Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Telling stories about us

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  • Islander, in reply to Peter Rees,

    ANZ-made, based in Dunedin. Excellent doco-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Blues for Robin is for sale on Amplifier, as either a download or a CD.

    Amplifier has been steadily making available the Ode catalogue -- which includes many records that pretty much disappeared on release. This is a good thing.

    Further thanks to you Russell!
    Ordering apopo-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Jen Ross, in reply to Peter Rees,

    It was "Donated to Science" by Paul Trotman. Really interesting film. It played at last year's Doc Edge festival and also on TV3 (a nice example of good commissioning by a NZ broadcaster).

    Since Nov 2011 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Islander,

    Further thanks to you Russell!
    Ordering apopo-

    I'm delighted I was able to help.

    I recalled Amplifier announcing recently they were to start rolling out the Ode catalogue, so I looked there and - bingo!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18969 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to Jos,

    Attachment

    Greg Johnson and Bluespeak at Take Me Back, June 2009.

    The sound track to Blues for Robin is one of my all time favourite CDs Tom Ludvigson and Greg Johnson. Lovely, haunting.

    Was going to mention that. Seems you all got there. It is very good, and watching them play at Take Me Back was a treat.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2144 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Turner, in reply to Peter Rees,

    (Removed: someone else already answered the question.)

    Since Nov 2006 • 202 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Turner,

    Regarding "quality" television and "crap" TV: this is clearly an area where individuals' values differ, but my understanding from interactions with people who are involved in the business is that most people use television to "blob out". Another way of putting this is that most people are using TV for entertainment, rather than for education or enlightenment.

    Many programmes are purchased from the US, where I know "Pawn Stars" had a significant effect on the character of "factual" or "unscripted" programming because it rated very highly - and still does.

    A commercial television company is bound to show programmes that deliver most "eyeballs" to its advertisers. The penalty for failure is severe, which discourages risk-taking. Consequently, the broadcasters tend to be conservative in their approach to innovation: it's very common to find "clones" of a successful series on competing channels.

    I've observed that television channels that start out as relatively "high culture" tend to move "down market", since this seems to make more money - partly because audiences increase, and partly because programmes for this market can be made more cheaply (though not necessarily).

    There are certainly differences between the US and Europe, for example, where I think governments play a greater role in regulating and financing television.

    Television in New Zealand is essentially all commercial and - from my perspective - its programmes reflect this. What's offered may not be to your taste but it seems to be working for the businesses concerned.

    Since Nov 2006 • 202 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Marcus Turner,

    Television in New Zealand is essentially all commercial and – from my perspective – its programmes reflect this. What’s offered may not be to your taste but it seems to be working for the businesses concerned.

    Then again, when does the race to the bottom hit, well, rock bottom? TVNZ has had the Lyprinol saga, Darkiegate, "Jay Pryor" and Henrygate, but nothing yet that's matched the News of the World debacle.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4355 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew, in reply to DeepRed,

    I’m thinking Roman gladiator revivals and live vigilante snuff à la The Running Man, with the shock value of Cannibal Holocaust. Jeux de la Mort came close, but no cigar.

    Maybe select a bunch of teenagers from poverty-stricken communities and compel them to fight to the death with promises of food for their families. Release them in a national park with primitive weapons and minimal resources, make the winner an Idol-like celebrity. Call the The Food Fight, or something like that.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 841 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Jeremy Andrew,

    Dogs day afternoons...

    Release them in a national park with primitive weapons and minimal resources...

    Hell bring it to Chchch, we have a great natural resource that the police are already using!

    Sergeant Alastair Sim, of the Canterbury police dog section, said the city's earthquake-hit eastern suburbs were the "most realistic training environment in the country".
    "For us, it's ideal. There are plenty of fences to jump, backyards to run through and empty homes to search.
    "International police departments would spend millions of dollars setting this kind of thing up.
    "Some police colleges overseas have made little villages to try to create realistic scenarios just like this."

    Gee, I'm glad this is all working out for someone...
    </sarcasm>

    ... meanwhile CERA/EQC continue to dick South Brighton Orange Zoned folk around...

    ''This has gone on too long. First it was the snowfall, then it was the December earthquakes, then it would be early in the New Year, then by the end of February, then March, then April.
    ''All deadlines have gone. [It's] unbelievable.

    and the elderly are voicing their discontent...

    Disgruntled elderly residents vented their frustrations at Cera's boss yesterday.
    "I spent many years in the army and I would never soldier with you lot," a war veteran told Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority chief executive Roger Sutton.

    Maybe Gerard Smythe could start on the Chchch version of Treme soon?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5058 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Marcus Turner,

    Regarding "quality" television

    Often bandied around as a trojan synonym for 'high' culture unfortunately. As if the masses need to watch more opera. Though we do like that behind the scenes look at the ballet company we all fund together. Shades of sparkling grey.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Evan Yates,

    Minor quibble with Geoff Stevens' quote:

    If I were to make a doco on claustrophobia I wouldn’t go and interview the Minister of claustrophobia. We’d stick someone up a telegraph pole and leave them there.

    That wouldn't necessarily worry a Claustrophobe. Now an Acrophobe might be a bit wobbly...

    Hamiltron, Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Nov 2006 • 190 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Turner,

    @DeepRed et al: my point was to address the questions in the original post.

    I think commercial broadcasters have found that traditional documentaries aren't working for their business. I've observed that those who have attempted to build a broadcasting business based on them have tended to fail, or survive by moving to more populist fare.

    Those who want to see or make traditional documentaries might need to look elsewhere for funding and delivery/transmission.

    Since Nov 2006 • 202 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Marcus Turner,

    like actual public service television, you mean? #gasp

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    I’m old enough to have seen and enjoyed “real, in depth” documentaries of a style that are no longer presented…. but I can accept that times have changed and what I’d like to see more of may not ever be offered again…

    But what REALLY PISSES ME OFF in “reality style” or “low brow documentaries"…. is not actually giving me my half-hour or hour (less ad breaks of course) of information…

    Its all “coming up next we show you XYZ” followed by “heres the XYZ” and then later ” We’ve shown you the XYZ"…..

    So theres a commercial half hour made from five minutes of actual (interesting or not) information…

    If you watch some old non-fiction TV from the 70’s and 80’s they can seem fairly glacial in pace compared to what we have these days… but at least they showed you once and assumed you’d taken it in and they could build on that and expand on it to show you more… The presentation seems "slow" but there was MORE information offered in the same amount of time...

    Modern info-TV seems "fast" in comparison....but they tell you the same thing five times over... it drives me crazy…. arrghh!

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Turner, in reply to FletcherB,

    Part of the reason for this constant repetition is the way north Americans - in particular - watch TV. There is very little "appointment viewing". What I mean by this is that people don't tend to know in advance what they're going to watch: they haven't read the listings beforehand.

    Instead, they sit at their screen with a remote and begin to click, until they find something interesting; something that attracts attention. Viewers may have as many as 500 channels to choose from. (I think substantial amounts of money are paid to place channels near the beginning of this list: numbers 1 or 3 are likely to get more clicks than 397.)

    Broadcasters need viewers to know what a programme is about within a short time of "clicking onto" it, and they want the viewer to stay with the programme as long as possible. (Remember, the broadcaster makes money by selling a certain number of "eyeballs" - eyeballs of a certain demographic, such as "men between 25 and 45" - to advertisers.)

    (Incidentally, I think I remember hearing that a typical "loyal" viewer might stay with one of the larger factual cable channels for an average of as little as 10 minutes a night.)

    This is why programmes constantly repeat information: so that, no matter when you start watching, you know what the programme is about. And you're given a reason to keep watching and stay tuned - particularly over the next commercial break.

    To those whose habit is to watch an hour-long programme from beginning to end, the repetition can be frustrating. But that sort of programme doesn't work for commercial broadcasters, for the most part.

    I like "old style" documentaries, too. We may need to look for them elsewhere in future.

    I don't see the relative dearth of them on TV as anyone's fault, and I don't think there's a conspiracy to manipulate us; I see it rather as an inevitable result of what people are prepared to pay for, and give time to.

    I think there is truth in the idea that people will watch whatever's made available to them, but the experience of commercial television shows that, when choices are available, documentaries aren't a preferred viewing option - particularly "old style" documentaries.

    I think this is because, as I mentioned in a previous post, most people are using their TVs for relaxation, rather than stimulation/education.

    I don't think this means that people don't want to be educated and informed; it's just that they don't seek this from much of their television-viewing.

    Since Nov 2006 • 202 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Marcus Turner,

    So effectively it's just de-evolution rather than conspiracy.

    Still, Bruce Springsteen saw through all the bollocks years back... and there were only 57 channels at the time.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4355 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Oh dear: Tom Fruwen has an interesting article about mockumentaries...NZ on Air, The OZ Gold Coast and international companies usurping the system.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1497 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Excellent Media 7 tonight, Russell.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2318 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Oh dear: Tom Fruwen has an interesting article about mockumentaries...NZ on Air, The OZ Gold Coast and international companies usurping the system.

    The revelation of $104,594 of NZ on Air funding for coverage of last month’s Anzac dawn service is particularly risible. An alliance of local opportunists and a multinational providing grotesquely overpriced 'public' programming that we thought our $60 million a year to Maori TV had already paid for.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3557 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    The GC gets a big-time pasting in the Dom - the general feeling is that the goalposts were shifted in the pitch. Even Mike Hosking has his standards.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4355 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    and it is announced that TV7 will be replaced by a channel for people who can't operate their recording devices or tell the time...
    Wow, I feel so well served by TVNZ...
    I wonder if they get to charge their advertisers twice?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5058 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Marcus Turner,

    the way north Americans - in particular - watch TV. There is very little "appointment viewing"

    What of Hulu? Your favourite shows just when you want them?

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3468 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Minister's blistering attack on TVNZ

    United Future leader Peter Dunne has labelled a move to replace TVNZ7 with a channel repeating TV One programmes a "disgusting insult"...

    "TV One represents the worst of television in this country. It is crass, superficial, lowest common denominator rubbish...

    "By contrast, TVNZ7 has always appealed to a higher standard - both in terms of quality and the range of programmes offered.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to 3410,

    The current state of affairs is all the more untenable, when we're told there's no money left to keep TVNZ7 running, but there's somehow still money to fund Jersey Shore knockoff prolefeed.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4355 posts Report Reply

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