Posts by Dylan Reeve

  • Speaker: Broadcasting and the Public Interest, in reply to sandra,

    Does anyone know why TVNZ doesn't dip into its (presumed) cache of great documentary programming from the past and sell DVD series? I'm particularly thinking of all the great documentaries screened in 1990. I was living back in NZ for the first time in 10 years and lapped it up. There must be money to be made there ...

    TVNZ doesn't really have any trouble making money (well, no more than any broadcaster in the current age).

    But ultimately that is not commercially viable. However if TVNZ were again directed to have a public interest objective, rather than a purely commercial one, then it might make more sense for them to make those things available even where the commercial return wasn't good.

    That said - most of the archive content is now managed by Nga Taonga. And they are taking steps toward making more available I believe. And a lot of stuff is online through NZ On Screen

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 304 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Broadcasting and the Public Interest, in reply to James Littlewood*,

    I just can’t take TVNZ seriously as a provider of any kind of public service. It’s a commercial broadcaster owned by the government.

    Yes, that is currently by design. It's meant to be solely commercial. But it can be changed simply by passing new legislation.

    Whatever value TVNZ has, it’s commercial, not civic.

    So perhaps the debate on whether to keep it or not could be held solely on commercial terms, not civic.

    Then it becomes just another asset sale. Currently TVNZ returns $10-20m a year to the government. Hard to say would it would fetch as a salable asset.

    But if we sell it then we lose all the people, equipment, institutional knowledge and other assets it holds internally that could be used to deliver a civic service.

    Instead if we were then to start a new public service broadcaster we would be starting from nothing, into a crowded market, trying to secure talent from existing commercial broadcasters.

    We already have all those resources - why throw them away just to start again?

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 304 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Broadcasting and the Public Interest, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    From my experience in a CRI most CEOs are fundamentally accountants in nature. They focus on "business" and most Boards of Directors are the same. In that environment the "purpose" of the organisation gets lost.

    Well I think the issue is that CEOs and boards are concerned with meeting objectives and delivering outcomes and all that.

    As it stands, the objective of TVNZ (and most SOEs, or whatever we call them now) is profit. If TVNZ's objectives were changed and outcomes were measured against metrics around public interest broadcasting then CEOs and Boards would work toward those.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 304 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Broadcasting and the Public Interest, in reply to Lynn Yum,

    I agree that local programming is more than just journalism, so TOP’s focus is just too narrow. So what exactly do people want from a public broadcaster that reflect NZ culture in the first place? More Masterchef NZ? The Block? Shorty Street? Can someone provide some concrete example? You look at BBC, they do everything under the sun, from nature doco to Doctor Who. They even commissioned Top of the Lake. Are we expecting a NZ public broadcaster to do THAT kind of range?

    Masterchef, The Block and Shorty Street? Yes, sure, why not!?

    I don't know how we judge what's worth making, but in a broad sense I think anything that puts New Zealander's on screen, or tell New Zealand stories is worth considering.

    But certainly the idea that only journalism and educational documentaries are worthy is silly. Reality TV can be amazingly good at connecting people to others who are different from themselves, for example.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 304 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Broadcasting and the Public Interest,

    Okay point taken from you and Russell both on that one, I guess it depends on the extra cost from actually programming and operating those freeview channels - putting together a schedule, producing links and teasers and all that stuff isn't quite as low cost as putting shows directly online.

    Those costs aren't super high. And I think would be worth it for added accessibility and reach.

    I believe TVNZ7 used to run a 6- or 8-hour schedule that was repeated over 24 hours. That's the way many channels operate.

    As for promos and the like - I worked with TVNZ promos a lot when TVNZ 7 wrapped up - there wasn't much obvious difference in overall workload for producers between across the transition. Those departments already produce a lot of material, and have in built flexibility to be able to adapt to changing schedules. Scaling up isn't hugely demanding.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 304 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Broadcasting and the Public Interest,

    I often thought the solution would be to keep TV2 as it is, and make TV1 the 'public broadcaster'. It has a huge audience from the get-go, and you could even *possibly* keep it commercial, on the understanding that revenue (and therefore ratings) aren't the driving motivation on that channel. Hire a CEO, senior management, commissioners and programmers on the basis of vision and commitment to high quality programming, not just in news and current affairs but also drama and the like.

    TV1 as the public service and TV2 as commercial works for me too. Although I'd personally keep both as basically-commercial. Perhaps give each channel slightly different objectives in terms of public interest content quotas and style.

    As long as the management was on board with the vision then I think any reasonable mixed use structure could be managed.

    I think these days you could ditch the Freeview infrastructure required for TVNZ6 and 7 with an online-only offering, but one that has mandatory promotion in places where people will find out about it, i.e. 1, 2, one news website etc.. I found out myself the hard way about what happens to an online-only show at TVNZ when they don't bother promoting it (it dies a death).

    But the infrastructure already exists - there's no real benefit in not using it. The barrier to entry for viewing it then is exceptionally low - everyone can watch it with no real effort. People can stumble on it.

    The other thing I think I'd promote going forward in this model is TVNZ getting public interest content on as many platforms as possible. That could mean, for example, licensing some content to Netflix and others for minimal cost simply on the basis that availability is the goal.

    Side note: Gareth Morgan's exchanges on Twitter seem to very quickly devolve into ad hominem attacks (from him). This doesn't bode well, although I guess if he's looking for the Trump effect...

    Yeah, I read through as much of yesterday's thread as I could a while ago. In it Gareth comes across as a bully who isn't well informed about the subject.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 304 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Broadcasting and the Public Interest,

    I doubt there's any perfect solution to this... Ideally we'd have had a true public broadcaster for the last 50 years and it would have grown and developed in the way the BBC and ABC have over that time.

    There was strong cultural resistance to it within TVNZ management though – and Charter programming was often ghettoised in the schedule.

    I think TVNZ probably struggled with mixed messaging from the government on this. While the charter was in place they were still expected to deliver a dividend to the government. If they instead became a self-funding mixed model where income was reinvested it would seem that there would be less conflict.

    Obviously it would also be necessary to infuse management with supporters of the idea, and create a cultural shift.

    My experience, working within TVNZ during the time TVNZ 7 operated, was that staff and management were generally supportive of the channels, but there were obvious difficulties in terms of objective conflicts.

    Heh. TVNZ 7's audience by the end was, of course, a matter of great debate and considerable misinformation – but in December 2011, Nielsen assessed a monthly cume of 1.47 million, which isn't bad.

    But, as noted above, 6 and 7 benefited from the skills and infrastructure of the mothership, but never actually got to leverage the reach of One and 2, because they were never exposed on those channels.

    TVNZ 7 didn't have that long to develop and, as you noted, it wasn't necessarily given the exposure it deserved.

    The main reason I think a mixed model would work well is that it would preserve the huge audiences TVNZ has, allowed them to be reached with suitable content, while non-commercial channels would be able to screen other material that might not fit on the commercial channels.

    If we were to sell TVNZ and start again then all we get is the non-commercial channels. We have no ability to ensure content be placed on high viewership channels, and we have no opportunity to cross promote into a the high viewership channels either.

    To my mind the idea of making TVNZ do both is the best of both worlds - we'd get a "proper" public broadcaster that was able to share resources with the the existing TVNZ operation. Commercial operation would directly and indirectly subsidise non-commercial operation.

    They would doubtless argue that they already do pay such levies, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars for spectrum licences. And then they'd go to freaking war :-)

    Well yes, perhaps. Although the license fees they pay are pretty tiny given the revenue generation they enable. But even so, perhaps simply redirecting those existing fees to a public broadcasting fund would be a good start.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 304 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: RNC 2016: A literal shitshow,

    So possibilities I see:

    - McIver is real, and did in fact ghost-write the speech that Melania claimed she wrote herself.

    - McIver is real, and is being put out as a lightning rod to take the heat off Melania or speechwriters Trump needs.

    - McIver is a composite personality - a pen name used within the Trump organisation by multiple people to create a sense of continuity? The persona is now being sacrificed.

    ...other?

    Whoever she is, she has a consistent history within the Trump organisation, but that's all.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 304 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: RNC 2016: A literal shitshow,

    If I'm following correctly it went something like this:

    - Melania says in interview on Trumpforce 1 that she wrote the speech herself with "as little help as possible"
    - Melania delivers her speech, and some of Michelle Obamas
    - Trump campaign says Melania's "team of writers" looked at things she took inspiration from
    - Various Trump spokespeople said there was no plagarism.
    - Now they say it was one person, who is mysteriously absent?

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 304 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: RNC 2016: A literal shitshow, in reply to ,

    In the source code of the archived page, most of the resources have this datestamp.

    web/20160720191823cs

    I’m not sure whether that signifies the original creation date, though.

    Nope that’s the archive’s date (see, it’s in the archive.org page URL too).

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 304 posts Report Reply

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