Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Media3: Where is Broadcasting?

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  • Chris Waugh,

    Could this be good news? Certainly seems like it, though of course it won't magically revive public service broadcasting.

    "News Limited" - the news, limited to what Rupert allows you to know.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    In support of the new transmission system, he also established TVNZ 6 and TVNZ 7. But he – or his Cabinet – lacked the nerve to make those channels permanent. The five years’ funding (structured in an odd and unnecessarily complex way that saw TVNZ raise finance and effectively loan the money back to the government) expired without a sustainable plan for the channels’ future.

    Thanks for saying that, Russell. Perhaps I’m too silly simple for this world, but it hardly screams “commitment to public service broadcasting” when you’ve got a kill-switch on the funding from the start. It was a little galling to see Labour screaming bloody murder in Opposition over the entirely predictable consequences of their actions in government.

    And, TBF, it would be nice if the current government appointed serious ministers pushing joined up policy in Broadcasting and Arts/Culture/Heritage. I’m not naive enough to think those two portfolios are ever going to win a Budget bidding war with health, education or welfare still… Like it or not, we still have public ownership of a non-trivial chunk of the media landscape. Take it bloody seriously, one way or the other.

    Could this be good news? Certainly seems like it, though of course it won’t magically revive public service broadcasting.

    No it won't, Chris. I know Murdoch is the anti-Christ around here, but I don't recall INL's print titles magically becoming the paragon of excellence when they were flicked off to Fairfax.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    No it won’t, Chris. I know Murdoch is the anti-Christ around here, but I don’t recall INL’s print titles magically becoming the paragon of excellence when they were flicked off to Fairfax.

    It won’t change much, if anything. This, from News’s COO:

    We and Sky have always enjoyed an excellent, arms-length working relationship and we expect this to continue unaffected by the sale. In particular, we do not anticipate any change to current arrangements regarding access to content and collaboration on technology.”

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The drinks are cheap and the conversation is excellent

    And a relaxed atmosphere. Recommend it for anyone who hasn't come along yet. Map here.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    Of course. One thing I am not doing as I wait for NZ to develop high quality media is hold my breath. There's good stuff out there, like, ahem, Media3 (really hope my connection starts working properly so I can watch it again), but nowhere near enough.

    But it is as Craig says:

    we still have public ownership of a non-trivial chunk of the media landscape. Take it bloody seriously, one way or the other.

    I wonder what would happen if the commercial media had to compete with a high-quality public broadcaster using the internet to publish all kinds of high-quality multimedia information.

    I also wonder what would happen if we found ourselves with a government that had the balls to pass a law forcing an end to the highly concentrated ownership of media in NZ. That's another one on my wishlist, and another I'm not holding my breath waiting for.

    Anyway, Murdoch's recent troubles in the UK only served to strengthen my impression that he certainly should not be able to pass any good character test I thought our overseas investment regime was supposed to impose.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    I also wonder what would happen if we found ourselves with a government that had the balls to pass a law forcing an end to the highly concentrated ownership of media in NZ. That’s another one on my wishlist, and another I’m not holding my breath waiting for.

    Good thing. Because you would suffocate yourself.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Myles Thomas,

    In response to Craig, it's unfair to slap down Labour. Maharey has said the plan was to explore alternate funding sources for TVNZ 6 & 7 in the Inquiry Russell alludes to, specifically a levy on commercial broadcasters such as Sky. This wouldn't have been popular with the powerful Sky/TVNZ lobby so better for Maharey to make the idea come from the inquiry rather than his office. Sky would've known what to expect from the Inquiry anyway, and surprise surprise, it was the first thing to go when Coleman came in, despite the cost of budget already allocated and much the work done. They did NOT want to hear the recommendations.

    The govt's head is still in the sand as we come to switch over - regional broadcasters are struggling to manage it technically or financially, RNZ up against it, Kiwi FM going nowhere, Radio spectrum about to be sold off for the next 20 years, TVNZ current affairs in disarray, Freeview losing channels and now Sky in trouble. It is a disaster, and the chances of recovering are not certain.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2011 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • ruth eliz Zanker,

    kidsonscreen industry 1 pp copy (3).pdf

    The selling of Sky shares by Roseanne Meo's board was the tipping point. If that had not happened...we might be able to negotiate new solutions for a while longer.

    Now Sky is in a dominant position. It has Prime channel providing a fta spoiler for fresh content on other free to air channels. It can even say that it it has local kids channel (TVNZ24)! Yeah right! But only because users pay twice. Firstly from taxes which saw NZOA provide kids funding for fta channels. Secondly through pay television subscriptions to access the SAME local kids stuff behind the pay wall.

    In Europe pay services are either required to fund some local content (especially for kids), or they do so for urgent market reasons... They need to compete with entrenched public service broadcasters which provide local choice.

    But ultimately Sky must be worried about the big 5 globals with broadband access growing. It is hard for even big tiddlers in a global media sea.

    Christchurch • Since Feb 2011 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to ruth eliz Zanker,

    But ultimately Sky must be worried about the big 5 globals with broadband access growing.

    Drinnan writes about the implications of online delivery for Sky shareholders.

    Future revenue growth will come from squeezing more spending out out of customers and adapting to the internet TV services.

    Whichever investor picks up News Limited's 43.6 per cent stake in the dominant pay broadcaster, it will have to be prepared for that convergence.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers,

    It's shame that the present government is actively hostile to the only major media left in NZ ownership: TVNZ and Radio NZ. It is even worse that these are media assets we have entrusted to the government to be stewards of on our behalf. They have responded to that task by running them down (or shutting them down - TVNZ 7) in favour of private broadcasting interests in which we taxpayers have NO direct financial, cultural or social interest in at all.

    I flatly consider this be dereliction of duty at the very least...and active sabotage at worst.

    If we want public broadcasting, we will have to vote for it...and National has proven over and over that can't be on that menu of electoral options.

    Of course the same applies to public tranport vs private transport and public health versus private health...and public education vs private education.

    The trend is absolutely clear: This government is running down or undermining our assets in favour of their private business cronies....and giving these same people greater access to taxpayer cash as current policy settings mean any other source of economic activity / growth is being steadily moved offshore. I don't think it is an accident that local business people are seeking a greater role in providing state services. The destruction of manufacturing and the dominant role of multi-nationals in almost every sector leaves precious little breathing room for local business.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Steve Withers,

    the only major media left in NZ ownership: TVNZ and Radio NZ

    and Maori TV

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Steve Withers,

    The trend is absolutely clear: This government is running down or undermining our assets in favour of their private business cronies

    And it was clear before the last election. You'd think someone could have rallied voters to support an alternative approach..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason,

    I agree with all of you, but how do we fix it? I can't see the Nats & ACT doing anything worthwhile in broadcasting because it would violate their religious devotion to the invisible hand of the market. Have Labour or the Greens got any viable solutions?

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Sacha,

    Yes, let us not forget Maori Television. Murdoch will be missed, but only as someone to kick around..

    See you at Media 3 tomorrow ....

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2558 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Myles Thomas,

    In response to Craig, it’s unfair to slap down Labour.

    Myles: If that's unfair, then it's just as unfair to criticize National for gleefully pressing the kill-switch that was handed to them? N'est–ce pas? I'd also note the establishment of Maori didn't exactly have the "powerful Sky/TVNZ lobby" peeing its pants with glee, but it still happened without MTS being (arguably) hobbled from the start. And it doesn't please me to say that, make no mistake.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Siu,

    You have to pay for drinks now?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tony Siu,

    You have to pay for drinks now?

    These are dark days.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Myles Thomas,

    In response to Craig, it’s unfair to slap down Labour. Maharey has said the plan was to explore alternate funding sources for TVNZ 6 & 7 in the Inquiry Russell alludes to, specifically a levy on commercial broadcasters such as Sky. This wouldn’t have been popular with the powerful Sky/TVNZ lobby so better for Maharey to make the idea come from the inquiry rather than his office.

    And Maharey probably couldn't have been expected to know that National would simply kill off the inquiry while it was still in progress. That was breathtaking.

    But with more conviction, Labour could have laid in a commitment to fund the channels pending future revenue streams. And they could have done in it a simpler way than the opaque money-go-round that it turned out to be.

    But National's decision to kill off the channels smacked of spite than any consideration of the arguments. The bogus viewing figures that came out of Coleman's office were mostly a result of official ineptitude and were relayed by equally inept media, but I don't think it was like they wanted to know.

    Radio spectrum about to be sold off for the next 20 years

    We really do want to sell the 700MHz spectrum to telcos and pocket the proceeds after DSO. But there are major, major problems there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Myles Thomas,

    Maori TV is an outlyer as far as broadcasting policy goes. They had to go to the Privy Council and won on the basis of strengthening the language, nothing to do with public service television (according to Haunui Royal, MTS filled the void left by TVOne because they saw it as a way to attract viewers who were vaguely the same demographic). That means they are untouchable to mainstream politicians and SKY/TVNZ lobbyists.

    MTS does a great job, is ambitious and secure. RNZ and an equivalent TV broadcaster (TVNZ?) need to be put into the same position - not prey to the whims of Treasury or seesawing governments.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2011 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Russell Brown,

    sell the 700MHz spectrum to telcos and pocket the proceeds after DSO. But there are major, major problems there.

    Radio mics widely used in television production currently inhabiting that spectrum being just one…
    ETA: talking about the state of public broadcasting in NZ is almost too dispiriting. And it's not just a simple matter of voting for it: not TOO long ago, it was a cross-party consensus that public broadcasters brought value to the national conversation. I've talked to plenty of National voters who still back the idea. But where are the political parties now?
    TVNZ7 was a great initiative, but Labour aren't committed, as far as a I know, any public service television. Despite there being much more bandwidth and new ways of creating programming.
    The key will be to insist that it's public service television, it's allowed to sometimes be boring, it's never infotainment or half-and-half commercial- and commit to it long-term without looking at the ratings every five seconds.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2109 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Tony Siu,

    the free food is really good

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But National's decision to kill off the channels smacked of spite than any consideration of the arguments.

    or a clear understanding before taking office about what would keep certain interests happy. And that's not the public.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I'm worried we will sell it all off and that we'll have no "white space".

    When the US finally gets its act together and allows whitespace use I think there's going to be a flowering much like what happened when they opened up the wifi band to all comers (the microwave oven band for heavens sake) and let a 1000 flowers bloom - if google's whitespace proposals go through I think there will be a similar, but far bigger, explosion - and if we have nowhere for it to go we'll miss out - or go pirate

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Labour aren’t committed, as far as a I know, any public service television.

    http://www.labour.org.nz/news/opposition-parties-stand-together-on-public-broadcasting

    "“Labour will take a fully-costed policy into the next election to establish a sustainable new public broadcaster."

    (From context, this clearly means "public service" not just publically owned).

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    the free food is really good

    I really miss the potato salad.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

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