I have passed news of this week's Media 7 on to Dean Ballinger, who is close to finishing a PhD on conspiracy theories, at Waikato.* I reckon it will be a very good thesis, too
* Which has its own share of such theories.
Disappointed that Aled de M was been dropped, especially after the great solo try he scored against Northland on Saturday. He was never given a chance in earlier AB games; just running as an after-thought.
He does the right kind of name for an international series too!
Thanks muchly for all your comments. As I noted before, I just wanted to provide some space for these soap fans. I think they have a case, in that I am all for passionate fandoms of all kinds (well, James Blunt might be an exception).
Re the Firefly reference--we just got to see the full 9 episodes (only 6 years after the fact!) and I did enjoy it. Nice complexity in the characters but also satisfaction in the villains coming to a sticky end.
I'd like to see somebody come here and complain about the cancellation of a show like Two and a Half Men.
Well, me for a start!!
Yes, and I think there is a gender dimension here too. We have to have our rugby and Two and a Half Men but it is only silly women who hanker after soap operas?
Hmm. I guess I was hoping for a generous and open-minded response. So, old folks in rest homes should invest in broadband connections? I just wanted to support a bunch of fans, as I would hope they would rally to the cause if a favourite programme of mine was being taken to be shot!
If the soaps were an important cultural touchstone for a vulnerable section of the community and unavailable through any other reasonable means I'd have a bit of sympathy. But for Days of Our Lives I'm firmly in the user pays camp.
So, bugger the old folks in rest homes, the unemployed, shift workers etc?
Before we jump into the next conversation, I would appreciate any thoughts or responses to the item I posted at the tail-end of the last thread "After the Deluge" (if that ain't too cheeky, Russell!)
Because it is Friday and we should all be in a generous mood, I am taking the liberty of posting the long email message below (and my response to it). I think it is the kind of cause PA should should support irrespective of what you think about daytime soaps.
Very good Media 7 last night--maybe this is a topic for the next episode?
Email received today, preceded by my response
Kia ora Nikki: thank you for sending this. I exchanged messages with one of your colleagues a couple of weeks back, when she approached me for advice (can’t quite recall her name and the messages are on my home computer).
I don’t watch daytime soaps and I didn’t `see the Closeup story (Shortland Street is our preferred family viewing at that time) but I would certainly defend other people’s viewing choices and enthusiasms. I too hate the word ‘addict’ as it denotes helplessness and lack of control--’fan’ is such a better description.
In respect of you comments about ratings, they are indeed very flawed and highly contestable constructions of the television audience. In respect of ratings for daytime television, they are often beyond statistical validity—so to talk of them as ‘rising’ or ‘falling’ is fairly meaningless.
So, you can regard me as an ally in her efforts. What I might do is distribute this message around several lists/blogs I belong to, in hope that you will find other supporters.
Feel free to get back to me.
On 16/10/09 8:56 AM, "mjkeen" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Attention Professor Geoff Lealand
Dear Professor Lealand
I am approaching you in the hope that you might be able to help us in our campaign against TVNZ's decision to remove both Young and the Restless and Days of our Lives from their daytime schedule.
I am one of a group of supporters on the TradeMe message board who feel strongly about this decision and who are trying to gather more support in the hope that TVNZ will look at what they are doing. I am aware that you have signed the petiion online and that is greatly appreciated.
TVNZ state that they are ending these programmes, that have been on our screens since 1975, for reasons of poor ratings therefore they are cannot justify them financially. I have checked out the ratings information on the mediascape website and was horrified to see how they are gathered. My understanding is that if 500 peoplemeters monitor 1250 people approx in a population of 4 million people, we are looking at .032% of the population being asked about their viewing preferences. I read what you said about your feelings with regards to ratings, so I am hoping that you will understand when I say that I believe TVNZ have no idea about how many people actually watch these programmes.
I was involved in an article in the Press and the Dominion a few weeks ago called "soaps on the ropes" by Beck Eleven and she is talking to me today about doing another piece. After that article I have had so many calls from other concerned, angry and upset viewers who were wondering what they could do to support the issue. A few were Managers from Rest Homes, one of which said that she had had to explain to 33 residents that their favourite programmes were being taken off. She said they were devastated as many had few visitors and this daily "visit" by the programmes gave them something to talk about with each other. She said she has to tape it for those who may miss and that if she missed the taping it wouldnt be worth her life. She said they are very passionate. Other callers were many workers who would tape the programmes and watch at night. This is another problem I have with ratings in that even though the taping is monitored, it isn't counted. I also had retired people, nurses, students call. There is also another woman in the North Island from the message board who has had an article done in Hawkes Bay today newspaper and many other local papers. She has asked people to call her and her phone has rung non stop - to give an example she has had over 40 calls in an hour.
The Herald also has a blog with many posts from angry viewers as does the TradeMe message board.
Last night CloseUp aired a story about the addiction of soaps. A number of posters on the message board had been asked by the producer to take part in this show but we declined. We felt that by using the term addiction it comes across as extremely negative and almost reinforces the view of many, that we as soap watchers have a problem. We are no different to rugby fans and enthusiastic Coro St or Desperate Housewife watchers. They are not refered to as addicts. This is just about personal preference and should not give people an opportunity to criticise our character. We also had some concerns that because Closeup was a TVNZ programme they were probably not going to give a favourable perspective - somewhat biased maybe. Many people, including myself contacted CloseUp before the programme to explain what we felt the issue was. I am not sure if you saw this but it was one of the most patronising, insulting pieces of televison interviewing that I have ever seen. As watchers we are apparently suffering "consumption bereavement" similar to how people feel when their favourite cereal is removed from the supermarket shelves or when your special lipstick is no longer on the market. They spoke to a fan and an Auckland University Business School researcher, Cristel Russel. It was said that ratings had been dropping and the broadcaster can't justify the cost anymore. According to the researcher we no longer think of them as characters but as real people who we grow fond of - we think we could be walking in the street and might run into them. Mark Sainsbury's comment was maybe a cereal counsellor could be provided if your cornflakes are removed from the market. We apparently have to work through the grief -some of us will and up to 25 -30% woint ever find anything to replace these programmes. He also asked whether TVNZ should expect a backlash. If he was being honest he would admit that they had already received that backlash. This was extremely infuriating viewing.
I have spoken to Brendon Burns Opposition Spokesperson on Broadcasting and he is being very supportive and is trying to help us out. I have also tried to make contact with the Min. of Broadcasting but with no luck. I also referred the same letter to Mr John Key explaining that I had not heard from Dr Coleman and would he or his staff follow this up as I felt this issue was not being taken seriously. Christine Wilton from TVNZ has only sent a standard reply about what they are doing.
I am an intelligent 50yr old woman, in my last year of studying as a counsellor, have a partner, children, grandchildren, have a busy life and enjoy travelling in our housebus (heading off for a fortnight next week whitebaiting on the West Coast) I do not appreciate Closeup's public berating of what I and many others choose to do in our down time. Many of the viewers are people who dont really have a voice ie. the elderly, invalids, stay at home mums and dads and I am passionate about the unfairness of why this is happening (ratings inaccuracy) so I will advocate for those people and myself. The other problem is that because of the stigma that does appear to exist about the soaps, many people are not prepared to admit that they even watch the programmes. CloseUp just reinforced that stigma. The issue is ratings not that we are addicted to the programme. The content is irrelevant as it is not just the soaps that are removed for reasons of "poor ratings". Law & Order UK, Australian Police Drama "Rush" to name a couple.
I would appreciate anything you felt you were able to do for us and thank you very much for taking the time to read this rather lengthy letter.
2 Cecil Place
Ph (03) 981 2470 or 0274 340 920
I have changed my opinion about the appropriateness of MTS to bid for the RWC. When the news first broke, I argued that it wasn't within the cultural brief of MTS to pursue exclusive rights to global sporting events. In wake of the dishonest shenanigans of Nat politicians (McCully et al), I now reckon they have a moral right to do so--especially if we experience a spirit of cooperation between channels.