Intelligent TV

Liberty Scott

Many of the whingers crying over the spilt milk that is TVNZ7 are crying because “intelligent TV” has died…except it hasn’t as Liberty Scott explains:

Of course, intelligent TV is widely available and seen throughout NZ.  It’s called Sky.

Sky brought New Zealand 24-hour news in the form of CNN, and more recently multiple options ranging from the BBC, Sky News, France 24, Al Jazeera, Fox News, CCTV and the new channel for nutty conspiracy theorists who are anti-American – Russia Today.  New Zealanders have never had better access to news about Australia, the USA, UK, Europe, the Arab world, China and Russia.  It also brought multiple dedicated channels for documentaries and then classic movies, arthouse movies and well as the mass market entertainment channels it supplies.

Sky started by paying the government for its first network, a series of UHF frequencies, installed its own transmitters and bought content.  It spent the first seven or eight years losing money, and now gets into around half of New Zealand homes.  People who are prepared to pay for the content it provides, which is not just sport, not just movies, but far more content than state TV can ever provide.  Now we all know Sky succeeds because of sports coverage, but nobody would have predicted what it now brings, thanks to an open market, absence of foreign ownership restrictions and absence of local content quotas.

The liberal, mainly left are now eyeing up busting Sky’s chops. Have a look at Clare Curran’s tweets if you don’t believe me:

Liberty Scott continues:

A successful business, which has brought far more choice and intelligence to NZ television that any other broadcaster, is now in the firing line from one of those who asserted that she is against braindead TV.

I’d have more sympathy if those who wanted to Save TVNZ7 had raised money to set up their own TV channel – which of course you can in New Zealand, given that there are no legal barriers to entry and there is a surplus of digital TV frequencies available on Freeview.  It is a matter of money.

The problem is that the Save TVNZ7 people don’t want to put their money where their mouths are, they want to make everyonedo it.  So when the investors in Sky, have put their money in, have done so with no taxpayer subsidy at all, have been supported by around half of the adult population in subscriptions, you might wonder why they don’t like that very much.

David Beatson has at least formed a trust, we will see where that goes…my pick is nowhere because most of the people fighting to save TVNZ7 couldn’t even afford a jacket newer than 20 years old. They will simply want to pick the pockets of taxpayers more. Somehow a television channel with three shows a week featuring Martyn Bradbury just doesn’t do it for many people.

Public Broadcasting…no thanks

Liberty Scott

A proper explanation why politicians are crap at pretty much everything, but in this instance providing public broadcasting:

I’m resigned to free to air TV in NZ being braindead, because it’s what most people want most of the time.  There is better on Sky and some regional broadcasters.  There is more online and that is where the media is heading.

I don’t trust politicians to bring me better broadcasting, because I don’t trust them to buy me food, clothing or buy me healthcare or a pension.  Those who want better should support what is there now and if so inclined, make their own content.  It is remarkably cheap to do so given digital technology (none of which came from public broadcasters).

The coming years will continue the profound revolution in media that has been going on for the last 20 years, a revolution that is challenging existing free to air broadcasters and newspapers.   The ability to access content from all over the world and publish your own content is transforming media, discourse, journalism and starting to affect politics.
That is where the future is – not a small state owned TV channel, nor in considering ways to regulate one of the country’s most successful broadcasters (particularly when just about any way that a government might consider regulating it will breach the country’s WTO commitments on audio-visual services).

Paul Little on TVNZ7

NZ Herald

There isn’t much I agree with Paul Little on…in fact I think this may well be the only thing. I certainly don’t share his idea of good fun after dinner entertainment.

This is what he thinks of TVNZ7 and whingers lamenting its demise:

Some weeks ago, a town meeting in Auckland protested against the closure of TVNZ7, which made its final self-important broadcasts yesterday.

A few hundred people who looked like they had only just come to terms with the introduction of colour television turned out to bemoan, pointlessly, yet another fait accompli, “demand” that TVNZ7 be saved and tacitly congratulate themselves on their superior taste in viewing.

There’s no denying we no longer have programmes of the calibre of Stars on Sunday, Pukemanu, The Black and White Minstrel Show and On the Buses.

Those who lament the passing of the good old days of public service television should be condemned to an evening watching it.


Expensive, Completely Subsidised TV Show Bites the Dust


Much lamenting in the beltway as one of their cherished loves, the Back Benches show, finished.

Our pinko mate Farrar rabbits on about it over at Kiwiblog, but fails to mention that no one ever watched Back Benches, and it was an expensive waste of taxpayers money. In all the years that TVNZ7 ran I never once bothered to find the channel on my Sky decoder. I just couldn’t be bothered even when I was on one of the shows.

If there was commercial value in this show it would be picked up by a for profit broadcaster.

Unfortunately there is no value because the audience numbers were laughably low, so the market will dictate it will not continue.

The sad part is most of these have achieved not much else other than expensive alterations on the houses of the producers and directors of the shows.

Quote for the Day

Karl du Fresne

Talking about the save TVNZ7 campaign:

I mean, who can take seriously any campaign in which the neo-Marxist loudmouth Martyn “Bomber” Bradbury has been assigned a central role? Bradbury was the “moderator” – hardly the most appropriate word in his case – at last night’s meeting, as he has been at several others. Personally, I’d rather be roped to a chair and forced to sit through endless reruns of MasterChef New Zealand than endure one of Bradbury’s splenetic rants.

Throng on TVNZ7



Regan has posted his thoughts on TVNZ7. As a avid industry watcher I think his comments have merit.

Q. Does Throng believe TVNZ7 should be saved?
A. No.

Q. Does Throng believe there should be a Public Broadcasting TV channel?
A. Yes.

There are a number of positive aspects to TVNZ7.  It has had some great new shows with the quality and content improving year on year.  Despite Mike “don’t talk about cume unless you’re referring to how my salary is justified” Hosking’s comments about its audience, a third of New Zealand watches TVNZ7 every month. It only costs $15m a year to run, or 83 cents per month per viewer.

Sounds reasoning…and nice slap down of Mike Hosking. But now why TVNZ7 should go:

So with such positives, why do we not support TVNZ7 being saved?  The primary reason is due to the first four letters of the channel’s name.

When the Labour government established both TVNZ6 and TVNZ7 and the channels were launched on the Freeview platform, there was much fanfare about an alternative to subscription-based television. However, due to the poor broadcasting policies of both the former and current governments, TVNZ has found itself caught in the middle of striving for commercial success and being a public broadcaster.  The reality is that they simply cannot do both.

TVNZ were never going to drive viewers away from their highly rating, ad supported channels.
TVNZ7 was doomed to near invisibility and the critics’ ire.

Over the years, a number of industry insiders have also voiced their concern to Throng about how TVNZ has charged out its resources for TVNZ7, suggesting that the commercial side of TVNZ has been milking the funding.  There is nothing commercially wrong with this, of course, but it would reinforce the conflict of interest that TVNZ has in having feet in both camps.

While there are a number of shows on TVNZ7 that would be worth saving, the channel as it stands needs to go and TVNZ needs to be allowed to focus on its commercial directives while the role of public broadcaster is handed over to someone else.

We will never get to the bottom of the cross-subsidisation, but I believe Regan has a better graspo than anyone on the conflicts that arose inside TVNZ regarding TVNZ7. But where to from here?

With the numbers tuning in each month, there is certainly evidence to support the existence of a public broadcasting tv channel.  The issue, as many on the right would suggest, is how it is funded under the current economic climate.

To put it in perspective, in 2011, $1.6 billion was spent on advertising on television in New Zealand.  An ad supported/sponsorship model that was limited to the $15m annual funding required to keep the channel on the air hardly seems unreasonable.  In fact, you could double it to $30m without impacting viewer experience which, as it currently is on TVNZ7, would easily replace the short “promo breaks” that already exist between shows.

There are plenty of players that could contribute to a new public broadcast tv channel.  The three main ones being Triangle, who are already working in that space on a shoestring budget, Maori Television who have produced some excellent public television services to viewers beyond their indigenous audience and Radio New Zealand who provide the most respected news service in the country and already have vast resources in place.

It is time the confusion was ended and there be a separation between TVNZ’s role as a public broadcaster and a commercial entity.  If they are there to make a profit, let them do it but let’s not pretend any longer that they can do that and have success as a public broadcaster at the same time.

A great post with sensible and non-vested interest solutions. Bear that in mind when you read the save TVNZ7 people talking about this…most of them have skin in the game, when they say save TVNZ7 it is from the perspective of their hip pocket.

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TVNZ7 is to close, pinko troughers Damien Christie and Russell Brown will have to find other ways to fund massive extensions to their houses.

I was at Back Benches last night and overheard some “connected” people talking about their very secret viewer numbers. Less than 6000 people watch Back Benches. More people read my blog on any given day, including Christmas day than watch Back Benches.

Now that the government has shut that down time to move onto the other hobbies of the liberal elite like Ballet and Symphony Orchestras.