Home > Media, Social Issues > Another stake through the heart of quality broadcasting…

Another stake through the heart of quality broadcasting…

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Stratos TV has closed down… Gutted!

Aside from another damned good channel going down the gurglar, that leaves us bereft of good, alternative, thought-provoking shows like Citizen A, War on News, Al Jazeera, The Beatson Interview, et al…

Stratos CEO, Jim Blackman, posted this statement on their website,

It is with a heavy heart and a huge amount of regret, particularly at this time of the year, that I have to tell you that Stratos Television has ceased broadcast as of today.

The transmission costs coupled with the economic environment and general lack of support at all levels has meant that it simply could not survive.

We know the channel had a significant number of viewers across the country that were steadily growing. We are sorry to have let them down.

I want to pay tribute to the dedication of our staff, presenters, programme providers and contractors who have worked with such passion and pride over the years Stratos has been on air.

The contribution made by these folks has been outstanding. I am so proud of them and I am just sorry they won’t see it blossom into the vision we started out with.

For further information please refer to http://www.stratostv.co.nz. Please feel free to leave messages on the guest book on that page. Email contact can be made at info@stratostv.co.nz This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Auckland viewers will be able to access most of Stratos’ programming on the Triangle Television analogue service.

We will not be making any other statement at this time.

– J W Blackman, CEO

Source

‘Tis a sad day for broadcasting in this country.

And it will be made sadder when TVNZ7 is canned by this current soulless, visionless, valueless, government and replaced by a shopping channel…

A shopping channel, for chrissakes!?

Once upon a time, my fellow New Zealanders, we had one television broadcaster with one channel; the NZBC,

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One channel, and I recall that it used to screen a wide variety of programmes.

Even when we acquired a second channel in 1975, our public broadcasting system was a healthy mixture of entertainment, information, news, current affairs, sports,   and a growing reflection of our own cultural identity.

Our TV journalists fronted investigative-reporting current-affairs shows, such as ‘Gallery‘,   that held our elected representatives to account. Even Rob Muldoon was not above scrutiny, before the attentive eyes of New Zealanders glued to “The Box”.

Fast forward to 2011: we have umpteen tv channels, both free-to-air and pay-per-view; 24 hour broadcasting; high-tech services such as On Demand; satellite reporting of international events as they are happening; etc.

And yet people are turning away from television in droves. The constant criticism of our present-day television is that it offers a bland ‘diet’ of reality shows; infomercials; grim and ghastly crime “dramas”; and an endless stream of cooking programmes.

Welcome to television, 21st Century-style.

TVs 1, 2, 3, 4, et al, are the personification of Dumbing Down for the Dumbed Down. Only the advert-breaks offer any hint of original wit.TVNZ’s public charter was scrapped and it was effectively turned into a corporate cash-cow. If they could broadcast hard-core porn to make a buck; return a better dividend to this current cash-strapped government; and get away with it – they would.

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Stratos TV, Maori TV,  and TVNZ7 are perhaps the last remaining bastions of intelligent tv for intelligent viewers, who crave something more substantial that a gory crime show that depicts the latest act of misogyny against women, or semi-clothed  “survivors” on some out-of-the-way spot on Planet Earth, or yet another cooking show with background music that promises  “action packed conflict”.

With Stratos gone from Freeview and TVNZ7 facing cancellation in June, viewers will be left with the bland for the brain-dead (Maori TV excepted?). With a myriad of channels to choose from, it appears to be a choice of crap, crap, and more crap. Anything of value will be either on pay-per-view Sky (such as the taxpayer owned-and-funded ‘Heartland TV‘ – now firmly  a part of Skytv) or ‘buried’ at ungodly hours which only moreporks and insomniacs will watch.

Stratos was a good attempt at presenting a credible  alternative to viewers. It may not have been perfect, and it may have needed some “tweaking” – but it offered something more tangible to viewers than chefs screaming blue-bloody-murder at each other.

It’s interesting to note that the NBR article on this matter – though short and basically a re-hash of Jim Blackman’s media release – has generated 116 comments posted by readers. Many of those comments being quite passionate in their views of Stratos’ demise, and the apalling state of our public and private television.

I sincerely hope that Stratos may rise again, perhaps in a new style, but with old, traditional values in broadcasting.

God knows we need it.

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Additional

TVNZ Public Charter

Brian Edwards: The TVNZ Charter – a toothless tiger out of its misery

David Beatson: Stratos is Dead – Who’s Next?

NBR:  Plug pulled on Stratos Television

Where to now for NZ public broadcasting?

How the badly maimed BBC can stand up to parasitic Sky

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  1. Matthew
    1 January 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Well SBS 1 and 2 are still on Optus D1, which is the same sat as Freeview and Sky, but a different polarity. You need a 90 cm dish and a dual LNB, and you can get a 2nd dual LNB for Optus D2, offsetting it on the same dish, and you’ll end up getting Russia Today, NHK World, SBS1, SBS2, and the god-awful Press TV. I also chucked up a 1.2m dish with c-band for Australia Network and BBC News.

    Between those 7 English language channels and NZTV7 there is always something to watch.

    I’ll miss TVNZ7 though.

  2. Peter Martin
    1 January 2012 at 3:55 pm

    ‘a growing reflection of our own cultural identity.’

    Something that is hard to find these days. I agree Maori TV helps mitigate the main channels lack . Whilst programmes like ‘South’ and ‘North’ and Country Calendar are about us, it strikes me that they rarely rise above travel programmes or infotainment.
    Public radio is better, but not by that much. Nearly a third of our people are Maori/Pasifika/Asian and as Tariana Turia said during the election, nearly one out of every two babies born fit that cohort. Yet how many from that cohort appear on Jim Mora’s Panel ? How many programmes on Radio New Zealand are for the benefit of this growing third of the population? Ditto for TV. Whose New Zealand does it reflect?
    And it’s just gone from bad to a whole lot worse.

  3. 1 January 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Peter Martin :

    ‘a growing reflection of our own cultural identity.’

    Something that is hard to find these days. I agree Maori TV helps mitigate the main channels lack . Whilst programmes like ‘South’ and ‘North’ and Country Calendar are about us, it strikes me that they rarely rise above travel programmes or infotainment.
    Public radio is better, but not by that much. Nearly a third of our people are Maori/Pasifika/Asian and as Tariana Turia said during the election, nearly one out of every two babies born fit that cohort. Yet how many from that cohort appear on Jim Mora’s Panel ? How many programmes on Radio New Zealand are for the benefit of this growing third of the population? Ditto for TV. Whose New Zealand does it reflect?
    And it’s just gone from bad to a whole lot worse.

    Good points, Peter. I hadn’t even considered Jim Mora’s 4-5pm Afternoon Panels – but you’re 100% correct. If my life depended on it, I can’t think of one non-Pakeha panellist he’s had as a guest. I will send him a link to this page so he notes your comments.

    I recall watching “Te Kaea” one night (11pm) , and was astounded that I gleaned more news-worthy items in 30 minutes than I did with TV1 (or TV3) News.

  4. 1 January 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Matthew :

    Well SBS 1 and 2 are still on Optus D1, which is the same sat as Freeview and Sky, but a different polarity. You need a 90 cm dish and a dual LNB, and you can get a 2nd dual LNB for Optus D2, offsetting it on the same dish, and you’ll end up getting Russia Today, NHK World, SBS1, SBS2, and the god-awful Press TV. I also chucked up a 1.2m dish with c-band for Australia Network and BBC News.

    Between those 7 English language channels and NZTV7 there is always something to watch.

    I’ll miss TVNZ7 though.

    Yikes – Mathew, you lost me after “Well-“! 😀

    But yes, the BBC News is well worth watching, and is as professional in it’s content as always.

    • Matthew
      1 January 2012 at 8:09 pm

      OK Frank I’ll translate into English – If you want only free to air TV and want some quality programming ,satellite TV is worth investigating. Sat TV is cheaper than it ever was. With what is called a multiswitch multiple satellites (and UHF) can be sent to multiple TVs. I spent a bit of money, but not that much setting mine up so I could get different channels. Freeview is just way too limited, and a lack of a decent public broadcaster in NZ is a real shame.

      SBS1 and 2 and Australia Network are public broadcasting channels from Australia. SBS1 and 2 are the Tasmanian signals, but are easy to pick up in NZ (although with no guarantee they’ll stay on those transponders so no guarantee the channels will stick around.) They have foreign news services during the day, PBS News Hour, then their own very good world news, plus docos, Mythbusters, cooking shows, Japanese game shows in English, foreign movies subtitled into English.

      As well as all the foreign language channels (and a plethora of religious ones – yippee) you can get in English, NHK World from Japan which has quiet little docos and news services. There is also Arirang World from Korea on the Intelsat 8 satellite, which might be my next target.

      There’s more available with bigger dishes, but I’ll leave that as an exercise for your readers…

      All is not lost.

      • 1 January 2012 at 11:05 pm

        Cheers, and thanks for that, Mathew. It’s something I may look into eventually as I watch less and less msm television. I swear if I see one more cooking show, I’ll biff my teflon-coated, non-stick, steel-handled, frying pan at the screen…

        It’s not just Bomber Bradbury’s shows I’ll be missing – but David Beatson’s interviews. There was some extraordinary material on Beatson’s shows – the last real Interview Format left in New Zealand? *sighs*

  5. 2 January 2012 at 6:05 pm

    This is an excellent report on where public television is, in NZ right now; “Where to now for NZ public broadcasting?”.

  6. Peter Martin
    3 January 2012 at 12:57 pm

    An interesting piece from the Guardian…’How the badly maimed BBC can stand up to parasitic Sky’

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jan/02/maimed-bbc-parasitic-sky

    • 3 January 2012 at 2:37 pm

      Peter, that is an excellent article by Polly Toynbee.

      I will add it to the “Additional” postscript list of worthwhile reading.

      It also has considerable relevance, as “Heartland” TV and “Kidzone 24” – mostly TVNZ content, is now a part of – wait for it – SkyTV’s stable of channels. In effect, taxpayers are subsidising a Murdoch enterprise yet again.

  7. Theodore
    4 January 2012 at 10:42 pm

    A goddamn shopping channel. This country is stuffed.

  1. 10 January 2012 at 7:23 pm
  2. 4 July 2012 at 10:36 pm

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