Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: And The Mission Is?

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    What is proposed in writing is the freeing up of $15 million in Charter programme funding to be administered on a contestable basis by NZ On Air. For all that Trevor Mallard has been protesting, this is really an extension of his recent removal of TVNZ's discretionary power over the Charter funding.

    So, let's be clear on this not only is the sky not falling, it's not being prepared for privatization by stealth? :) At least we seem to have a cross-party consensus that subsidising local versions of commercially successful imported formats, or using funding ear-marked for programming that wouldn't be otherwise commercially viable to "extend" a series of Sensing Murder isn't anyone's idea of public sector broadcasting. That's a start.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11933 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Can anyone confirm that Charter money was in fact used on Sensing Murder?

    I watched part of Sensing Murder last night, for the first time. I was shouting at the television after two minutes. I knew I wouldn't dig it, but I was unprepared for quite how weird and manipulative that programme is. It made me shudder.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18839 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    Maori TV: Te Whiripu-Whiropu:

    The channel's future under a National-led Government appears bleak. Brownlee says he has yet to see any figures suggesting MTS is meeting its aims. "It's a lot of money for what it's reaching. If they could show they are getting the reach they are supposed to be getting it would be a different story. But I can't see them ever doing that."

    Administration of MTS costs the Government $13 million a year. Maori broadcasting funder Te Mangai Paho has earmarked $16.1 million a year to fund MTS programmes for the next three years. In comparison, NZ on Air spends about $62 million to support local content on mainstream TV.

    Brownlee says National would review the channel's future before committing ongoing funding. While a court decision affirmed the Crown's obligation to promote te reo through TV broadcasting, National believed the Government could meet its obligations by using TVNZ's charter. (italics added).

    NZ Herald, 26 Mar 2005.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 765 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Thomas,

    mmmm, bit torrent cloud. now we're talking

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 315 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    I was shouting at the television after two minutes.

    Ha hah!! I watched one last year, it was spectacular - the mediums (media?) were told nothing other than two guys were strangled & thrown off a ship, their bodies were later found & the coroner deemed they'd been strangled & thrown off a ship.

    Armed with only that information, two psychics divined that these two guys had been strangled & thrown off a ship.

    Further, they were probably murdered by someone else on the ship.

    I was convinced.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • davidamstalden,

    On the topic of National policy releases, their broadcasting policy seems about as substantial and well thought out as their Kiwisaver policy, with Shane Arden first saying that small businesses will be exempt from contributions then reversing his comments the next day.

    Seriously, it's getting beyond a joke. I'm getting quite angry with National. It's one thing to drip feed policy, but what policy we're getting just seems to be a mess, confused and undefined.

    4 months out from the election, and we don't even know who the National candidate will be in our electorate. Seriously, WTF?

    New Plymouth • Since Mar 2008 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Can anyone confirm that Charter money was in fact used on Sensing Murder?

    Is lthis any use:

    In the first three months of this calendar year, TVNZ has committed just over $2.5 million of Direct Government Funding to making local programmes in three categories – entertainment, documentary/factual and special interest.

    The previous quarter, $1.35 million was committed to documentaries and Arts programming.

    Direct Government Funding is granted to TVNZ to allow the production of programmes which would not be made in a wholly commercial environment.

    Earlier this year, Chief Executive Rick Ellis announced that TVNZ would introduce quarterly publication of programme commissions made with this funding, in order to increase transparency on how and where public money is spent.

    Direct Government Funding programme commissions for the three months to the end of March 2007 are set out below:

    [...]

    Programme: Sensing Murder Series 2 Extension
    Genre: Entertainment
    Duration: 5 x 1.5 hour
    Production Company: Ninox Television
    $ Committed: $1,000,000

    Putting aside the fact that Sensing Murder is a pile of shit, and the people who promote it as 'documentary' or 'factual' programming should be sent to compulsory adult literacy classes... If an enormous ratings success like that can't be made in a "wholly commercial environment", I'm a heterosexal atheist Communist. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11933 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia,

    So tax payer's money is being used to fund Sensing Murder? How can they? And while I'm having a moan, what about the two quiz shows with Jason Gunn and one of them has a pre-feminist days female co-host in girly gear and arhghghgh!!!!!

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    It is obscene that the programme is made in the first place as it is deliberately misleading. Even more so if it is funded by the Government !

    Don't make it, and don't screen it ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 413 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Programme: Sensing Murder Series 2 Extension
    Genre: Entertainment
    Duration: 5 x 1.5 hour
    Production Company: Ninox Television
    $ Committed: $1,000,000

    As much as I'm loathe to have Governments interfere in the media, that is a million dollars of "waste" that any Government could trim with my utmost approval.

    I should also mention that Australia's second public television network, the SBS, has gone downhill in the last few years. Most of the documentaries seem to be about sex or Nazis (not that there is anything wrong with either, in moderation). A number of serious journalists have left, citing irreconcilable differences with the management. And guess who is running the channel, and has just had his contract extended? A former TVNZ executive. Says it all really.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2134 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    I used to work with someone who thought she was psychic. When she told us, she some how didn't foresee the laughter this would bring, no-one was surprised that she believed this though.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    I knew you were going to say that Shep.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers,

    I came to much the same conclusions on my own blog yesterday. Neither Labour nor National have any ambitions to make TVNZ a local equivalent of the BBC.....an ambition that require more oney than TVNZ has received from either party now or in the past.

    I'd like to see TVNZ become more like Radio NZ with pictures and few or no ads. TV is an information wasteland with a very few exceptions (Media 7 and Willy Jackson's "Eye to Eye" among them). Last night, CloseUp chased a whale around Auckland Harbour. I turned the TV off.

    I'd rather they chased Naitonal around for some policy, frankly.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 280 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Funding "Sensing Murder" with Charter money is shocking, totally, on so many fronts. That alone makes it worth dropping the Charter down a deep pit.
    Problem is, NZ on Air's funding model for television is also very flawed. It essentially gives the broadcaster's the power- you cannot get money from NZ on Air without a broadcaster.
    I'd like to see the whole model tipped upside down and given a good shake. With the Freeview platform launched and distribution becoming less and less constrained, the time is right.
    Setting up as a "broadcaster" isn't a big deal any more: NZ on Air could, for example, have their own channel on freeview. (Or why not youtube?) It could run ads, or not. They could run everything they fund there, in some sort of rotation, very cheaply, and make that a condition of funding it for the other broadcasters. They are wary of "ghettoising" the content, but it could be an add-on, rather than the only place to watch it- but a place where minority programming wasn't always pushed into the dead-zones.
    Giving the charter money to NZ on Air is fine, in a same-old, same-old way. How about some fresh thinking. NZ on Air was designed for a very different television world.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1556 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Neither Labour nor National have any ambitions to make TVNZ a local equivalent of the BBC.....

    Well, thanks for bringing that up, Steve. If anyone is serious about turning TVNZ into the BBC, then they better be ready to put very serious money into the production pipeline and accept that a hell of a lot of shit is going to come out. (And that a lot of the higher-end drama and docos like the Firth/Ehle Pride and Prejudice, Bleak House and Simon Schama's History of Britian and The Power of Art don't get made without either serious overseas, mostly American, co-production financing or solid overseas sales.) What complicates that even further is that there's no Alison Holst cookbook for 'quality' or even the less nebulous 'commercial and/or critical success'.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11933 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    Putting aside the fact that Sensing Murder is a pile of shit, and the people who promote it as 'documentary' or 'factual' programming should be sent to compulsory adult literacy classes...

    To be fair they have classed it "entertainment" and not "documentary/factual". Which probably means that even the producers know it's a pile of horse-hockey.

    However, I imagine that despite it's "shitness", it would rate pretty highly.

    Coleman made mention of the fact that under National TVNZ would have to make ratings data available, and I have to say I like that. (as sad as it would make me)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    On the topic of National policy releases, their broadcasting policy seems about as substantial and well thought out as their Kiwisaver policy, with Shane Arden first saying that small businesses will be exempt from contributions then reversing his comments the next day.

    I would be quite interested in hearing how two different MPs both mistakenly got the impression that employer contributions would be altered by National, to the extent that they announced this in public. Either something funny is going on, or people are snoozing off in policy meetings. A lot.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    Coleman made mention of the fact ...

    On bFm

    Sorry, I forgot that bit.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    enough capacity to store - and then seed via BitTorrent to each and every PVR-cum-node- all the decent TV programmes broadcast in the UK

    We could have the same for "all the decent TV progs" in NZ. Running on an iPhone.

    Sorry broadcasters - couldn't resist :-)

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Coleman made mention of the fact that under National TVNZ would have to make ratings data available, and I have to say I like that. (as sad as it would make me)

    Yeah, that was in the policy stuff too: I couldn't see the point of it.

    AGB Nielsen Media Research ratings data are available at 9.30 every morning to anyone who wants to subscribe to them. Is Coleman planning to force TVNZ to publish research belonging to a private company? I'm sure Nielsen will be thrilled.

    I kind of took that part to be meaningless tub-thumping, really.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18839 posts Report Reply

  • johnno,

    Coleman made mention of the fact that under National TVNZ would have to make ratings data available, and I have to say I like that. (as sad as it would make me)

    I took this to be a reference to RNZ's policy of not revealing its internal ratings data, nor participating in the commercial radio ratings.

    "Sensing Murder" won it's slot in all demographics last night.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 108 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    "Sensing Murder" won it's slot in all demographics last night.

    Not in the least surprised, Johnno, and that's my point. If that show meats the Direct Government Funding criteria that it be directed to shows that "would not be made in a wholly commercial environment", what doesn't?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11933 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    I would be quite interested in hearing how two different MPs both mistakenly got the impression that employer contributions would be altered by National, to the extent that they announced this in public. Either something funny is going on, or people are snoozing off in policy meetings. A lot.

    Well, I'm sure there's any number of explanations.... but the one that keeps jumping to mind is that they are discussing publicly actual policies that were supposed to be secret because the leaders know they wont be that popular with the voters?

    I have no idea if this is really the case or not.... I certainly wont point my finger and say "see, they really DO have a secret agenda"...

    But I'd point out that when your opposition keeps accusing you of having a secret agenda, and you keep denying it and saying it's false...... these sorts of public release then denial turn-arounds are not helping your cause.

    One potential minister not understanding whats really proposed for their portfolio CAN be excused as just not being up with the play, or mistaken...... but if it happens several times, things start smelling fishy.

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Jonty,

    < It's all very well to say that National will continue to fund Radio New Zealand, but the words "at the current level" are notably absent. Will it go back to the starvation diet of the 1990s? >

    It will if Bill Ralston is listened to. He claimed in his boring Listener column (this week) that the National Programme was boring. I would say not nearly as boring as he made TVNZ's channel 1 after his disastrous sojourn there. It now competes quite satisfactorily with channel 2 for LCD shallowness. Thank Christ for SKY.

    Katikati • Since Mar 2007 • 101 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    It now competes quite satisfactorily with channel 2 for LCD shallowness.

    But I've got a CRT. Is it different on plasma too?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3000 posts Report Reply

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