Throng on TVNZ7

May 7th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

A sensible post by Throng on TVNZ7:

Q. Does believe should be saved?
A. No.

Q. Does Throng believe there should be a Public Broadcasting TV channel?
A. Yes.

This is also my position.

So with such positives, why do we not support TVNZ7 being saved?  The primary reason is due to the first four letters of the channel’s name.

When the Labour government established both TVNZ6 and TVNZ7 and the channels were launched on the Freeview platform, there was much fanfare about an alternative to subscription-based television. However, due to the poor broadcasting policies of both the former and current governments, TVNZ has found itself caught in the middle of striving for commercial success and being a public broadcaster.  The reality is that they simply cannot do both.

TVNZ were never going to drive viewers away from their highly rating, ad supported channels.
TVNZ7 was doomed to near invisibility and the critics’ ire.

Exactly. Again this is a point I have often made. Those who mindlessly call out to save TVNZ7 are being reactionary. A public service channel should have nothing to do with TVNZ (which personally should be sold, with the capital going into a proper public service broadcaster).

It is time the confusion was ended and there be a separation between TVNZ’s role as a public broadcaster and a commercial entity.  If they are there to make a profit, let them do it but let’s not pretend any longer that they can do that and have success as a public broadcaster at the same time.

Indeed.

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16 Responses to “Throng on TVNZ7”

  1. wreck1080 (3,778 comments) says:

    TVNZ7 is paid for by taxpayers?

    There is a global financial crisis and New Zealand government is trying to cut government costs?

    TVNZ7 is making a loss?

    Hmm, let me think…….You’d wonder why John Key is making some fairly controversial spending cuts yet TVNZ7 is such an easy decision.

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  2. David Farrar (1,867 comments) says:

    It is not even a spending cut in that Labour only pledged funding for four years when it started. The intent was it becomes self-funding. To keep it going would require additional spending not budgeted.

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  3. Tanstaafl (27 comments) says:

    Australia does a fine job of public service broadcasting with ABC 1/2/3, SBS 1/2, and NITV. Why couldn’t New Zealand pay a 1/6 share and broadcast those channels on Freeview? NITV is already broadcasting a lot of Maori content and it shouldn’t be too hard to introduce more NZ content into the SBS/ABC lineups, particularly since SBS is considering adding an additional channel.

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  4. flipper (3,739 comments) says:

    Just remind me again why we really need a Government (aka taxpayer) funded broadcasting service.

    There was a time when Government bureaucrats persuaded politicians of all persuasions that radio was/is too important to be operated by any individual or organisation, other than the State. Those NZBS idiots actually OPPOSED the screening of Sesame Street in NZ!
    Same Government stupidity on airlines.

    Why is it then that taxpayer funded broadcasting organisations throughout the world are a repository of left wing writers (not reporters!) and commentators? Radio NZ (Red Radio), TVNZ, BBC, Aus BC, PBS in US, CBC et al are infamous for their overt bias.

    It is Newscorp owned Fox news shows like Hannity, The Five, Bill O’Reilly, and Chtis Wallace along with contributors like Charles Krauthammer, Bernie Goldberg, Karl Rove, Dick Morrtis, Dennis Miller and Juan Williams that are setting the standard (as demonstrated by audience ratings, not the New York “progressive elite”) for TV News.

    CBS, NBC, ABC and CNN (not to mention BBC, ABC (Aus.) and Red Radio in NZ) have all passed their use by date. Audiences are drifting away from them and they, rather like the folks on the left who always know what is best for everyone else, cannot understand why.

    Taxpaper funded/run btroadcasting is NOT necessary. Let it go.

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  5. Blackmanz (1 comment) says:

    @ Tanstaafl
    Interesting point – BUT:

    SBS is funded primarily by the federal government through triennial funding arrangements. SBS’s total funding from government in 2009—10 was $211.8 million. For the three years to 2012, government funding to the SBS is in excess of $650 million.

    Therefore 650,000,000/3(years)/6 (NZ share) =$36,000,000 – and that comes from where?

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  6. immigant (950 comments) says:

    There is a TVNZ7 and TVNZ6 ?!!

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  7. kino flo (81 comments) says:

    @DPF. Would you envisage the public broadcaster being a new channel or an existing one? Starting new TV channels is a pretty expensive business. Piggybacking on an existing network allows some technical support and expertise, along with utilising existing international broadcasting partnerships and agreements.

    [DPF: I'd combine Maori TV and Radio NZ]

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  8. tom hunter (4,527 comments) says:

    I’ve been chuckling for over a decade at the slow demise of TVNZ after all the tub-thumping from Labour in the late 1990′s about the nefarious plans to sell a National Asset (lesson for the left: assets are not permanent objects of value). As I pointed out years ago on this site what we are left with is declining in value with every passing year as the technology of Te Interweb, continues to advance.

    And while I have agreed with DPF about the need to finally and formally split the roles of public broadcasting and commercially-focused entities, the trouble with that argument is that it assumes that the public broadcaster would be “high quality”. The whole idea that such a standard can be set by a group of government bureaucrats in this incredibly diverse world, as it was in the glory days of the 1960′s, should have died by now. And there are more assumptions:

    TVNZ were never going to drive viewers away from their highly rating, ad supported channels.

    The key point is that there are shows that are “highly rating”. I think almost all of them are complete, lowest-common-denominator crap – but I can’t deny that people want to watch them, rather than Sunday morning political or current affairs shows that provide a platform for politicians to hone their skills at lying, to whit:

    TVNZ7 was doomed to near invisibility and the critics’ ire.

    Because it has shows that people are not interested in watching. I’m sorry but that’s the key point and no amount of money, passion, journalistic skill or promotion will change that sad fact.

    Forty years ago people might have been keen to watch pollies being grilled on Gallery and the like because it was new and fresh (and said pollies were not media-trained, which led to raw, human thrills) – but those days are long gone. As far as documentaries are concerned, I would have loved to have returned to NZ to find a channel showing, not just the BBC stuff, but programmes from PBS in the USA, who’ve been running their Frontline current affairs and Nova science shows for thirty years now, and they are the equal of anything the BBC produces. But after a while I realised that that was not going to happen and I now think it would not happen even with a channel free of the dreaded “commercial” focus.

    But of course I can now get all those from iTunes and other sources whenever I want.

    I’ve no doubt that this split will happen eventually, but at best the result will be the televisual equivalent of the National Programme, filled with earnest, well-meaning little shows pumping a left-wing angle on any subject they look at. At worst it will be the Concert Programme: money spent each year to provide for a tiny band of fanatical supporters with loud megaphones.

    What the hell! Why not really shake things up and announce that all Radio NZ’s programmes (yes, even Morning Report) will start broadcasting on TV. Of course Geoff Robinson and Simon Mercep don’t “look” like they should be on TV – but that could be part of the quirky attraction.

    It could not be worse than what we have.

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  9. tvb (4,229 comments) says:

    Who watches public service tv except a very influential Wellington elite. If this channel was such a raging success it would not be closing.

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  10. BeaB (2,067 comments) says:

    Most public service TV is deadly boring with tiny audiences. And usually left wing. The Court programme on TVNZ7 led by Linda Clark (looking much older than her years – why?) had no government input at all, just two people, Chauvel being one of them, doing a prolonged criticism of the government. And I have to pay for this?
    ABC in Australia tends to the left also.
    Most of us TV viewers I am sure enjoy the big commercial programmes, however much the so-called intellectuals deride and sneer at our low tastes.

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  11. graham (2,245 comments) says:

    Some of the local programs are very good. “Country Calendar” is iconic, and my house thoroughly enjoyed “North” – I’m not a Marcus Lush fan as such, but he was a perfect presenter IMHO.

    Just a shame these gems are few and far between. And they are shown on TV One, so why bother with TVNZ 7?

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  12. immigant (950 comments) says:

    They should mover GC to TVNZ7, that would boost their ratings.

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  13. hj (6,593 comments) says:

    There’s no such thing as a free lunch, as when Nissan features a rat boarding a train in the early morning. Evil b*ggers.

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  14. Philg54 (5 comments) says:

    TVNZ 7 must be saved to give balance to a commercially dominated media. It does not have to make money as it is a basic democratic right, and a public service. Courts, schools, or hospitals are not run for profit. One quality non-commercial Public channel is a democratic right and not a ‘nice to have’ . Sad to see so many narrow, mean spirited people on this site. It appears that people are not prepared to consider alternative points of view, and feel threatened by them.
    DF misses the point in that, TVNZ7 disappears, their will be no non commercial channel for NZOA funded programs to run on. To suggest on RNZ that TV7 programs should go on to SKY is laughable as 50 % of viewers don’t have SKY and would not be able to see the programs. A more thorough analysis is required. SKY clearly has the ear of this Government and is dominating broadcasting content in New Zealand. This relationship is restricting the free market to properly function and will hinder the uptake of UFB if it continues. In this way it is actually anti competitive and anti business. Much like the dominant role Telecom held until it was ‘unbundled.’ Lighten up and give people a fair go. And fair go does not mean labelling others opinions as loonies of the left.

    [DPF: Sky has a free to air channel, plus almost all NZers have Internet access and you can make available over On Demand]

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  15. Philg54 (5 comments) says:

    Thanks for the info DF.
    News to me. Online I checked ‘On Demand’ and there was no mention of a free to air SKY channel available to internet connected Kiwi’s. Other searches failed to show SKY as a channel offering. What is this free to air channel called so I can check it out? I look forward to seeing what Sky offers.

    Thanks
    Phil

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  16. Philg54 (5 comments) says:

    Hi DF

    You haven’t answered my question on where is the Sky “on demand” content available for internet users to see. A reasonable question I would have thought. Where is this content? I really would like to know. Are you going to censor this question again? If you decline to answer again I will accept that it was naive of me to expect a straight answer. Its called Democracy. How much other stuff are you censoring?

    Phil

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