Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The digital switch-off

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  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Jacqui Craig,

    Where else are they going to hear Maori

    Other than in the afternoon on the Maori channel, you mean? Drinnan reported this today:

    But in a new initiative TVNZ revealed it would start a 24-hour Kidzone channel on Sky TV in May providing a venue for social obligations outside 7.

    The new channel will have 30 to 50 per cent local content.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I wonder if anybody could clarify this for me: the imperative for TVNZ to return a profit applies channel-wide, not programme by programme, right? I mean who's to say we can't have a few good but marginally less profitable programmes in the schedule and make up for it with, I don't know, Jersey Shore? I'm looking at TVONE's schedule and there are at least nine slots in which you could fit Hindsight and Backbenchers and Media 7 quite seamlessly, and we'd be all the better for it. (I would also be surprised if they actually don't rate, but that's just me.)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to uroskin,

    The TVNZ 7 programmes worth saving could find a home on Stratos, soon to be the only NZ non-state-owned national broadcaster.

    This idea is not lost on me, believe me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    The public broadcasting issue is but a subset of a wider issue – is NZ headed for its most anti-intellectual atmosphere since Muldoon?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5426 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    is NZ headed for its most anti-intellectual atmosphere since Muldoon?

    I wasn't around in Muldoon's days, but this Listener editorial says yes.

    Then again, in the Seventies there was no Internet.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Some of those programs would fit quite solidly in One's lineup wouldn't they? Especially given the maturity you mention...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to uroskin,

    The TVNZ 7 programmes worth saving could find a home on Stratos

    That might solve distribution but not funding their production, would it?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19697 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to George Darroch,

    Lew knows a lot more about the NZ media environment than I do, but I think his assertion that New Zealand is too poor and underpopulated to sustain a quality media environment is underwhelming

    Underwhelmed you may be but he's right, if you are talking about the market serving demand. There just aren't enough of us to self-fund all the niches many of us enjoy, therefore we rely on state subsidies, especially in the arts, but also in sports, extramural education (WEA etc.), local government - the list is endless.

    We may have the same percentage breakdown as other, larger economies, but .1% of 4.5 million is only 45,000 - of 307,006,550 (US) it's a lot more - 307K+ - which can easily fund whatever itch wants scratching.

    It bewilders me how people can think we can afford the same standard of living as economies orders of magnitude larger than us - the money just isn't there, unless we borrow. Which is why private debt is so high. We want the fripparies and we want them now. Bugger the future, it might never happen. But when you borrow, the lender is going to want it back, plus the vig.

    So myopic.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to nzlemming,

    But so human-

    what else can we do? Reinvent many wheels? The caterpillar drive?

    And, I would STRONGLY disagree that The Arts are fripparies - without that component, we're just another kind of chimp, hooting in a sad political way-

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

  • Rob Stowell,

    Gawd. The bloody wreckers.
    That’s the problem with neolib we-don’t-really-believe-in-government governments: it’s so much faster and easier to wreck and dismantle than it is to build up something worthwhile.
    But maybe some of this remarkably rubbish thinking has its origins further back: two digital platforms in NZ might be too much. We let Sky get one all of its own, first- rather than opting for a sort of ‘platform neutral’ approach. (It’s kind’ve the same with telecom and vodaphone’s cellular coverage). Now it looks like Sky is going to be running the only platform.
    Which also feels like a two-fingered salute to those of us who’ve bought uhf freeview boxes. If TVNZ are talking of new channels that are sky only, doesn’t it look like that game is over?
    Here’s hoping some of the shows will find new homes. I’m also gonna miss the 8 o’clock no-ads news.
    (and ps: nz lemming, you seem to miss the point (or maybe I just disagree :)) A 'quality media environment' isn't optional if you want a stable healthy democracy. And that's not a question of niches; of everyone having their own flavour of pie. Personally I think it's crucially about public broadcasting. US is big, sure- but that's only part of the picture. Unless you also think it's marvelously well-served by its major broadcasters?)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2097 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    In the words of David Harris, “NZ is in real danger of becoming a McD’s nation – nothing more than a bland plastic replica of suburban America.”

    Which I find deliciously amusing, when those evil corporate pay cable fucks are producing some of the most ambitious and satisfying television ever. I would be impressed beyond measure if we saw TVNZ commission and screen anything like Spike Lee's When The Levees Broke or The Wire. Won't ever hold my breath waiting though.

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

  • nzlemming, in reply to Islander,

    And, I would STRONGLY disagree that The Arts are fripparies

    So would I. I was actually meaning the plasma TVs and other things that people do spend their imaginary dollars on, rather than the things they don't.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    A ‘quality media environment’ isn’t optional if you want a stable healthy democracy. And that’s not a question of niches; of everyone having their own flavour of pie. Personally I think it’s crucially about public broadcasting. US is big, sure- but that’s only part of the picture. Unless you also think it’s marvelously well-served by its major broadcasters?

    You miss my point, which is that we don't have the population for these things to fund themselves. Therefore, if we want them, they must be government-funded. I do think they're important, but let's not pretend they're self-sustaining.

    My point about the US was not to compare the quality of the broadcasting, but simply to point out that they have a shitload more money to throw at the things they want to fund purely on volume of population.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    the news that Steven Spielberg has secured film rights to The Guardian’s book Wikileaks: Inside Julian Assange’s war on Secrecy

    I assume you linked before The Guardian changed the story to reflect the actual state of play. Spielberg hasn't optioned the book. The studio he co-founded (and sold his interest in over five years ago) has taken out an option, and there's nobody attached to the project. Like most studios, Dreamworks options a hell of a lot more material than ever gets produced, so Alan Rusbridger might want to hold off on the casting suggestions for a while. :)

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

  • Danielle, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Which I find deliciously amusing, when those evil corporate pay cable fucks are producing some of the most ambitious and satisfying television ever.

    Yeah, DeepRed's "I haven't had a TV for years, therefore I know that the programmes are crap" doesn't sound quite logical to me. (I wouldn't dream of missing an episode of Jersey Shore, though, so you might want to discount my opinion altogether.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Danielle,

    (I wouldn’t dream of missing an episode of Jersey Shore, though, so you might want to discount my opinion altogether.)

    I’m still waiting for an excuse to drop "dreck-i-tude" on people who aren't on the America's Next Top Model crack, so we’re even.

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

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I would be impressed beyond measure if we saw TVNZ commission and screen anything like Spike Lee’s When The Levees Broke or The Wire.

    Well TVNZ didn't have to make them but it would have been nice if they had, at least shown them (in something other than a totally viewer unfriendly time slot) instead we get crap TV reality shows in prime time.

    (I wouldn’t dream of missing an episode of Jersey Shore, though, so you might want to discount my opinion altogether.)

    You have MySky and you still watch crap?
    No wonder the country's going to the dogs.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Rex Widerstrom,

    Other means of paying for a public service channel have been explored and found wanting.

    Not in Australia they haven't. While there are regular grumbles from the right (and the ABC do themselves no favours by providing a home for several superannuated old hippies with nothing new to say, like Phillip Adams) no one seriously begrudges the the 10.6 cents a day they pay for the ABC.

    And for that they get four TV channels (including a dedicated children's channel and a 24 hour news channel), the great iView online streaming site, a comprehensive news site, in-depth sub-sites for a myriad of TV and radio programs, Radio National, NewsRadio, Classic FM, the brilliant Triple J (if I'm ever fortunate enough to return home, a live stream of the Js will be a must), Radio Australia, and local radio across a huge continent.

    We're only talking one, maybe two TV channels, given that RNZ is a separate entity. Okay, so there's less of us - a fifth of the Australian population, give or take. Worst case (assuming two smell-of-an-oily-rag channels cost as much as the entire ABC) that's 50 cents a person a day.

    I regularly scan the TV listings for NZ and suspect the only thing I'd ever watch was TVNZ, with the very occasional foray into One. So, like DeepRed, I probably wouldn't bother with a TV.

    Not that I have mine on all the time over here, but if I go a week without TV I can barely contain my excitement to get to iView and see what I've missed. TV is still a part of the nation's consciousness in Australia and that's thanks almost entirely to the ABC and SBS (also partly government funded).

    Surely the Australians can't be smarter, and more deserving than us?! (and right there is a cunning marketing ploy to generate acceptance of the 50c contribution ;-) )

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    You have MySky and you still watch crap?

    Crap can be fun. Information is only one function of television but like all the others it has been affected by the other forms of communication, media and entertainment that have emerged. I don't think it's controversial to say that many people have a different relationship with "news" thsese days.

    A TV producer was telling me recently (doesn't happen often, don't worry) that most drama is now made for a core audience of middle-aged women - much like fiction books have been for years. The other demographics have either largely taken their interest elsewhere or are harder to pin down using the old tools that the industry is familiar with and so are treated as secondary markets that are less explicitly engaged.

    It's a perspective that surprised me and others may have more to add/subtract. I certainly looked at the Almighty Johnsons in a different light.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19697 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Lest we forget, here's the 2009 Media7 show featuring Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman (from about 3 mins) telling us his approach to the portfolio, about shaping national identity and having a national broadcaster.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/TVNZMedia7#p/search/3/-EQ4AjEzvYc

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19697 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY, in reply to Jacqui Craig,

    Personally I'm a little upset that I won't be able to watch Captain Mack, but perhaps that's just a mummy thing...

    It is a damn fine kid's show. "I'd love to stay, but my monkey needs me" is perhaps the finest line ever written for TV.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    You have MySky and you still watch crap?
    No wonder the country’s going to the dogs.

    Yeah, sorry, that's a ludicrous argument. "Your enjoyment of [trivial thing] is what's wrong with the world today!" Sorry Steve, was I on your lawn?

    The idea that we can't have nice things (in this case, a proper national broadcaster) because there are other "less nice things" on the airwaves is really annoying. Isn't the budget for TVNZ7 really teensy?

    PS Craig, I've never missed an episode of America's Next Top Model either. :)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    What really annoys me about this whole move to pay TV is that it hits poor people and beneficiaries twice. If they forgo the basics of survival to pay for the c$85 per month fees for Sky they starve and freeze, but then they face public criticism that if they can afford Sky, the benefit/minimum wage is too generous.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3205 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    The big selling point of the switch from analog to digital was going to be that there would be more channels available on Freeview than the current analog free-to-air - this is going to make it a much harder sell ....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2609 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    there would be more channels available on Freeview

    Yeah, why did we buy that Freeview kit again?

    (ok, it was a cheap USB stick, but still...)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

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