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Friday, November 30, 2012

SaveTVNZ7, Sky TV & Public broadcasting

There has been some interesting blog commentary on Sky's announcement to launch Face TV on their nationwide signal. As someone who fronted SaveTVNZ7 meetings around the country and who also works on Triangle TV and will be appearing on Face TV, I thought I'd add my thoughts.

If the TV Guide was edited by Ayn Rand and put online, it would be Throng.co.nz. If Whaleoil had the EQ requirements to have a best friend, it would be Regan Cunliffe and Regan has given the issue such a lazy once over I'd suggest he give up TV blogging and try something far less challenging like a paint drying blog.

Karol on The Standard has fast become one of my daily must reads on any issue and her post this week on public broadcasting is sharp and very well reasoned.

There are some assumptions that have quickly circulated about this deal between Sky TV and Triangle TV that I think need to be dispelled however.

As someone who has spent many hours sitting with Jim Blackman staring bleakly into the future of regional TV in this country, I know first hand the difficulties Triangle TV was facing.

The Government had not provided any digital signals for any regional television station to cross over to once the analogue signals are switched off next year. While the Department of Heritage and Culture has a responsibility to provide frequencies for this type of regional current affairs, they have stood by and watched regional TV drown.

Kordia has been less than helpful, Freeview have brought little to the table and NZ on Air has given the crumbs left over from Mediaworks and TVNZs multi-million dollar costing talent shows.

Jim had to pull Stratos from Freeview a year ago because there was zero support from Government to allow public funding for Freeview stations. The deal Jim has struck with Sky allows the Triangle signal to be picked up by Sky and simulcast as 'Face TV' on Sky.

Those who are still watching Triangle on the UHF signal in Auckland can continue doing so for free until the Government switch the signal off, at which point there was no digital signal reserved for Triangle to move on to.

As a frontperson for SaveTVNZ7, I am acutely aware of Sky TV's position in the industry and the criticism they have come in for when attributing blame for the decline of public broadcasting. To their credit, they have listened to that criticism and have been the only agency out there prepared to give Triangle TV a lifeline beyond the switch off date.

I have worked in many different media over the years and I've been told on all of them what I can say and what I can't say. I've been banned from RNZ for life for criticizing the Prime Minister too harshly for crying out loud. The only two media organizations who have never told me what I can or can't say are Jim Blackman at Triangle and now Sky TV.

They are giving us a means to offer an alternative evaluation of the weeks current affairs to ten times the audience at an adult time of day like 7.30pm without any editorial restrictions.

Yes it's behind a paywall, but until 2014 when there can be a change of Government to one that takes public broadcasting seriously, this is as good as it's going to get.

The alternative for Triangle and the mix of news and current affairs it brings was to simply end next year when the signal get's cut off.

Public Broadcasting isn't dead, it's been murdered. Death suggests the possibility of a natural ending. This is no such quaint passing of a thing whose time has come, Public Broadcasting has been very purposely murdered by this Government.

Look at the tireless work Myles at SaveTVNZ7 has managed to unearth. TVNZ denied access to these official information requests for 15 months, and the reason they denied it for so long was because of how explosive the information would have been in supporting TVNZ7.

Myles writes...

TVNZ 7 seen as 'important' by most Kiwis
By May 2011 50% of all Kiwis considered TVNZ 7 to be extremely or very important (page 19). This includes people who had never heard of TVNZ 7.

Of those who were aware of TVNZ 7, two thirds gave the channel high importance (page 20) while another 24% considered TVNZ 7 'quite important' (page 21). This shows overwhelming public support of 91% for the importance of TVNZ 7 and it's style of programming.

The previous year, May 2010, 86% of those who were aware of TVNZ 7 thought it important to some degree with 60% giving it high importance. This was before the decision to scrap TVNZ 7 was announced so TVNZ, and one assumes the Government, chose to close down TVNZ 7 despite knowledge of overwhelming public support for the importance of the channel.

The types of people who considered TVNZ 7 to be very important were not limited to Freeview or older viewers - the majority of Sky viewers and 18-34 year olds also considered the channel to be either very or extremely important.

...so more and more NZers supported TVNZ7 and TVNZ hid that. This would be bad enough if the OIAs hadn't also revealed that the Broadcasting Minister purposely led about how many NZers were watching TVNZ7...

TVNZ had figures that proved Coleman was wrong to say TVNZ 7 gets 207,000 viewers each week.
Page 28 shows that by January 2010, more than 500,000 Kiwis watched TVNZ 7 at least once a week and by January 2011 that figure had risen to almost 700,000.

I get these figures thus:
2011 projected NZ population is 4.4m of which roughly three-quarters are 18 and over so possible TV viewers is 3.3 million.

TVNZ 7 awareness in May 2010 is 60% (page 10 of survey) putting the total number of the 'TVNZ 7 Aware' cohort at 1.98 million.

Page 28 shows that in January 2010, 27% of that cohort (534,600) watched TVNZ 7 at least once a week or more frequently, and that by January 2011, 35% (693,800) were watching each week.

The research was done at different dates with the total 'TVNZ 7 Aware' determined in May and the 'Viewing Frequency' in January so I've gone with the most conservative of dates to make sure the dates are well before Coleman's statement in April 2011 of 207,000. Coleman has since admitted getting the figures wrong by accident, yet here is evidence that TVNZ knew what the channel's real weekly viewership was, and most likely, so did the Minister.

...and why does the National Government work so hard at killing of Public Broadcasting? Look at what happens when the media coverage is just left up to the New Zealand Herald, Herald on Sunday, Dominion Post and Sunday Star-Times...

Election coverage biased towards Key, National - study

A study has found four of the country's most-read newspapers were biased during last year's election campaign, with Prime Minister John Key receiving far more coverage than then-Labour leader Phil Goff.

I look forward to challenging that narrative 7.30pm Thursday nights on a larger media platform from early next year*.

*And yes, Citizen A will remain free online.



At 30/11/12 9:35 am, Blogger countryboy said...

Excellent post Bomber . And thanks for the effort .

Outrageous ! I'm so angry that I'm being fucked around by pro corporate MSM minions .

This TV / Media event isn't a reflection of a government doing it's job by trying to improve and maintain a lifestyle for us citizens through media . It's a fucking swindle . The fascists in National ( And Labour ! ) are liars and swindlers who're deceiving me , wasting my time , money and energy and I have no idea why .

I'm sick to death of dissecting our cluster-fuck political shambles and I'm starting to want to grab some fucker by the throat .

They're deliberately and openly castrating the media ! ?

But why ?

Why antagonize people so ?

Why be so inherently evil and nasty ?

No good could possibly come from that . All that's happening is a rise in dissent and mistrust . To use a Spock-ism , it's ' Highly illogical Captain . '

I feel like I'm being abused by the creepy Uncle who sneaks up the hall in the dark .

I feel an urgency to run away and yet I'm compelled to stand and fight ! I have better things to do than write here , no disrespect and I feel deeply disturbed at what's happening to us and who might be coming to claim NZ as theirs .

This is very , very scary stuff .

The reality is that 'we' need to remove 'them' now . Before it's too late .

There has to be a public inquiry into the relations between politicians and corporations .I truly believe that , that's where the problem lies .

I can hear some of you mutter ' Yeah , well duh ! Tell me something I don't know . '

To you I ask . If you're so clever , what's your plan of attack then ? Because I'm fucked if I know what to do .

At 30/11/12 3:47 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post here. As someone who is fortunate to have SKY TV. I personally really enjoy having acess to BBC and CNN services and also I really like SoHo TV, but of the rest on SKY is rubbish. I look forward to tuning into Face TV and hopefully your show will become a regular viewing.

At 30/11/12 3:53 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post here. As someone who is fortunate to have SKY TV. I personally really enjoy having acess to BBC and CNN services and also I really like SoHo TV, but of the rest on SKY is rubbish. I look forward to tuning into Face TV and hopefully your show will become a regular viewing.

At 1/12/12 9:12 am, Blogger Phil said...

Congrats BB. fUNNY, my underemployed daughter JUST told me she applied for job at the the new SKY complex too. She's promised great dough and hours ... nice people too. I'm told. I feel a bit uneasy though . What do you think?

At 2/12/12 1:08 pm, Blogger DebsisDead said...

Waaa? Did he last two posters even watch the show? If they did why are they so happy about sky taking over our airwaves? A quick game of let’s pretend. We are dumb enough to keep ignoring the ramifications of TPP and yet somehow despite the now total dominance of broadcast TV by Murdoch's Sky TV a govt wins power that decides to reintroduce Public Broadcasting. Some may remember public broadcasting TV news without a pro imperialist agenda, that doesn't feature 'journalists' name dropping the last piece of consumerist crap they bought or doing their talking head shots from inside their 'friend's cafe. Doco's about the institutions that aren't exercises in hero worshiping coppers, with every piece of controversy skilfully excised (ever wonder how many fucked up warrantless searches these 'journalists' film before they see one with incriminating evidence in the interminable shows about police, fisheries and customs?) I sure as hell do because out here in the real world I've observed a 'strike rate' of about 1 in 10 when cops search citizens & the ones where they find nothing are the ones where they tend to smash the joint up a bit or go the biff. Why don't we ever see that on 10-7 or COPS?) But I digress.
A govt decides to give us proper TV but guess what not only can Murdoch sue the government into the ground for providing competition he can sue the govt for projected loss of profits if they decide to take the easy way out and require his TV channels (using our airwaves but that not germane according to Murdoch) to show more informative less biased TV. Then the real fun starts as every pol that went anywhere near the idea is dragged thru the muck of lies and insinuations about their probity, sexual preferences and general character.
I understand why you have decided to go to sky Bomber key has done Murdoch's job well, there will be nothing after triangle. You do need to understand that these little sops to the masses will only last through the transition period. Once everything has been stitched up tighter than a snappers ass you'll be preaching Bill Oreilly fascism or you will be sent down the road. They'll be none of this reprinting the show on the blog once News Inc gets in full swing- "where's our money from that?" Will be the first thing they say.
I won't be watching the show on Murdoch's Sky - evah!
end of Part One

At 2/12/12 1:10 pm, Blogger DebsisDead said...

Part Two (ps word wrap on preview still not working)

One of the reasons kiwis have been so lackadaisical about Murdoch's total stitch up of NZ TV media over the last 5 years is that up until now they haven't had to suffer Rupert Murdoch & acolyte's despicable disregard for ethics. He left NZ alone while he stitched up the big joints - or so kiwis thought unaware that his inroads into NZ media have been funded by them thanks to a 5 decade strategy newsinc has had to take over all the suburban and rural fishwraps. Now that he has all his ducks in a row kiwis are gonna understand why it is his man in NZ was the first stop for shearer on winning the nat lite leadership and why the govt has given his man a free pass with full security clearance to the entire beehive.

The combination of labour & Nat enabling both Murdoch and the TPP is gonna be the death of NZ as most kiwis still like to imagine it.
Yet you'll long long and hard before you find any commentary on this. Most journos I speak to about this remind me of this old junkie I know who has 'been in recovery' for the last 20 years. Any reference to any events actions of the past that might cause the former drug addict to confront demons are dismissed with "Really? I just don't remember/ don't know about that". Same same with journos esp broadcast ones on the plain as the nose on yer face stitch up of NZ broadcasting by Murdoch.

At 2/12/12 11:23 pm, Blogger countryboy said...

@ Phil . It really depends on what your daughters job description is within Satans lair and to that end she will have to let her conscience be her guide . We all whore ourselves to the dollar . Lets face it we have to , such is the construct of our ' society ' which when coldly analyzed is completely unbalanced anyway . Spending cold hard time working away the days of our lives , not for essentials but for trite fripperies and we have yet another Trite Frippery Season breathing down our necks ( Bah and Hum Fuckin' Bug ) . The Double Down irony is that those whom look on us westerners with such envy are those who have more in reality than we do . They just don't know it . Been to South East Asia or India lately . They seem happy in their relative poverty . I've talked to people living in the Phnom Penh rubbish dump who seemed happier than people whom I've talked to living in their relative poverty in Aranui Ch Ch . Aranui Poverty and Phnom Penh poverty aint the same fuckin' thing man . Those poor people in Aranui are dreadfully sad and without hope . It's awful to witness . So what is that about ?

I can tell you . It's about Bull Shitters bull shitting . That's what that's about and Murdoch and his minions are the worlds best bullshitters . They've convinced billions of people that only the rich are worthwhile and when you get rich ... you have to get richer . Sounds like an addiction doesn't it ? And money-addicts are usually such soulless , artless cunts . Take our Prime Mincer for example . He's as slick as snot on a door nob . If he was a wooly blanket ... shit would never stick to him . He's known as the smiling assasin in certain circles . That's because he enjoyed his work . He enjoyed reaching into peoples lives and destroying them .

@ DebsisDead . You have the smell of bullshit in your nostrils and it's really pissing you off . I know how you feel . I stick my neck out by proffering sometimes quite loony notions to add some degree of alternative perspective to that pong . It's like you might have stepped in dog shit . You think you have , just where the fuck is it ?

I've said this before ; the better us humans get at sniffing out those dirty fuckers the more clever they have to become to avoid being outed .

And remember , beware the cornered rat .

I certainly understand Tumekes conundrum . Maybe Tumeke needs to take a quick whip round then employ a top shelf marketing professional to promote the Tumeke brand . That's what churches do . Perhaps someone ex their side with an axe to grind ?

OR ! Could all this consumerism and money-making herald in a new era of Global Peace ? All hostile borders fall to free market dogma so that bullets and bombs are only as expensive as milk and cheese . Then you'd get The Warehouse Bombs and Bullets Friday specials rammed down your throat via the MSM . Hurry for those weekend drive-by body bag discounts .


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