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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

National hands it over for Rupert Murdoch


Labour keeping an eye on Sky
Sky Television may have persuaded the Government to kill off a sweeping review of broadcasting regulations, but it still has some way to go to remove the threat to its business that could be posed by a returning Labour government. Labour broadcasting spokesman Brendon Burns says the Government has a "cosy relationship with Sky", and argues Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman's decision to terminate the review was based more on philosophy than fact. He has accused Dr Coleman of misrepresenting advice provided by Culture and Heritage Ministry officials when canning the review, kicked off by Labour in 2007. "If you look at our environment, it is the most unregulated broadcasting sector in the Western World. We have no real regulation of broadcasting, no `anti-syphoning' legislation, no cross-media ownership laws and no requirement for New Zealand content. "Dr Coleman's stated position is that consumers have never had so much choice, that there are 80 channels out there, mostly on the Sky platform. My question would be, does that deliver to all of the needs and aspirations of New Zealanders?"

Well having been a broadcaster on Sky, I can safely say no. But the problem for small broadcasters was more to do with NZ on Air and their funding requirement that is set up for the big players as opposed to the small players who arguably are doing more than the broadcasting monoliths to “deliver all of the needs and aspirations of NZers”.

Coleman doesn’t really seem to have a public position on Broadcasting, his policy before the election was 332 words long (that’s a text message, not a policy), and his first move other than banning any review was to hand over to Rupert Murdock at Sky TVNZ6 and TVNZ7 WITHOUT getting Prime for Freeview! It’s astounding that Coleman would hand over to Freeview’s competitor the two channels that make Freeview unique, yet NOT SEEK to gain Prime for Freeview. No one in the media has really questioned why National would bend over for Rupert Murdock and take it so royally, but it shows Coleman has no problems in denigrating Public Broadcasting for his corporate mates. It bodes ill for TVNZ remaining in public ownership and a total obliteration to Public Broadcasting in NZ.

Bomber’s Blog – the war on News starts this Friday, 9.15pm Sky 89, Freeview 21 and Triangle.

13 Comments:

At 30/6/09 9:23 am, Anonymous sdm said...

My problem with much of what Labour proposes refers to sport. Much has been said about 'games of national importance' being played live on free to air. Specifically, they mean the all blacks.

The problem with this argument however is that the NZRFU derives much of its income from broadcasting rights - and much of that income goes towards paying the players to keep them in NZ. Now if the NZRFU was to have a pay cut, it would pay its players less, and the likelihood of more players leaving for Europe to play would increase. Our All Blacks are already looking weak, can you imagine the outcry if half the team was to migrate to Europe because the NZRFU couldn't afford them?

And then you get all the BS with public TV of cutting sport to go to the news (or dare I suggest that Coro Street not screen because there was a test match on?) Public TV will always have this drawback

At the end of the day, Sky are prepared to pay the money and deliver the content.

What I would like to see is Sky getting more agressive going after popular programming. The reason why so many people download TV programs is that they can often be 6-12 months behind when they broadcast in the US. In the UK, the SKY 1 channel has popular programmes (like Prison Break, 24, House etc etc etc) often within hours of its US broadcast. Oh for that kind of service from Sky. (or, alternatively, TVNZ or TV3).

 
At 30/6/09 10:26 am, Blogger Bomber said...

GRIN - Scott, I couldn’t disagree with you more…

My problem with much of what Labour proposes refers to sport. Much has been said about 'games of national importance' being played live on free to air. Specifically, they mean the all blacks.

The problem with this argument however is that the NZRFU derives much of its income from broadcasting rights - and much of that income goes towards paying the players to keep them in NZ. Now if the NZRFU was to have a pay cut, it would pay its players less, and the likelihood of more players leaving for Europe to play would increase. Our All Blacks are already looking weak, can you imagine the outcry if half the team was to migrate to Europe because the NZRFU couldn't afford them?


I think that forcing big games on a live to air channel so that National Games of mass cultural appeal should be free to air is a great idea. TVNZ would still have to pay a rate, it would just be much lower. Rugby is currently suffering as was discussed on Campbell Live last week from lack of enthusiasm for the Sport because it’s seen as too elite and all about the money, that’s killing off grassroots rugby, that’s killing off the next generation of players. Rugby has bigger fish to fry than lack of money right now and making all Big games and a certain % of tests would reconnect with people. So I’m not sure I completely agree that the idea of big games free to air isn’t valid or that there aren’t ways around the current revenue structure. Public Broadcasting has a role in Public events, sporting and cultural.

And then you get all the BS with public TV of cutting sport to go to the news (or dare I suggest that Coro Street not screen because there was a test match on?) Public TV will always have this drawback
Oh come on Scott, when was the last time that happened? Your beef with public sport on a public broadcaster is that every match is cut off for Coro st? I think the positives of allowing NZers to watch their national game free to air outweigh those concerns by some measure.

At the end of the day, Sky are prepared to pay the money and deliver the content.
At the end of the day Sky is a multi-armed corporate giga-company run by a man with less than savory tactics when it comes to controlling the news. Rupert Murdock should be kept well clear of the NZ broadcasting scene.

What I would like to see is Sky getting more agressive going after popular programming. The reason why so many people download TV programs is that they can often be 6-12 months behind when they broadcast in the US. In the UK, the SKY 1 channel has popular programmes (like Prison Break, 24, House etc etc etc) often within hours of its US broadcast. Oh for that kind of service from Sky. (or, alternatively, TVNZ or TV3).
And there in lies the issue, our population size is simply too small to pay for those products, a small population size makes buying those latest must see American culture clone shows very unprofitable, which is why Public Broadcasting deserves MORE money not chummy deals between the Minister and Sky.

A democracy is only as strong as the media is allowed to hold those in power to account. Public Broadcasting properly separated from the state can hold power to account, trusting Rupert to do that for you is hopeful to say the least.

 
At 30/6/09 12:31 pm, Anonymous sdm said...

Bomber I do agree with much of what you say. Nobody is more passionate about rugby than I am - having coached and refereed voluntarily for the past 13 years. Every saturday I am on the sideline of school and/or club game. The state of rugby in NZ worries me deeply - I have fond memories as a child of seeing Michael Jones or John Kirwan playing club footy.

However: times have changed. You argue that rugby would be embraced if the games were on free to air well consider - the most popular sports competition in the world is the English Premier League. and 99% of the games are on Sky in the UK. So having very few free to air games doesnt seem to hurt that as a product. Indeed the popularity of the EPL has increased since it went on sky.

There are plenty of legtimate concerns to be raised about the state of rugby in NZ. I watched a replay of the Springboks Lions test on Sunday morning and marveled at the spectacle that is day time rugby. I sure as shit dont want to go to Eden Park in the middle of a wet and cold July night to watch the test, eating cold chips and drinking overpriced warm beer.

"TVNZ would still have to pay a rate, it would just be much lower."

Can you imagine the outcry if we lost McCaw and Carter because we didnt have the money to pay them because of government regulation?

"Rugby is currently suffering as was discussed on Campbell Live last week from lack of enthusiasm for the Sport because it’s seen as too elite and all about the money, that’s killing off grassroots rugby, that’s killing off the next generation of players. Rugby has bigger fish to fry than lack of money right now and making all Big games and a certain % of tests would reconnect with people. So I’m not sure I completely agree that the idea of big games free to air isn’t valid or that there aren’t ways around the current revenue structure. Public Broadcasting has a role in Public events, sporting and cultural."

Great piece on Campbell Live. I would love to see some of the ways of keeping the revenue stream. If that can be achieved, lets hear it.

"Oh come on Scott, when was the last time that happened?"

I remember the NZPGA being cut with two holes to play so tv3 could go to the news.....

"At the end of the day Sky is a multi-armed corporate giga-company run by a man with less than savory tactics when it comes to controlling the news. Rupert Murdock should be kept well clear of the NZ broadcasting scene."

I am talking sport. News is a different matter altogether.

 
At 30/6/09 2:53 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So having very few free to air games doesnt seem to hurt that as a product. FUCKING PIG IGNORANT POMMY BASTARD

 
At 1/7/09 12:29 am, Blogger Deafness.Inc said...

I cant stand rugby, league a wee bit better but I wont book in to watch it.

Sdm & Bomber I do agree with you both on this, yet unfortunately it's money that talks and Rupert Murdock has a lot of it.
+1 for this comment though..
"Rupert Murdock should be kept well clear of the NZ broadcasting scene"

 
At 1/7/09 10:00 am, Anonymous Sam Clemenz said...

Sport should NOT be allowed to be used as an exclusive to SKY! It should be left to the individual Channel's to determine their offering Test Rugby, Basketball, Netball, or Super 99 or whatever else they deem to be an advertising winner! It's advertising that pays for these programs anyway, or in Sky's case with Sport, it's paying the NZRFU up front a limited contract for the exclusive, which takes money out of their (NZRFU's) pockets but guarantees an attractive income. It's only their mismanagement and greed, of wanting to have it all handed to them without having to do the hard sales yards that's the issue. Basically a lazy Corporatist GREED position!

SKY, on the other hand - holds Sport to ransom from the public viewing. Rupport the Zionist bastard knows he has NZ by the nutz and can bleed the country dry by having a monopoly on our primary sports games. The same thing with Prime TV as an exclusive Sky offering, although I think the reason that Prime has been loosened up to some market's rather than being Monopolized recently - is that SKY realize that it's just a matter of time before they have competition for the Sport Contract exclusive, and have dropped a crumb (Prime) to give themselves some breathing room, although there are some hidden costs in receiving Prime that you aren't told about until the bill arrives at the door.

This is all just "par for the course" (how's that Scot?) for the way that Murdoch operates his dynasty around the world. He buys and monopolizes market share in Prime Media - it's a matter of greed and unharnessed elitist domination. Plus he gets to stuff your head full of whatever other rubbish propoganda he chooses to throw at an unwitting captured public audience.
It's also killing Rugby because it Cap's NZRFU income through the means that Scot mentioned above.

"I sure as shit dont want to go to Eden Park in the middle of a wet and cold July night to watch the test, eating cold chips and drinking overpriced warm beer."

The NZRFU are having a rough time selling seats because they can't compete with SKY either, but they don't realize, or aren't saavy enough to realize that by handing Sky an exclusive they are cutting their own throats and inccome - When the average ticket price for a crap "adult" seat at Eden Park, or wherever between the Centres with Stadiums is $85.00 - you can get Sky basic digital plus sport for $68.00 a month. Not only are you locked into the bullshit offerings of the basic "Sky version of free to air" rubbish, the extra channels like the History Channel, National Geographic, et al which are Zionist propganda channels, and the MSM propoganda news channels of FOX, CNN et al, but you subject your kids to being early childhood dumbed down American style educated in how to be good little consumers, and work-o-holics loyal to the bosses rules and values. By granting Sky an exclusive, the NZRFU competes against itself for the public dollar - it doesn't take a brain surgeon to see that! It's just inept management practice!

Free to Air, have some excellent NZ content, and provide the basic viewing channels, but you still have to pay for SKY if you want to view Sport, OR go to the pub and watch it, which is dangerous in the sense of being on the road after drinking.
At the end of the day, you pay SKY $65.00 a month, and everybody loses except the Mushrooms that don't have a clue about how it takes money away from NZ sport, and ends up costing themselves $340.00 even if they just buy it for the 5 months a year that Rugby is televised! SKY acts as a direct mechanism to shut down the publics interest in the game from their holding the exclusive license for Sport, and they get to stuff your head full of shit for free!
The GAME is suffering from terminal GREED, and an elitist monopoly for public control. We punters and Rugby Loyalists with a brain cell know it, and are sick of it - that's the bottom line!
When are you going to break out of your little box Scot and see what's going on out here in the real world?

 
At 1/7/09 10:50 am, Anonymous sdm said...

Sam

The rights to rugby are sold by the NZRFU/Sanzar to the highest bidder, in order to largely fund both the salaries of the professional players and fund the grass roots game

(the real world, which you mention, in respect to rugby - I think I have forgotten more about grass roots rugby than you will ever know. I refereed for 8 years, and am in my 7th year coaching, as well as playing. So don't lecture me, I bet you have never been at the bottom of a ruck)

"The NZRFU are having a rough time selling seats because they can't compete with SKY either, but they don't realize, or aren't saavy enough to realize that by handing Sky an exclusive they are cutting their own throats and inccome"

So why does Every Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal game sell out, despite the game being on Sky? And they play every week, sometimes twice, but the stadiums are always full? Ticket prices are about 35 quid, and people flock.

Cut the Zionist BS, not everything is a conspiracy.

I agree rugby is in trouble. The game wouldn't be saved by putting on tvnz, however.

 
At 1/7/09 7:54 pm, Anonymous Sam clemenz said...

What makes you think because i mention Zionsism relative to Murdoch I am talking conspiracy scotty. Are you not aware of his roots and Ideological fundamentals?

AS for your background in Rugby Scot, it is blaringly apparent YOU were caught in the bottom of far too many rucks.
I really enjoy your cute little dismissive remarks scotty me boy, you make believe that you know better than anyone else, but as we can see, you end up agreeing with me on my point regarding the Monopolization of the games by Sky, the fact that the Rugby Union ends up competing against itself with overpriced ticklet sale demands, and the inept management of the NZRFU TV rights being the primary reason for the downturn in public interest - but somehow twist things around in your lil head to make it all your idea - when someone else lays out the facts.
Maybe you would have been wise to wear headgear when you were playing, coaching, and refereeing - it seems that all that tough contact has left you with a scrambled egg!

"I agree rugby is in trouble. The game wouldn't be saved by putting on tvnz, however."

That's where you are wrong Scot. By allowing Sky an exclusive, and excluding the other contenders instead of welcoming all without offering exclusivity - the NZRFU screw themselves out of a mountain of lost revenue, AND they kick the grass roots supporters in the nuts by taking away everyone's ability to watch All Black Rugby for free as it should be. They further limit their revenue stream by making huge demands for high ticket prices, and screw the stadium owners (generally the regional RFU's and local council's) out of a fair share of the revenue from ticket sales.
The whole thing is so "Old Boys Club Parochial" that they cut their own throats to spite themselves! Old school anti-competitive Corporate Greed and Suicide for the games future out of pure stupidity in management!

 
At 1/7/09 10:20 pm, Anonymous BMR789 said...

Am a huge Rugby fan. Coached, played reffed etc. Actually I really should use that in the past tense.

Rugby is becoming less and less attractive.


I can get free tickets to any match, including test matches in WGTN, and that usually involves access to the Corporate Lounge and free parking under neath as well, but I haven't taken up the offer in over two years.

Too much Rugby and most of it is dross. The reason why - for me. Night Rugby. Just awful.

Until games come back in the afternoon's - I'm not heading back.

Now for Sky - had it once in 1998. Cancelled it after the Rugby season of that year and have never subscribed back. What a monumental waste of money - and trust me I can easily afford it - I found that I hardly watched it except for some Sport, the rest I had no interest in. Not being able to just pay for the single channel I wanted was a big reason for chucking it back.

Times have changed and Sky no longer is the best median for viewing Rugby on TV. This years test matches have been watched free at a mates place via a Media PC - streaming live over the internet.

@BMR789
on Twitter

 
At 2/7/09 9:07 am, Anonymous Sam Clemenz said...

BMR789,
Glad you can afford to watch Rugby via streaming video on the net, but for the majority of the grass roots out here, that share the same love and involvement in the game - the major amount of download bandwidth would eat up every bit of the monthly allotment that Xtra, or whoever the ISP provider used gives you unless of course you spend the $60 a month for unlimited Braodband usage.
Maybe you live in Auckland or Wellington where Broadband can actually achieve speeds suitable for "Streaming Video", but again, for the majority of grass roots enthusiast's, the quality and speed combined with the cost for an unlimited offering is prohibitive, or just not available outside the major centres.
You do strike a good point, although I don't think that it's a consideration in your own mind, and not to condemn you for this, but - MONEY has become the driving factor in Rugby, and it is being held to randsom for the "exclusive" benefit of those that are willing and able to afford it. It has been placed (priced) just too far out of the reach of folks on average incomes. Most of this dilemma stems from GREED on the part of the NZRFU in pricing tickets at breath taking levels, and in their granting exclusive rights to the game on TV to Sky, so you either come up with $340.00 (4 over 15 year old adults)to go to a match, or $340.00 for the season minimum on Sky, or you lose out unless you can claim a seat in your friends lounge for the game, or fight for space at the Pub, or get someone with access to a Corp. Box to let you in through the backdoor - if you want a glimpse of your, and your kids Hero's on the pitch.
The main reason Rugby is losing it's appeal is that it is being held to Ransom and has become an elitist sport instead of the passion of our youth priced so all can afford to view it - It's just not embraceable these days, it is out of reach for the masses of grass roots supporters and fans! This all comes full circle and lands in the lap of the NZRFU for creating this problem out of GREED.

 
At 2/7/09 10:33 am, Anonymous sdm said...

Sam

"So why does Every Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal game sell out, despite the game being on Sky? And they play every week, sometimes twice, but the stadiums are always full? Ticket prices are about 35 quid, and people flock."

 
At 2/7/09 1:24 pm, Anonymous Sam Clemenz said...

Scot,
One: It's a completely different sport - it's Football, and you're dealing with an entirely different crowd in a different cultural environment in Britain and the EU.
Two: $35 Quid, is $50 Quid different from the equivalent in New Zealand dollars as it relates to our economy for New Zealanders. If we were talking the equivalent expense here in NZ, we are being fleeced $50.00 extra, and that's on the low end of the scale! If you don't want to sit behind a giant pole, in the nose bleed sections, or in the uncovered end zones of the field you will spend $120.00 per covered seats here in NZ.
So lets compare apples to apples, Brits spend $35, we spend a minimum $85.00 +. Besides your weak point Scot, you should also consider the size of European Stadiums shouldn't you? In the UK/EU Stadiums hold up to 100,000 fans - our biggest ones hold 35,000 maximum. This adds further proof to my original point of Greed being the driving factor of the controlling interests in ticket sales and total revenue expected in NZ. The manner that the NZRFU use is - "They'll either pay the price or they won't be allowed to view the sport whether it's live or on TV". That's not the type attitude that is going to promote the sport with an adoring public, and with kids coming up through the grass roots clubs and school footie sides!
I'll even go another step here and mention that the addition of the Super 12, 14, or whatever it's going to evolve into next season has created an overload in the Sport. Too much of a good thing munts the public interest in the sport as a whole, and creates a glut. Those factors in combination with NPC, and the Test Series with the All Blacks makes for too much of a good thing! And I also feel that Super 14 has spoiled the broth for the All Black's being the Professionals that they claim. Super 14 is in direct competition for the professional level of play that the All Blacks are involed in for Test Matches, and frankly Super 14 falls FAR short of being the professional level of play that people expect from it, as it is promoted.
Personally, I think we need to scale back the amount of Rugby we play in NZ, and lean on the NZRFU to make the sport more accessible by lowering prices and opening the game up to TV without exclusives that limit TV viewers in a pay per view manner, and limit punters attending the matches to only those that can come up with the steep prices expected. You should at least see that when supply gluts occur, prices adjust to reflect what the current market will bear. That's on page one of the Free Market Capitalist play book isn't it Scot?
Maybe it should be considered to eliminate Super 14, and open up the NPC to International competition between Aussie, So. Africa, and the Pacific Island Country's. It might just solve a big part of the over load dilemma that is occuring now, and place the All Blacks back on the top of the heap as Professional's in the game of Rugby...

 
At 2/7/09 2:13 pm, Anonymous sdm said...

Sam

I agree with most of what you say. I saw a champions league match at Stamford Bridge in September, and that leaves for dead any of the All Black tests I have seen (and I saw a few).

"I'll even go another step here and mention that the addition of the Super 12, 14, or whatever it's going to evolve into next season has created an overload in the Sport. Too much of a good thing munts the public interest in the sport as a whole, and creates a glut. Those factors in combination with NPC, and the Test Series with the All Blacks makes for too much of a good thing! And I also feel that Super 14 has spoiled the broth for the All Black's being the Professionals that they claim. Super 14 is in direct competition for the professional level of play that the All Blacks are involed in for Test Matches, and frankly Super 14 falls FAR short of being the professional level of play that people expect from it, as it is promoted."

See I agree its a product issue. If it was about quantity, there is 10 times as much football in the UK as there is rugby here - but football is more popular. And over there to watch the games, you needed multiple pay tv subscriptions (sky, setanta, espn) whereas here its just sky.

There you have the FA cup, champions league, carling cup, Uefa cup, and the premiership. Didnt Man Utd play like 50 games last season? Nearly every one was a sell out. The All Blacks play what? 12?

To me, its about rugby as a spectacle as much as it is anything. Every 30 secs there is a law change, and really the game is too bloody complicated for most.

 

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