Are TV3’s ratings a reflection of their left lean?

Guest Post

I have found watching the ratings between Campbell Live and Seven Sharp incredibly frustrating. Last year, for the first time, TV3 looked competitive at 7pm as TVNZ attempted to revamp their current affairs offering causing viewers to either switch over or switch off. On multiple occasions, John Campbell and his team drew in higher average audiences and looked to be on track to turn the tables on TVNZ who have dominated TV3 with a seemingly stranglehold on 7pm. Sadly, when TVNZ made changes again at the start of 2014, viewers abandoned Campbell Live in favour of the refreshed offering on One. Only once this year has TV3 come within a breath of having a higher average audience and that was back in February. Since then, it’s been one way traffic.

Most would agree that John Campbell’s approach to current affairs comes from a genuine place of advocacy. He’s also very passionate about it. I doubt anyone believes John isn’t genuine in his desire to help New Zealanders who are less fortunate but looking at the ratings, there seems to be a disconnect somewhere.

And then Carlos made this comment on twitter:


Look at the current Seven Sharp vs Campbell Live ratings and the rolling averages for last week. The party vote results for National and Labour and the ratings are ironically similar.


So is it simply a case of the right leaning Hosking on One vs a left leaning Campbell on TV3 appealing to the constituency? It is interesting to ponder. And then there is this.

Last night, John Campbell spent the entire show talking to the re-elected Prime Minister, John Key, about the result and the next term. The ratings, for which, were one of the highest for the year.

While there are clearly issues in Christchurch, which Campbell Live regularly features, National won with resounding results. Even in the Christchurch East electorate, National won the party vote.

While this doesn’t mean the problems aren’t real and that there aren’t members of our society who are struggling with keeping food on the table, are things actually better than the picture that has been presented?

Don’t get me wrong. We need advocates in the media like John Campbell. We need people who will go in to bat for those who need it. But if the country returns National with not only an increase, but a majority, in an MMP environment, then where does that leave shows like Campbell Live?

If there is any correlation between the ratings and political leanings of a current affairs program and the general election results, are Mediaworks, who, let’s face it, aren’t exactly flush with cash, targeting the wrong audience?

There has been a lot of messaging that National voters are rich pricks with no concern for their fellow kiwis who are struggling at the moment. I doubt anyone really believes that 48% of the New Zealand population falls into that category. Of that group though, many will be affluent and care a great deal about the issues facing some kiwis. The question I have is, would targeting those viewers be a better economic decision for Mediaworks?

As a suggestion, what about bringing together Paul Henry and John Campbell at 7pm? Wouldn’t that actually make for a far more interesting, and appealing show? Would it be balanced rather than leaning one particular way?

Whatever the case, I would love to see TV3 doing better at 7pm than they are.


– Regan @ Throng

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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.

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