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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Killing off TVNZ 7 isn't 'nice to have'

Axe falls on last public service channel
Television New Zealand's foray into non-commercial public service channels is being canned by the Government with the closing of TVNZ7 when its funding dries up in June next year. Dr Coleman said the Government had no new money, and a channel that pulled in about 207,000 viewers a week - compared to the 600,000 people who tune in nightly to One News - was not a high priority.

"I think the public get that there are a whole lot of 'nice to haves' which the country can no longer afford."

'Nice to haves' is the National Party euphemism for 'pinko shit the free market should pay for'

I dont understand why the most vulnerable in society have to do with less because of a global economic meltdown none of them had any hand in making. How can their welfare be reduced to 'nice to have'?

I'll tell you what is 'nice to have'. $1.7 Billion to Mr Magoo at South Canterbury Finance was 'nice to have', the $30million to the private education industry was 'nice to have'. The $15million to Warners for their manufactured crises at The Hobbit was 'nice to have'. Those 34 luxury BMWs were real bloody 'nice to have'

A democracy is only as good as the media debate allows for. Without public broadcasting our quality of information declines, the function of the media is to hold the powerful to account. If TVNZ7 is debased to simple corporate profits and ratings driven entertainment, we are diminished as a culture.

Public Broadcasting isn't a 'nice to have', it's a necessity for our democracy.

Before National cripple the Welfare State, they want to cripple public broadcasting, who is going to ask hard questions when all the media have to do is entertain and make money?

If National win 2011, they will sell TVNZ to Sky, it's as simple as that.

There is effectively no Public Broadcasting on television in NZ any longer, TVNZ has increasingly seen their news audience as consumers rather than citizens, and when a broadcaster see their audience as consumers and not citizens then a 'downmarket' content formula is adopted by the broadcaster to select stories based on their ratings shock value over the fourth estate function of a critical media holding the powerful to account.

This 'disneyization' to make news entertainment is what we the viewer sees at the front of the house, while a management style of 'McDonaldization' out the back of the house has stripped down the Journalistic mechanics for speedy pap production.

In 1984, 40% of the news on TVNZ was politics, after the viewer as consumer restructuring, that had fallen by 1996 to only 20%, with the other 20% now crime stories. If it bleeds, it leads because shock stories about crime gain ratings.

Sadly the introduction of Freeview in 2008 hasn't seemed to have stopped this trend, in fact it seems to have been a greenlight for TVNZ to push these viewer as consumer buttons much deeper into the 6pm News hour. Two years before Freeview became available on both terrestrial and digital frequencies, in March 2006, crime made up 22% of the news and was featured 29% in the headlines, yet 2 years after Freeview crime stories in March 2010 on the 6pm News made up only 14% of the stories in that month, yet was represented a staggering 35% of the time in the headlines.

Even though news stories as a whole had slumped to 14% in March 2010 on the 6pm One News, it was represented 35% of the time in the headlines. The impact is that the shock value of crime is vastly over represented in the news headlines so the impression left with viewers is one of a mad max post apocalyptic nightmare requiring Dirty Harry to sort out.

Interesting to note that the misrepresentation of crime in the News coincided with the rise of the Sensible Sentencing Trust.

Post 2011, National intend to privatize TVNZ, sadly the poor job being done by TVNZ of being seen as a national broadcasting treasure means few will weep when it's finally whored off to Murdoch or one of his ilk. The impact of that will have even deeper cultural and political ramifications, but they won't be seen until it's too late.

Fascinating that the Government had $43 million to loan to Mediaworks, but no extra funding for public broadcasting.

How's that 'change' feeling NZ?



At 7/4/11 10:34 am, Blogger Sam Hill said...

I can see why people think 9/11 was a conspiracy, when there was a media blackout and people couldn't say shit without looking over their shoulder. Seems in the wake of our own national tragedy that National are taking advantage to install their own right-wing agenda.

At 7/4/11 10:53 am, Blogger Grassroots said...

Bomber, don't forget the $875million contract for new navy frigate missiles that hasn't been canceled. I see saving TVNZ as our last chance to retain any glimmer of public awareness. TVNZ6 funding went through to 2012 as well, but they pulled the channel a whole year early because SKY was getting all down in the mouth about losing family subscriptions due to Kidzone being bloody brilliant. In the NZ herald SKY shareholders were quoted earlier in the month saying that SKY had access to $900 million in leveraging and need to be more active buying anything it could get its hands on. Apparently that includes our politicians too.

Side note- NZPA New Zealand Press Association, the organisation that services newspapers with news, is to close down after more than 130 years. So the publics ability to receive information and current affairs is being eroded on all sides. We have to fight this, it is a public priority!

At 7/4/11 2:06 pm, Blogger countryboy said...

The Free Press huh ? The moment the 'news media' became involved in profit making , the 'news media ' stopped being confident , brave , unbiased and independent and became an advertising industry whore addicted to money and fearful for it's very existence at a base level . Are you going to get real news when the News itself is sponsored by banks or insurance companies . You bet your sweet patutsi you aint ! Pay media personalities huge salaries then threaten to take it away is an ancient power play designed to control media content among other things . Read and understand Professor Milgram and his experiments . Read 'The Dark Side of Multitude by Yung-Su , associate professor of psychology at Irvine University California . Watch' Bruno' by Sacha Baron Cohen . These are examples of how vulnerable we are to psychological mechanisms often used by a biased media pushing dubious agendas . My view is watch your backs ladies and gentlemen , we aint seen nothing yet .

At 7/4/11 5:10 pm, Blogger Liisa said...

"If National win 2011, they will sell TVNZ to Sky, it's as simple as that." - Its worse than that - TVNZ is selling itself to SKY piece by piece - Heartland, Kidzone, and access to our heritage in the TVNZ Archive. Then SKY - who will 'own' most of the content - could leverage that to gain control of the Ultra Fast Broadband and we'll have very little control over what media we (PAY) to access. - viva la change? I hope NZers wake up soon.

At 8/4/11 3:29 pm, Blogger Grassroots said...

The gutless wonders at TVNZ have finally started to talk about the $43million mediaworks loan. Probably since some of them are getting the sack and the recent TVNZ7 being axed next year announcement. So they are willing to push against the ministers when their jobs are on the line. Isn't self interest a wonderful thing? How can we fan this fire to cause an election upset for the hollow men? The general public is usually opposed to corporates getting handouts and SOE's being stripped or sold off. If these issues can be dragged kicking and screaming into the public arena there is potential to shove them right where nationals sun don't shine! ;-) I'm using facebook groups and talking to people. Whats some other good ways to wake up the sleeping pit bull that is public opinion???

At 8/4/11 3:38 pm, Blogger Grassroots said...

Tim, Bomber and Phoebe are doing an awesome job with this site. Breath of fresh air is an understatement, like calling John Key a little bit greedy. There are people learning from these sites, angry about the events taking place, but unsure of how to make the change needed. Do they wait till november and vote Green? Do they tell their friends to watch Bomber & Citizen A? How about mass emails to Fairgo about government ripoff? I think Tumeke crew should start tagging your reports and tv shows with suggestions on what people can do to raise awareness. People don't just need waking up, they need direction too. This isn't a criticism, I'm just trying to be practical about kicking these F@$*&^@% out of government now, because the 2nd term doesn't bear thinking about!

At 8/4/11 7:31 pm, Blogger countryboy said...

I read with great interest comments left in defense of our Press and fears for it's future . I myself have written a crude piece here . I've talked to quite a few people who express fears for not only the future of our media but for our people, the country itself and the security of our resources . Grassroots says and rightly so ' We have to fight this ! ' Liisa equally rightly ' Hopes NZers wake up soon ' . My innate fear is simply this . How does one 'fight' ? What are we going to do once ' we wake up ' ? A deregulated work force . Fear and anxiety peddled by a bias media at best . At worst a diet of pointless gibberish sexed up to appeal to the dumbed down ! I wish some one would come up with a good idea on how exactly we might fight . Particularly if SKY come to own the media ! Seriously , does anyone have any idea just how we might fight ? Clearly marching , rioting , burning , gun play , heads on pikes etc are to be frowned upon given our polite society . That , and you'd get shot for your trouble . So what then can we do ? How do we get past the talk and on to the action ? Vote them out ? Hahahahahhahahahahahah....... Hahahahahahhahahahah ... Oh God stop it ! I crack myself up !

At 9/4/11 12:28 am, Blogger Frank said...

What strange times we live in, when government decides to spend millions on new BMW limousines and bails out finance companies - but cannot find resourcing for serious public broadcasting such as TVNZ 7.

But then, I'm no longer surprised at some of the seemingly irrational and ad hoc policies of this government. Whatever priorities they have with regards to public broadcasting can best be summed up by Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman, who said,

""When you look at how people are going to be watching their TV in the future, and you look at how kids are now assembling their content from everywhere – that is going to be the longterm future of how people are going to be watching TV. It seemed to make sense to us to make all the funding contestable. Then it doesn't matter if people are watching TV on their mobile phone, iPad or TV – they just want access to the actual content." "

So television and especially public broadcasting, is now seemingly geared for kids, according to Dr Coleman. They can fund U-TV, geared for today's youth market and filled with more froth than a vanilla thickshake - but nothing for a current affairs channel that may educate and inform the public. The target demographics seems to be getting younger and younger. And perhaps dumber and dumber?

As with the print media, it seems that serious investigative journalism and the reporting of news in this country - aside from a constant diet of police/crime/court reports - has become a thing of the past. The planned demise of TVNZ 7 seems to be part of this process - though in this case it is a planed, conscious, decision from the powers-that-be.

News, current affairs, and investigative journalism has been turned into a Media-McDonalds; something to be devoured in a few minutes; superficial in flavour and content; but not actually fulfilling or nourishing.

The next time the TV news is on, or the front page of a newspaper is in front of you; check out the lead story. Most likely it will be a police/crime/court story or the Disaster-of-the-Day.

But look for reporting on the SIS Amendment Bill - which is being heard in secret and where the government has refused to allow submissions to be heard in public session with media present. There is precious little of this issue in the media.

Or look for reports on the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States, which may have considerable (some say, dangerous) economic, social, and judicial consequences for New Zealand. For example, a US-NZ FTA has implications whether or not Pharmac could still purchase cheap medicines for New Zealanders. Again - there is very little analysis of this issue in the media.

But we sure know the identity and family-relationship of an alleged murder-suspect in Fielding.

Despite great technological advances, we now know less about what is happening in our own country than we ever did.

At 9/4/11 1:18 pm, Blogger Grassroots said...

OK, so a few of us realise where this is heading. NZ Media is going to end up turning into another version of Fox News Channel. Complete with pro-war rhetoric and constant right wing propaganda. Rupert Murdoch has already said he wants to hold back SKY dividend payouts in favour of growing the company- giving it the ability to devour everything in its path.

In 2008 TVNZ gave a submission to government complaining that legislation was needed to protect free to air tv from this threat. It has been reported that SKY was buying up rights to all sports, etc and in some cases not even broadcasting them. So the media war has already been going for a while now...





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