The NZ Herald reports:
Television New Zealand says it should be allowed to drop some of its election coverage because of terrible ratings.
The broadcaster has long been required by law to broadcast political parties’ opening and closing election addresses.
But it says viewing patterns have changed and a sharp fall in ratings during the presentations – once central campaign events – justifies a change.
During the last election the opening addresses had ratings that were 38 per cent lower than the average for the six previous Saturday evenings.
Who watches them? People now have a choice of channels and they wisely choose to change the channel when they come on.
Rather than require TVNZ to broadcast them, just have the parties release them on You Tube, and those who want to watch them, can do so.
The rise of the internet and social media has diluted television’s role as the key method of communication with voters, TVNZ notes, and audiences are increasingly uninterested in the opening and closing statements, the spokeswoman said.
Yep. And taxpayers have to pay TVNZ for the statements. Let’s save money and scrap the requirement.
Labour leader Andrew Little said TVNZ’s position confirmed the need for a genuine public service broadcast channel.
Television still carried a large audience and the addresses were part of a healthy democracy, Mr Little said.
By health democracy, Andrew means taxpayers should be forced to fund and broadcast propaganda for his party!
However, Steven Joyce, campaign manager for National during the last election, said he would be open to the addresses being scrapped.
There was a significant production cost, Mr Joyce said, and perhaps parties could be given additional advertising if the addresses were to go.
Or one could save money and get back into surplus quicker.
UPDATE: Corrected by AG that taxpayers do not reimburse TVNZ for the opening statement. However I guess we still pay for it, as the get reduced advertising revenue which impacts overall government revenue.