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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

NZ On Air can't ad

Tom Frewen has made a timely swipe at the rorting, bloated mess that is NZ ON Air and the incestuous, manipulative relationship with the big networks:

On Sunday night, courtesy of government broadcast funding agency NZ on Air, taxpayers spent $884,782 for 226,220 TV3 viewers to watch an hour-long documentary about the Strongman mine disaster plus half-an-hour of commercials.
Although NZ on Air’s funding records show that it paid for a 90-minute documentary, the actual running time on Sunday night was barely an hour. Scheduled for 7pm-8.30pm, when roughly twice as many viewers were tuned to TV One, the documentary would have ended at 8pm if it had not been interrupted every 10 minutes by commercial breaks.
As well as being disruptive and irritating, the constant interruption by advertising was nothing less than a desecration of a very fine piece of television, the work of Paula McTaggart (producer-director), Gaylene Preston (director) and Simon Coldrick (editor).

I didn't see this docu-drama, so I take Frewen's word that the $885k was worth it, but having seen the way the 'Platinum Fund' has been doled out I concur with his analysis:

The documentary’s opening credit declared it had made with money from the Platinum Fund, the $15 million annual grant that Labour hoped TVNZ would use for “charter television” and which National switched to NZ on Air for distribution on a contestable basis for the production and broadcast of “quality” programmes. The implication of Sunday night’s broadcast of Strongman is that $5 million from the fund is effectively being used to purchase airtime for commercial networks to earn advertising revenue.
Another implication is that NZ on Air’s local content tally, published in March, of more than 11,000 hours screened in 2011 is overstated by a third and is actually closer to 7000 hours.

In other words NZ On Air are liars, making shit up to decieve people about their output - typical behaviour.

Interestingly I note Frewen's last point:

Although the television industry measures screen time in “commercial” hours — 22 minutes in every half-hour and 43 minutes in an hour — NZ on Air records its funding decisions in real time. Its Maori counterpart, however, identifies the actual running time for some programmes. Te Mangai Paho’s post-election ministerial briefing paper also makes the astonishing claim that in the last financial year TMP spent $41 million “to purchase 1451 hours [of television programmes], an average per hour cost of $28,236, compared to an average cost of over $85,000 per hour for NZ on Air.”

... because the Indian regulator has just come out with this solution to the frustration. And of course the networks are well pissed off:

NEW DELHI: The telecom regulator's decision to limit advertisements to 12 minutes per clock hour besides introducing restrictions on the number of breaks and ban on part-screen or drop down advertisements during sports events has met with strong criticism from the broadcast industry.

The new guidelines introduced as part of the "standards of quality of service regulations'' is likely to hit broadcasters' revenue model and comes at a time when the industry is already under severe financial strain.

However, this has been ignored by Trai who has asked TV channels not to show advertisements for more than 12 minutes in an hour and directed that any shortfall of advertisement duration in any clock hour cannot be carried over.

The regulator has ignored concerns raised by broadcasters that a universal measurement based on clock hour basis would not be logical as viewership patterns differed throughout the day.

Trai has also specified in its statement that the minimum time gap between any two consecutive advertisement breaks should not be less than 15 minutes while in case of movies, this time gap should be a minimum of 30 minutes.

For sports events, advertisements can only be shown during a break in the sporting action with a ban on part-screen and drop-down advertisements. This has been seen as an excessively disproportionate measure according to broadcasters.

Trai has even a prohibitory regulation on the audio level of advertisements mandating that the audio level of the ads cannot be higher than that of the programme.


At 17/5/12 8:37 am, Blogger Jane Wrightson said...

Settle down.

NZ On Air records broadcast hours and half hours, not individual durations. We fund programming that screens on six different free to air networks, which require different durations for different time zones (as they have always done). We don't measure transmission time because we're not a broadcaster. Its administratively simpler - and better for analysis- to record consistently.

It has nothing to do with how the funding is allocated - that's based on particular production needs for a broadcast hour, half hour (or indeed a broadcast hour and a half).

At 17/5/12 11:14 am, Blogger caleb said...

What a bunch of ideological nothingspeak rubbish Jane. Your comment obscures exactly why it's simpler to factor in the ad time on top of running time even though you're "not a broadcaster". But it does confirm that you're paying for ads. I hope millions of dollars is worth that "administrative simplicity".

Lastly, if you work for NZ On Air... Annabel Fay? The GC? Seriously?

At 17/5/12 11:44 am, Blogger Phil said...

Sounds like NZOA needs far greater scrutiny of this spending and accountabilty.. Full marks for obsfucation though. Alice In Wonderland comes to mind. State funded NZOA programs should not end up subsidising SKY as is presently the case.


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