Nigel Godfrey on Seven Not So Sharp

Nigel Godfrey has blogged at Throng about Seven Sharp and the decisions behind launching the product.

So let’s parallel the path to the creation of Seven Sharp with any another business.

  1. The business owner, TVNZ, has the top-selling product in it’s category (Close-UP).
  2. The MD decides to cease making said product and re-invent another product aimed largely at a different customer.
  3. The original product completely disappears from shelves to wide-spread disappointment from the now abandoned customers who have been buying it for 23 years.
  4. The new product appears on shelves but the market is not sure that it either wants or needs this new product.
  5. Many previously loyal customers keep asking where the old product has gone and they go to another shop (TV3) where a similar product to the one that used to be available at the old shop (TVNZ) is still on sale.
  6. In the meantime the ‘brains’ behind the disappearance of the afore-mentioned best-selling product and the creation of the new one … resigns. 

Such a scenario would unlikely occur in any public or private company where there was any form of answerability or recourse to shareholders. In my life I’m lucky enough each year to meet and work with some of New Zealand’s greatest Entrepreneurs and I have done so for the last 7 years, I can’t think of a time where such a scenario would or could occur in any of their highly successful businesses.

He clearly thinks that TVNZ has made an appalling decision:

[B]ut I just can’t imagine a situation where a business owner, who knows his or her market, would have the arrogance, (read ‘stupidity’), to believe that it made any sense to withdraw a top-selling product and replace it with something that they simply believed that the market needed.

In my opinion such a decision does not show ‘guts’, it displays a supreme  arrogance in regard to a quite obviously held belief that a manufacturer or retailer could, should or would be able to manipulate the market on such an extraordinary scale.

It also betrays a lack of understanding and loyalty to it’s already existing customer base.

And finally it shows that a cavalier attitude in regard to commercial decision-making is tolerated at a very dangerous level within TVNZ. Whatever the success or otherwise of Seven Sharp, the process that has brought about its creation should be questioned from a commercial standpoint.

In the real world, revisiting my scenario above, unless the new product out-performed the old one in a very short time-span,  the person responsible for such a decision would likely have a hard time retaining their position.

Oh I momentarily forgot – in this instance that person resigned before the product even hit the shelves!



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  • ConwayCaptain


    • … and Len Brown?

      • Dumrse

        Well it’s starts with a C.

  • boristhefrog

    Yep… it was always more about getting Sainsbury than anything else as far as I can tell… It reminds me of the disaster at TVNZ when they ‘bought back’ Hawkesby in what they thought would be a killer blow to TV3… – that ended well… for TV3.

    And so it seems this will as well – a steady hand and common sense at the ‘evil’ private broadcaster compared to buffoonery and palace coups at the state broadcast – I know which one I would prefer to be a shareholder of.

    • Gazzaw

      I agree Boris. The programme already has the kiss of death looming over it. Not good vibes at all. Three months or will corporate arrogance call for a much longer gradual demise?

      On another issue. It will be interesting to see what Prime does with ‘Sixty Minutes’.

    • Vikingforever

      Neither. Neither makes any decent return for their shareholder.

      • le sphincter

        Didnt the original TV3 go into recievership and the latest version end up as a private equity buyout basket case.

        Talk about financial mismanagement ….. many 00s millions of value chuiked down the drain

    • boristhefrog

      My point was I don’t get to choose whether I want to be a shareholder of TVNZ or not – I’d much prefer not to be. So my preference between the two is I would prefer to be a shareholder in TV3, because management are saner.

      The choice of whether I want to be a shareholder of TV3 vs any other company is a different question – and on that score I’m unlikely to hold any TV3 shares…

  • ConwayCaptain

    The Govt should SELL TVNZ with its stable of overpaid “STARS” and so called managers.

    • Gazzaw

      Labour would probably buy it back ‘Toll’ style.

  • maninblack

    yes- unfortunaly its going to drive more veiwers over to that raving pinko Campbell.

  • Lily

    Excellent Article…my thoughts exactly. Thanks for clarifying what spawned this cringe show.
    My daughter falls within their target audience – her comment ‘”good time to take a toilet break”

  • Pissedoffyouth

    People still watch TV?

  • LesleyNZ

    Oh dear – S not S was just so so sooooo awful last night. Sounded like a real jumbled din when it started – then that weird rudey nudey …… stop – click – start watching a recorded programme. And he had dyed his hair black! Need to start recording a few more programmes to watch at 7:00pm – or maybe don’t watch telly at all. Time that TVNZ was sold. Why should we taxpayers subsidise such rubbish stories. Bring back good indepth reporting/journalism and reporters/journalists.

  • Vlad

    One problem is … try-hard old people in suits trying to understand what younger people want… it reminds me of 1960’s movies about the hippie culture. They are behaving as if the internet has just been invented. It is also patronising teachery ooooh have fun stuff about current affairs. Closest equivalent is old-fashioned BBC news for children efforts. This will not end well. Sell the joint before it collapses completely.

  • pukakidon

    One good thing has come out of Seven Sharp. I now spend 7pm doing something other than watching the TV. Good way to promote a more active life. Well done TVNZ

  • David

    Watched some of show last night for the first time. Diabolical. Aly, the unfunny comedian (don’t know his name) and Temerua Morrison sampling Waitangi Day food. Unoriginal crap!