Hosking backs rating transparency

Mike Hosking writes:

Almost as practical as Paul Goldsmith’s bill to let restricted drivers – including 17-year-olds – get work exemptions to drive home after hours, is Melissa Lee’s NZ On Air bill.

Lee’s bill has been pulled from the ballot, and it aims to make New Zealand On Air and its Maori equivalent be made accountable in terms of ratings, as to what it actually funds and whether it’s been successful.

NZ On Air is in charge of millions of our dollars. It funds programmes which look to be getting increasingly eclectic, and watched by fewer and fewer people.

If a show is targeted at a minority audience (ie a Pasifika focused show), then it is no surprise that it has a smaller viewing audience. Ratings are not the only metric of success. But if absolutely no-one is watching a show, then the public should know this.

Regarding releasing figures about the success of their choices, an NZ On Air spokeswoman said: “I don’t know there would be a great deal of appetite for it, because you are sort of inviting the court of public opinion to make decisions about things.”

Oh my god. Public money for public consumption of product?! Heaven forbid those who pay and consume have a say! What on earth would we know about what we want to watch?

If the public funds the programmes, then the public have the right to have an opinion.

Melissa Lee’s bill potentially opens the door into a cloistered world of elitism, and very little accountability. If she can change that, all power to her.

The Minister of Broadcasting is also the Minister for Open Government. This is a chance to prove the commitment to open government is not just lip service.

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