Forget the court cases – this is where the real battle is being fought

Marika Hill reports

The last analogue television broadcast switched to digital today, but a growing number of viewers couldn’t care less.

Thousands of cord cutters, as they are dubbed, are dumping the television in favour of their phones, tablets and computers…

Auckland woman Kim Davidson turned off her television six years ago and has never looked back.

…she streams television online so she can fit the screen-time in with her lifestyle.

“I don’t have to get through Shortland St to watch Revenge,” she said. “More people are also realising you can watch TV online. People are definitely talking about it more.”

The average daily reach of television fell by 92,000 people over the past year, according to the latest Nielsen viewer figures. The number of people using televisions and average viewing time also dropped.  

A drop of average daily reach of 92,000 people in a market like ours is huge.

(Printed) Newspapers are in decline, TV is in decline, and the whole market is fragmenting.

Yet audiences aren’t going away, they are shifting to the Internet.  The same newspapers and TV stations are battling it out on their respective web sites, but instead of a handful of distractions, they are now competing with the world.

And this is where Whaleoil comes in.

I would like to start a conversation with you, the readers, over the next month or two, as to where I should take Whaleoil from here.

I’m hitting some hard limits in terms of time and resources.

I’ve seen your repeated calls for a “Whaleoil newspaper” and “Whale TV”, but the opportunity cost of these would be considerable.

Even though I enjoy the support of many volunteers, certain things can only be progressed with real money.

As you know, I loathe the idea of charging for access to Whaleoil.  For one thing, I don’t like the way it changes our relationship.  With payment comes expectations, and the whole ethos of Whaleoil is a “free market” take me or leave me sort of style.

So far I’ve simply held the view that if what I do is right, then more people will want to be part of it.  If what I do is wrong, I will lose them.  Jokes about my obsession about pageviews and visitor numbers are based in fact:  I obsess over them in some detail to make sure that Whaleoil and its audience aren’t growing apart.

Here is where I need your help:  I like you to think about this situation for a few weeks.  I will return to this topic a number of times with a view to discuss how we can grow Whaleoil, fund Whaleoil and not sell its soul in the process.

One answer is to just keep doing what we’re doing and be happy with that.

But there is a clear demand for more.

How?

More needs resources (money! people! time!)

Give it a think.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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