Throng on the Internet Party

June 5th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Internet Party tweeted:

Thousands of NZers have been blocked from  We need meaningful reform and better infrastructure.

Throng points out:

Let’s be blunt. Not having Netflix in New Zealand has nothing to do with infrastructure.

This tweet was 2 days after the Sunday Star Times published a story about how an estimated 30,000 Netflix subscribers had been unable to access the streaming content service. The problem had actually been resolved 3 days earlier to that as we reported.

The Internet Party’s statement seems to overlook entirely the number of subscribers to Netflix. 30,000 is not an insignificant number for a service that isn’t technically available in New Zealand. With that number of subscribers being prepared to hand over cash every month it would be safe to assume that the current infrastructure is entirely capable enough to deliver the service its subscribers are paying for.

Throng is correct that the Netflix problem had nothing to do with infrastructure.  Also NZ copyright law has no impact on Netflix not being available to NZers. There is nothing the NZ Parliament could do to change the non availability. The issue is the decisions by content producers to not grant Netflix a licence for their products in NZ. I want that to change, but again it is not something NZ can do unilaterally.

Throng also notes Laila Harre tweeted:

Reaching out to Postie Plus workers. I know @FIRST_Union will be there in force. @GayMaxine@SamHuggard

As I’ve said before, Laila is an effective and passionate advocate for unions and workers. But not so for Internet issues. What helped kill Postie Plus? The Internet.

Whale points out:

Now we all know that the Internet Party is nothing but a scam, and the whole process of using MMP to score a hit on Key on behalf of Mr “I’ll destroy, anybody” Dotcom, but to have it so clearly illustrated mere days into her job is rather sooner than I expected.

She has absolutely no idea what she’s doing.   How this is possibly going to make it to the election without some sort of a complete structural and public failure is beyond me.

She now heads a party that has, as one of its objectives, the aim to optimise the use of the Internet.  That means this will destroy traditional employment as we know it.   You only have to look at postal workers as an example of the steady transformation that the Internet has caused within their industry.

A mail order company that doesn’t embrace the Internet is a dead duck.  

The Internet is the greatest creator and destroyer of jobs we have known. An Internet Party should be embracing the change.

Manufactured rage?

March 20th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Regan at Throng blogs:

Last Thursday, Seven Sharp ran a story about domestic violence in a staged enactment in an Auckland street.  This morning (five days later), the New Zealand Herald has a story that claimed“Women’s Refuge has criticised a Seven Sharp story on bystander reaction to violence against women which used the song Smack My Bitch Up as a backing track”.

The New Zealand Herald has a history of inciting anger when there is none and this latest escapade is no different.

We spoke to Women’s Refuge this morning and a spokesperson told us that they had been completely unaware of Seven Sharp’s story until the NZ Herald had contacted them for comment.  Colour me surprised. 

Getting upset over a backing track that features no lyrics on an issue that is increasingly problematic in New Zealand is incredibly petty and completely misses the point.  The fact that the issue is getting raised at all is something that should be congratulated, not lambasted for such trivial and inconsequential points.

If the track had included lyrics, then lots of people would be upset. But the reality is that no one watching the show was in any way offended. It was only five days later the “rage” was manufactured.

Throng on Igloo

December 10th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Regan Cunliffe blogs at Throng:

On monday, Sky and TVNZ launched their hardly anticipated new subscription television service.

Here’s our list of reasons why it shouldn’t be under your tree this Christmas or anywhere else in your house for that matter.

10. It’s probably still broken.  

The custom built platform was supposed to be launched months ago but has been delayed due to “technical problems”.  Is the launch simply exploitation of the spending season or a Christmas miracle?

9. TVNZ are involved.

Remember when TVNZ said “TiVo transforms television“? How are all those customers feeling today?  How long before Igloo too melts down?

8. A comparable Freeview box is less than half the price.

There are a number of basic models of DVB-T receivers which also have the ability to record to a connected USB storage device.

7. Sport is ultra-expensive.

The base “30 day channel pack” plus purchasing every Super XV match The Chiefs play during that period would cost you up to $99.74. On Sky this would cost $72.46 and include more channels, every Super XV game and a lot more sports besides.

6. Paying for content that used to be free.

Two of the eleven Igloo channels feature content that TVNZ used to broadcast for free:  Kidzone24 and TVNZ Heartland.

5. All Igloo content is Standard Definition.

The only content that you’ll be able to view in High Definition is from any of the free-to-air channels that broadcast in HD.  All of the extra content you’re paying for is delivered in standard definition.  This includes movies and sport.

4. High per channel price.

The “Sky Basic” package costs approximately $1.36 per premium channel compared with $2.27 per premium channel on Igloo.

3. Igloo is not a middle option.

Currently, a new 12 month “Sky Basic” package (~63 channels) with 3 months free sport and SoHo and free installation costs $553.44.

A new Igloo box (~34 channels) which you install yourself and a 12 month subscription costs $478.05

A new Freeview box (~29 channels) which you install yourself costs from $99.

2. Two thirds of the channels you can already watch for free.

That’s right.  They’re already free.  And also the most watched.

1. You’re not an Eskimo.

They’re the only ones who should have an igloo.

Those are our top 10 reasons why you shouldn’t get igloo and now we want yours.  We’ve got a brand new Samsung MyFreeview HD digital TV recorder (BDE-8500) worth $649 to give away.

In addition, if anyone reposts this on their own blog, we’ll include any comments made there in the draw. Have at it.

So if you comment below on Kiwiblog why you think people shouldn’t get Igloo, you can win a Samsung MyFreeview HD digital TV recorder!

Throng on Media7

June 15th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Throng blogs:

For the second time this weekMartyn Bradburyhas lashed out at a TV network that doesn’t employ him.  While his initial ire was towards TVNZ for failing to keep TVNZ7 running, it has now been directed towards NZ On Air (One of his employers?) and a different network that has stepped in to act as saviour for one of the channel’s shows when it goes dark.

I think this shows that the Save TVNZ7 movement is all about ego and politics, and has little to do with an actual desire to have good public broadcasting in NZ.

If a Saturday morning show on TV3 is the ghetto, what then does that make the unpromoted TVNZ7?  As David Farrar pointed out recently, the “others” rating of which Media7 is included in, is a fraction of what the commercial networks pull.  It isn’t unreasonable to expect that the audience TV3 will deliver to Media 3 on a Saturday morning will be higher than what the audience would have been on TVNZ7.  Certainly the Sunday night encore will be bigger.  You also have to wonder whether Media 3 will also deliver news bites for 6pm in a similar fashion as The Nation does.

Being on TV3 will give Media 7/3 not just higher ratings, but more impact. If a guest on the show says something newsworthy, it may then end up on the network news that night.

Throng on TVNZ7

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

A sensible post by Throng on TVNZ7:

Q. Does Throng believe TVNZ7 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.


TVNZ v Throng again

March 1st, 2012 at 2:46 pm by David Farrar

Throng blogs:

Every major TV network in the world that we work with regularly sends out publicity material which we gladly publish for them because, well, we love talking about TV.  When the latest reality TV show hits the airwaves, our inbox gets flooded with bios and photos of the contestants from publicists desperate to get their content talked about andpromoted for, in the most part, free.

Contrast this with the latest no from TVNZ:

Hi [throng]

We’re currently being very selective with the provision of our MasterChef contestant images, so were are not sending any additional ones out at this stage.



Why would a broadcaster turn down free publicity? Especially free publicity from the site that specifically caters to the fans of their reality TV shows.

Plus Throng can of course grab images from screen shots, so TVNZ saying no seems to just be about petulance.

TVNZ v Throng

May 17th, 2011 at 11:40 am by David Farrar

TVNZ has black-listed Throng from receiving media releases from them, because of a dispute over whether a press releases from TVNZ misled people by using “reach” instead of “average viewers”. I’ll come to the details of the issue shortly, but first want to focus on the big picture.

TVNZ is a state owned broadcaster, and has a news division which itself often reports news that others feel is unwelcome or unfair. It is vastly overkill to refuse to have an outlet on their media release list, just because you didn’t like one of their stories.

I would hope that TVNZ reporters and journalists will ask their colleagues in marketing and pr, whether they think it helps TVNZ’s brand to act in such a way, relaying on bullying and threats instead of reason.

First of all Throng, for those who don’t know it, is a website dedicated to New Zealand Television. It’s the work of a husband and wife team, who make their living from the Internet. They provide summaries, and feedback on all the major TV shows, plus general commentary on television issues. It’s the sort of site that a broadcaster should want to have a great relationship with. Sure it takes two to tango, but I know Regan and Rachel and I doubt you could find two more decent and honest people. Also as it happens Rachel got an A+ for Statistics at Auckland Uni, has lectured in Statistics and ironically helped write the materials for Stats 150 – “Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics”.

On the 2nd of May they blogged about a press release from TVNZ which was putting the boot into 60 minutes ratings on TV3. Throng pointed out the stats were wrong. TVNZ agreed they made a mistake and said so. So this is not the post which caused the dispute, but I suspect is part of the reason why TVNZ is being hyper-sensitive.

A few days later Throng blogged:

Just a few days after TVNZ’s press release full of ratings blunders about TV3’s show 60 Minutes where they quote figures way lower than in reality, they’ve sent out another ratings press release which a number of people ended up being misled by.  

Using a statistical term such as “average” in that press release was ambiguous.  Many would take it to mean the most-quoted statistic of average audience, rather than what TVNZ had used and intended for people to understand: average reach. 

The two measures are very different and can lead one to very different conclusions about the popularity of a show.   

As a result, TVNZ has requested their publicity department ensure that in future all viewership figures are attributed to Nielsens and identified by their appropriate categories.

They went on to explain:

Cumulative Audience, also known as reach: 

Relates to the total number of different people within the selected demographic who tuned into the selected time period for 8 minutes or more (i.e. reached at least once by a specific schedule or advertisement). It is usually represented in thousands, but can be transferred into a percentage of the potential audience.

Average audience: 

The average number of people who tuned into the given time selected.

Now at the heart of the dispute is TVNZ is offended that Throng said their use of the “reach” was misleading. They say it is not misleading and a valid figure.

The comparison might be between a website which talks of the number of “hits” as oppossed to “page views” or even “visits”. They are all valid terms, but if you don’t label them precisely. What TVNZ said was:

In total, more than 2 million New Zealanders (all 5+) have tuned in to Go Girls this series, and on average 708,200 tune in each week (all 5+).

Now I think it is a fair criticism that people reading that could think it refers to average audience rather than average reach. It might not be deliberately misleading, but why have a lack of clarity? I think TVNZ itself has acknowledged this point by putting in place a policy where future releases will use precise descriptions such as reach or average audience.

Now it is because of that dispute, that TVNZ have decided to blacklist Throng and refuses to have them on the media release list. This is taking thin-skinned to new heights. And I think TVNZ are doing it because Throng are small and they think they can bully them. The NZ Herald often reports items very critical of TVNZ, but you don’t see TVNZ refusing to send press releases to the Herald do you?

Throng have talked to other media about the issue they face. They have been told they must remove the offending post or they will not be given co-operation again, or put on the media release list. They have approached other media about this, which resulted in a further e-mail from TVNZ which said:

I’ve had a call from the Dominion Post Regan, who have told me that you emailed them regarding our ratings figures.  You are certainly going the wrong way about getting any further cooperation from us.  I suggest you pull back from this exceptionally foolish position.

So now it is threats.

I’m amazed TVNZ is being so petty, rather than just doing the “we agree to disagree”. What really galls me is that they would not act so high handed with a more powerful organisation.

I could understand their position if Throng refused them to have their say on the site. to the contrary they run unedited all their press releases. Surely the solution is TVNZ issue a formal “right of reply” to Throng, which Throng would publish.

But really this is beating up a mountain from a molehill. The “sin” was saying that using reach instead of audience average was misleading. For this, they have instituted a boycott.

I hope that those in the news and editorial sections of TVNZ will defend freedom of the press, and ask their corporate colleagues to reconsider the damage they do to TVNZ’s brand by instituting a boycott against a site because of one critical blog post.

Throng are not asking to be given special access to anything – they just want to be put back on the press release list. The ball is in TVNZ’s court.

TVNZ’s dodgy stats

May 4th, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Throng blogs:

TVNZ claims that 60 Minutes had an average audience of 130,060 in April, quoting Nielsen TAM (5+).  We publish these same ratings each day on Throng, and based on the figures we have been sent, the average audience was approximately 257,000.  TVNZ’s figure is roughly half that!

The press release gets even more dramatic by saying 60 Minutes has lost “almost 300,000 viewers per week since February”.  Hold on a minute: that’s an awful lot of viewers to be losing.  With over 8 weeks in March and April, that would have given 60 Minutes over 2.4 million viewers in February – more than the total number of Kiwis watching the Royal Wedding!

“[60 Minutes] had an average of 422,120 viewers watching each week in February” is misleading as there was only one episode of show screened in February!  It was a special 30 minute Christchurch earthquake special on the day after the quake, so not surprising that it rated so highly.  

So TVNZ was comparing a one off special the day after the earthquake, with normal ratings for 60 minutes, and using it to try and con people that 60 Minutes had a plummeting audience.

Someone in One News should explain to TVNZ Marketing that dodgy press releases from the broadcaster undermine their trustworthiness as a new source.

Minimum Wage lies

January 28th, 2010 at 9:30 am by David Farrar

Throng blog:

Ok, so I’m not 100% sure on the math here (need to check up the tax rules) but both bulletins can’t be right here in their calculations.  Using IRD’s website, currently for a minimum wage earner, they pay $2.27 in total for their tax and ACC levies.  I’m trying to double check these figures quoted, but I think 3 News is wrong – it can’t be right thatminimum wage earners are taxed 40%!

ONE News: $10 – $2.10 in tax – $0.20 in ACC levies = $7.70 in the hand
3 News: $10 – $3.00 New ACC levies in April – $1.00 PAYE tax = $6.00 in the hand

Note: Trevor Mallard also said about $6 in his 3 News interview.

Trevor Mallard is of course wrong, and if TV3 relied on him, shame on them.

One News had is absolutely correct. The marginal tax rate for a FT worker on the minimum wage is 21% and the ACC levy for next year will be 2%, so a $10 gross increase will be a $7.70 net increase.

Throng TV

September 23rd, 2009 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The television community site Throng had a nice review on Media7, and it also featured their new Throng TV site. Their initial show includes:

In this episode we interview Mark Jennings, head of news and current affairs at TV3; we search out how to get a writing gig on Shortland Street; attend the Maserati launch and Sax fashion show and hit the red carpet at the 2009 Qantas film & television awards.

The Jennings interview I found very interesting, and the Qantas Awards red carpet some nice voyeurism just to see what people were wearing!

Throng TV S01E01 from Throng TV on Vimeo.

The first episode is embedded above.

A month of news

July 14th, 2008 at 8:21 am by David Farrar

Throng has surveyed the news bulletins for One News, Three News, Prime News and TVNZ 7 News at 8 over four weeks. Some interesting findings:

  • ONE News: 57% News, 27% Sport, 16% Weather
  • 3 News: 65% News, 25% Sport, 10% Weather
  • PRIME: 59% News, 36% Sport, 4% Weather
  • TVNZ 7: 74% News, 15% Sport, 11% Weather

So Prime has the second least news and most sport. One News has the most weather. TVNZ 7 the most sport and 3 News in the middle.

In terms of live crosses:

  • ONE News: averaged 3.3/bulletin, maximum: 7 in a bulletin
  • 3 News: averaged 2.6/bulletin, maximum: 6 in a bulletin
  • PRIME News: only 1 in the survey period
  • TVNZ 7: averaged 1.9/bulletin, maximum: 5 in a bulletin

This probably shows the greater resources of TVNZ. Too many live crosses do get annoying but TV does them to give you a sense of urgency and being totally up to date.

Then finally they look at how often the news is used to promote other programmes:

  • ONE News: Agenda (5 times), Breakfast, Hannah Montana, Reluctant Hero documentary, Sex and the City and South Park
  • 3 News: 60 Minutes, Campbell Live, Home and Away (twice), Rove (twice), Kath & Kim and Prison Break
  • PRIME News: Flight of the Conchords, Oprah, Sky News, WWE Raw and Hannah Montana
  • TVNZ 7: Agenda (5 times), Close Up, The View and The Bachelor

To be fair to TVNZ, Agenda is a legitimate source of news from their weekly interviews, so one does expect them to reference it.

I record both One News and Three News on My Sky and just watch the segments from each I am interested in. Normally can do both bulletins in 30 – 40 minutes.