Speaker by Various Artists

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Speaker: The Public Broadcasting Imperative

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  • Jackie Clark,

    Wow. That's brilliant.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3112 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Is it time to sell TVNZ and allow it pursue unencumbered the commercial path it has chosen?

    Seeing an ad for Worst Plastic Surgery Shockers 7 pop up on TV2 last night directly triggered this thought for me. IMO the only reason we should be funding a "public broadcaster" that shows that sort of thing is if it commercially funded a great deal of more socially-worthy (and therefore worthwhile of social investment) programming - something that I don't see out of TVNZ anymore with the butchering of 7. Why on earth do we all retain ownership of TVNZ given what they've become?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1712 posts Report Reply

  • Jordan Carter,

    Fantastic and thought-provoking piece, thank you for posting it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Wow, as far as food for thought goes that was a silver service, twelve course blow out. "Provocative" in the very best (and most useful) sense - I certainly some cherished assumptions given a good shake, and it should challenge a lot of received wisdom on all sides.

    Shame I'm also cynical enough to think it will also be completely ignored by the very people who should be paying the closest attention.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11614 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Siu,

    Wow. Thanks for posting

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 74 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    The fact we were sold by TVNZ and have gone on to grow and succeed illustrates the lack of understanding successive Boards of TVNZ have had and continue to have about the industry they’re charged with overseeing.

    You could say the same about National with regard to strategic assets and the way they attempt to run the country.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4441 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    "Years ago I was told by a programmer at TVNZ that people didn’t like documentaries because they had to think."
    I was told this as well, and Steve yes, it is not a long bow to draw.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2468 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Thank you for voicing possibility so articulately.

    We all know that broadcasting and mass media determines a great part of the intellectual ocean we swim in. People still talk to each other about what was on television last night. We all know that we are being failed, and that it has serious consequences relating to the ability of our population to understand the country and world which they live in. And yet, despite decades it seems next to impossible to move forward.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2077 posts Report Reply

  • Terry Baucher,

    Outstanding. Thank you for posting this. I hope you got a standing ovation.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2008 • 84 posts Report Reply

  • Gregor Ronald,

    It's worth getting hold of a copy of the 1975 Oscar winning "Network"; all the dreadful excesses that made this movie cutting edge satire in 1975 are now the standard fare of mainstream TV.

    Awful reality shows, freak shows posing as documentaries, faked-up nature docos involving contrived dangers, and cruel elimination contests pretending to be entertainment; we laughed at these and said "Isn't the US incredible? It'll never happen here, we're too clever." Not so, it seems, once the bean counters get hold of the controls.

    As for Network's ending, with the man who was killed "live" on air because he had lousy ratings; that couldn't happen here - could it?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 62 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    The way to contain the contagion that is now TVNZ is to wait for the TVNZ Christmas party and then nuke the site from orbit.

    It is the only way to be sure.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • merc, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    It's not, or was called The Bunker for nothing ;-)

    Since Dec 2006 • 2468 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    I applaud Michael Stedman for kicking against the pricks, but let's face facts. With the honourable exception of MTS, public broadcasting television is not 'in danger'; it is dead. The body may still be warm, but dead it is.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    The way to contain the contagion that is now TVNZ is to wait for the TVNZ Christmas party and then nuke the site from orbit.

    I know you’re being flippant, but for all its faults, there are a lot of dedicated, talented people in that building who really don’t deserve that kind of violent rhetoric.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1268 posts Report Reply

  • Brendon Steen,

    Have we grown a market which believes that offering different flavours of candy floss is real choice?

    Unfortunately, that's what markets are. Where the only imperative is commercial gain the natural tendency of the market is towards mass production and economies of scale. The greatest achievement of a commercial operator is to convince consumers that identical products are wildly different.

    Public broadcasting, in this respect, is a barometer for our society as a whole. The advance of the market into so many areas of social activity is powering a grinding and unstoppable standardisation: a slow and steady slide to the middle.

    The middle of anything is an awfully boring place to be.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2011 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Gregor Ronald,

    faked-up nature docos involving contrived dangers

    This isn’t new, and indeed, it wasn’t new in 1976. e.g. the Lemming cliff scene from the Disney True Life Adventure, and, for that matter, Nanook of the North.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2968 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    For example, for 10 years NHNZ has partnered the University of Otago in offering a Science and Natural History Film Making Masters level degree course. Every year the course produces 10 commercial half hour documentaries which have won over 40 newcomer awards. They are screened internationally but not in NZ and in my view that is appalling.

    The last word says it all.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1458 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    Years ago I was told by a programmer at TVNZ that people didn’t like documentaries because they had to think. No one told Discovery, an empire that has been built on the belief that people are intelligent information seekers.

    That one sentence neatly sums up everything that’s fucked up about modern broadcasting in NZ. Ian Fraser as TVNZ CEO had all the right ideas, but was basically given an impossible task to do. The Lyprinol debacle and Henry-gate didn’t force TVNZ to clean up its act either. As it stands, the only thing it’s missing right now is live gladiatorial snuff.

    I know you’re being flippant, but for all its faults, there are a lot of dedicated, talented people in that building who really don’t deserve that kind of violent rhetoric.

    Seconded. It's the screwy managerialist culture that's the problem, not those who keep the gears running. Still, I’m tempted to think that TVNZ needs to be destroyed in order to save it, then start afresh, as with TVNZ6 & 7.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3896 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    As it stands, the only thing it’s missing right now is live gladiatorial snuff.

    I get the impression Sky is moving closer and closer to it. The timing of these gladiatorial brutal boxing/wrestling/kicking "entertainment events" inside the octagon ring is waaaay inside kids programming time.

    The New World is nigh.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1458 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Ross Mason,

    The New World is nigh.

    6 years away, to be precise.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3896 posts Report Reply

  • David Herkt,

    May I add my iota of applause.... With the additional proviso that united we stand, divided we fall.

    I have long contemplated instigating a rolling boycott of TVNZ, where one by one, through inventive means of propagation, a popular campaign begins which results in the fact that, we, the NZ audience, stops watching TVNZ until things change... I'd love the lights to go out on the ratings, one monitored set by another.

    I'd put in a proposal for a series involving cams on the 7th Floor of the Death Star for THAT one...

    But this is really just a fantasy of the apparently powerless (and some experience of making programming for that particular network).

    The malaise, however, is wider than TVNZ. I personally cannot believe how quite consistently it is demonstrated that our networks are losing numbers of viewers. There is all the crap about the competition from other platforms, but free-to-air is one of the great human dreams - with access to everyone, without payment... I mean, honestly, how can you screw that one up?

    Probably the first thing to do in the screw-up routine to is rely on ratings, those 1,000 monitored TV sets placed 'strategically' (no renters) and presume those figures mean something useful. I've always thought they mainly measure people who use the TV as a sort of visual room-warmer, flickering away brightly in the corner. Which is a different audience than you'd want for your commercial, I would have thought, although I guess the dull hammer thud of repetition must ultimately work, though not cheaply... and not appropriately targeted.

    Second thing is to provide enablers, like NZOA. NZOA funding is, from a taxpayers and a cultural perspective, but it has failed us as an investment. The facts provided above on NHNZ provide the exposure of this particular loss. NZOA's quasi commercial funding benefits no-one really except a commercial bottomline on programs that I suggest are practically unsalable anywhere else in the world. They don't really give us much as a people and they do not give us much as a nation. It is frequently a prop for bad decision-making.

    Thirdly, the TVNZ mode of operation, whatever it is now... It is a bodged-together organisation run by incompetents who are simply there because no one overseas will take them. It has no company-backbone, mission, or philosophy. It is a parasitic growth. I refuse to watch One or Two now. On principle.

    But, yep, we screwed it up. And I suggest we as a nation and as viewers have as much fault in the affair as TVNZ or NZOA. We are the audience. We've accepted the Bottom-line. We've accepted being treated like munters, like fodder. In some ways we've got what we deserve.

    The only good thing is that we are measured and we vote. Turn off and tell them you are turning off. Choose your vote in the election appropriately.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2007 • 37 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    I have long contemplated instigating a rolling boycott of TVNZ,

    Start a version of "Occupy" TVNZ ??

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1458 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    That is true, but the White Sea canal wasn't built only by the guilty.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to David Herkt,

    I personally cannot believe how quite consistently it is demonstrated that our networks are losing numbers of viewers. There is all the crap about the competition from other platforms, but free-to-air is one of the great human dreams - with access to everyone, without payment... I mean, honestly, how can you screw that one up?

    I don't think it's crap. There are genuinely more things to do with your entertainment time now, and I think it's reasonable to expect that more and more network TV watching time is being replaced by video game time, Facebook time, Sky time, whatever.

    One thing I have long thought though is that concentrating on things known to have the widest appeal is a bad strategy, in that you lose all the people who had minority tastes that are no longer catered for. My suspicion is that the top 10 rating things might in aggregate still be a minority or only a small minority of the potential public. You can see something similar in the fate of book chains that focus on bestsellers only.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2906 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    the White Sea canal wasn't built only by the guilty.

    Even taken as black humour, that's repellent, Tom. Rather worse that the original crack, I think.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2906 posts Report Reply

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