fans]

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  6. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Why even have “public” TV…? Why? Its a dead model that’s not needed in the age of Sky and the net. Its morally undefendable and impractical to run.

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  7. blackienz (1 comment) says:

    I agree with the cut TVNZ 7 free from TVNZ – independence for any public broadcaster is vital. I am not sure that PSB has the legs to become an election issue. Broadcasting after all is a “seat warmer” portfolio and no minister or government since deregulation in 1989 has done much to keep broadcasting – and funding for that matter – up with the times. I would say that a more important issue is to revisit the broadcasting act as a whole and in particular the responsibilities of the broadcasting commission.
    The attendance reflected the demographic of most public broadcasters around the world – those who are in the commercially non-attractive sector of 35+ years.
    It is interesting that of all the local programmes on7, just 4 or 5 were considered “favourites” – Backbenchers seemed to lead the lot – then the other dropped away quite noticeably. PSB viewers want news, docos and current affairs with a bit of edu. thrown in for good measure
    There are some good economic ideas floating around that could see a viable low cost yet extremely watchable PS broadcasting service – but what would be required is compromise by the idealists – but are we adult enough to accept that?

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  8. adamsmith1922 (890 comments) says:

    What is the annual cost of Maori TV and what is the annual cost of TVNZ7?

    How many really watch either of these?

    Who really wants them apart from Brian Rudman, David Farrar, Bill Ralston, Bryce Edwards, Vernon Small, John Hartevelt,John Drinnan, Brian Edwards, Russell Brown, Bomber Bradbury,No Right Turn, assorted so called journos, politicans and as H1 said those inside the beltway

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  9. adze (2,129 comments) says:

    I used to be a “Liker” of Save TVNZ7 on Facebook, until the number of politically partisan wall posts became a bit obvious. I’ve noticed the left wing bias as well among supporters; but that isn’t entirely surprising because there is a noticeable left-wing bias in content on TVNZ 7 too (which I am able to ignore because it is more than offset by the quality of science docos).

    In the end though it’s about content as well as accessibility. There may be a better option via the internet before long.

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  10. BeaB (2,141 comments) says:

    TVNZ7 won’t be missed in my household. We can’t bear that sneering, condescending self-righteousness that the Left (including the Greens) seems to specialise in.

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  11. Akaroa (577 comments) says:

    DPF stated, inter alia: …”Most of them probably think Coronation Street should be on for two hours a night”

    Now now!! Have a care there, David ol’ sport!

    Doncherknow you’re trifling with one of the greatest iconic cultural symbols of our time?

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  12. adze (2,129 comments) says:

    Akaroa: You could use an algorithm to generate Coronation Street plots :P

    1. Take 2 people from the street, preferably 1 man and 1 woman, where one of them has dodgy ethics
    2. Give them two different but related motivations
    3. Individual (usually the man) does something that pisses the other off
    4. The other (usually the woman) shouts an angry monologue at the individual in (3)
    5. Individual in (4) storms out of room/scene.

    Rinse and repeat.

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  13. Kellee Lowe Hastings Nz (1 comment) says:

    Tvnz7 will not be missed in our household either can you take TvNz with it as well and replace our state broadcaster with something thats not so politically slanted.

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  14. Inky_the_Red (761 comments) says:

    1.5m kiwi watch TVNZ 7 each month. That is 1/3 of the population and more people than voted for National and it’s support Parties.

    [DPF: Please don’t repeat meaningless statistics such as cumulative audience which counts someone who watched for 15 minutes once during the month.

    If we use cumulative audience then 100% watch TVNZ, 100% watch TV3 every month.

    Also on an annual cumulative basis, 23% of NZ read Kiwiblog. Even better on a total cumulative basis 69% of NZ have read Kiwiblog.

    So I can trump your meaningless stats any day.

    The meaningful stat is how many people watch a particular programme. And sadly on that basis it is rarely greater than 0.1% of the population at any time]

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  15. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    “Let the people who want non-commercial TV subscribe to it. Why do taxpayers have to provide such a service?”

    Because part of the reason for public broadcasting is telling people things that they, strictly speaking, might not want to hear. But ought to for the public good. A democracy will run very poorly if it’s voters are poorly informed, and it is only a minority of people who actually care enough to inform the,selves directly in any rigorous way. Most news discussion diffuses through the population in various ways (talkback, water cooler discussions, Facebook), and so it does not matter so much if people don’t directly watch it as long as it is feeding information into the public arena. Public broadcasting is required to do that job for he things that people need to be told. Think of it as someone going around your neighborhood with a bullhorn reminding people of their civic responsibilities.

    That’s one of the reasons. There are others.

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  16. Inky_the_Red (761 comments) says:

    DPF the 1.5m a month is the only Official viewer numbers on TVNZ 7.

    Where do you get 0.1% from? No TV statistics in NZ are designed to produce figures that small as less than 400 households are surveyed by Nielson

    [DPF: It is more than 400, and my figures comes from the official Nielson stats. Technically the stat is “under 0.1%” which means effectively not a single viewer in their panel was watching]

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  17. Inky_the_Red (761 comments) says:

    Further to my last post. The former minister of broadcasting quoted a figure of 200,000 a week. Nielson don’t produce weekly cumulative audience. The clever minister took the lowest monthly cumulative audience and divided it by 4. Hardly honest.

    [DPF: Yep he got it wrong. But anyone who uses weekly or montly cumulative audience is using a near meaningless stat which treats someone who tunes in for 15 minutes once a month the same as someone who watches for two to three hours a day every day]

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  18. Peter (1,723 comments) says:

    The hilarity of calling for a “channel” at just the point in history where (pre-programmed) channels become obsolete.

    Where on earth do these crusty luddites emerge come from?

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  19. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Why not make TVNZ7 like the Rialto Movie channel, if you wish to watch a lot of in lots of cases pretentious wank, pay for it .

    Country TV on Sky is a perfect example, a niche channel so pay for it. easy.

    But I get it now the people who want this channel want me to pay for it, silly me… fuck off and pay for it yourself

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  20. scrubone (3,103 comments) says:

    Peter: quite.

    Why not use the overnight service to broadcast the programs, then encourage people to record them?

    We watch pretty much no live tv in our house.

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  21. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Inky

    My pay to view option will cruise in then if 1.5 million people stump up 10 bucks a months, easy, another propblem solved.

    But hold on you and your lefty ilk don’t want that, you want me to pay for it…as before …Fuck off

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  22. Inky_the_Red (761 comments) says:

    No you pay tax because you a citizen and resident of NZ. That tax is used to provide services to those with in the society. Some you chose to use some you don’t. Many you hope you don’t need

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  23. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Inky

    My tax is for education, health and security. If people want to watch a pretentious host and politicians so lightweight I didn’t even know they were in Parliament ( a la backbenchers) you pay.

    I don’t expect my taxes to pay for my band width so I can abuse and be abused on KB and joust on an intellectual level that makes primary school look like the pinnacle of an education system.

    No one ever died from not having access to a bloody TV channel.

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  24. Inky_the_Red (761 comments) says:

    No one died for not going to the ballet either, However society has decided to pay for a National Ballet.

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  25. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    But………………………performances are not free for the ballet, heavily subsidzed perhaps but the adults who go to adult performances pay money to view these performances.

    Again if the content is so stellar on TVNZ7 people will pay, I would pay, but its not that good its really really ordinary.

    CCTV9 kicks its arse.

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  26. Inky_the_Red (761 comments) says:

    [DPF: It is more than 400, and my figures comes from the official Nielson stats. Technically the stat is “under 0.1%” which means effectively not a single viewer in their panel was watching]

    I can’t find the figures by it is about 900 people within 370-430 households

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  27. Inky_the_Red (761 comments) says:

    Sorry I stand corrected it is 500 households.
    http://www.agbnielsen.co.nz/tamoverview.aspx

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  28. Chris2 (768 comments) says:

    DPF – it’s very easy to criticise TV7 viewing figures, but it still managed to gain an audience despite every NZ daily newspaper not ever publishing its daily progamming schedule, and the specialist TV rags (The Listener and TV Guide) burying the listings in their back pages, and only with the programme name and no elaboration on what the programme or episode was about.

    Starved of the oxygen of detailed programme information alongside the likes of Maori TV or even FOUR, the channel never stood a chance of increasing its audience because viewers were never informed what it was screening in a way comparable with other free to air channels. Even Te reo, a maori language only channel that only broadcasts four hours a day had its programme published by the media.

    It is interesting that Choice TV, which has only been running 15 days, is given more column inches of programme listings in the “TV Guide”, than TV 7 which unlike Choice TV, can be view in every part of the country

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  29. St Hubbins (26 comments) says:

    Give the fans of TVNZ7 the channel, they can form a trust and run it themselves. Otherwise just fuck off.

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  30. Johnboy (16,964 comments) says:

    People with real lives don’t watch TV. Why should I subsidise programmes for the dead? :)

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  31. emmess (1,432 comments) says:

    it’s very easy to criticise TV7 viewing figures, but it still managed to gain an audience despite every NZ daily newspaper not ever publishing its daily progamming schedule, and the specialist TV rags (The Listener and TV Guide) burying the listings in their back pages, and only with the programme name and no elaboration on what the programme or episode was about.

    This is the 21st century
    Ever heard of an EPG?

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

    Inky makes good points, lets stop funding of the ballet as well as public media. Sell it all and the proceeds can be used for further tax cuts, if we get anything decent out of the sale of our terribly inefficient media companies.

    Or we could go the way Inky wants, nationalise all media – incl radio and force the population to pay 60% in taxes so that we can afford every little pet project the left want to foist upon us.

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  33. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,753 comments) says:

    This is not because they(sic) programmes were not good

    Really?

    Market forces would indicate otherwise.

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  34. chiz (1,164 comments) says:

    Chris2:it’s very easy to criticise TV7 viewing figures, but it still managed to gain an audience despite every NZ daily newspaper not ever publishing its daily progamming schedule

    The chch press publishes the schedule.

    emmess:This is the 21st century
    Ever heard of an EPG?

    My mother watches TV7 but can’t figure out things like EPGs.

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