Home > Media, The Body Politic > TVNZ7 – Picking at the body before it’s cold

TVNZ7 – Picking at the body before it’s cold

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TVNZ7’s impending demise is already attracting corporate “vultures”, even before the body is dead and cold.

TV3 has agreed to take up ‘Media7‘ (renaming it ‘Media3‘) on their own channel, and adding it to their other current afairs shows;  ‘The Nation‘, ‘Three60‘, and ‘Think Tank‘, from August onwards.

See:  Media 7 finds a new home on TV3

Whilst it’s better than losing ‘Media7’ entirely, one cannot help but feel a measure of ongoing disappointment.

For one thing, the fragmentation of non-commercial public television to other TV networks dilutes any sense of cultural identity and  value. Sandwiched between ads for beer; food-porn;  and grim US crime ‘dramas’ (with their usual high body-count of  predominantly female victims), does not lend mana to serious television production.

Secondly,  broadcasting ‘Media7‘ on a non-commercial station gave it credibility. It critiqued issues surrounding commercial media without fear or favour, as it had no commercial imperatives of it’s own, looking over it’s shoulder.

By contrast, in early March of this year, TV1’s ‘Fair Go‘ was molested by TVNZ management when they were ordered ‘Fair Go’s‘ staff to take  commercial imperatives into account when carrying out their investigative journalism.

This issue was brought before Parliament’s Commerce Committee by Labour’s broadcasting spokeswoman Clare Curran.

Jeff Latch – Head of TV1 & TV2,   replied to allegations of management interference by saying it  “wasn’t an instruction, per se“.

The key points I made at that meeting was that the heart of Fair Go for the past 20 odd years it has been on television, is that it represents the underdog and the small guy and stands up for them.

“I also made the observation we operate in a commercial environment and Fair Go, like all our programmes, need to exercise care in the way they handle stories.”

Yeah, right. Whatever.

Latch was caught with his pants down around his ankles, doing an “indecent media deed” to a TV show dedicated to serious investigative journalism. Cut to the chase; this was a naked attempt to interfere with ‘Fair Go’s‘ impartiality, on behalf of commercial interests (aka, advertisers).

This is that sort of thing that ‘Media 7 3‘ will have to be concerned with. It should be noted that TV3 is owned by Media Works – which also owns C4, tv station Four,  ten radio stations, and eighteen interactive websites. How will Media Works management react if/when ‘Media 3‘ critique some aspect of any one of their subsidiaries? Or a high-spending advertising client becomes involved?

There are potential problems associated with a commercial media corporation taking over a media show that critiques other media.

Fair Go‘ has proven that corporate executives just can’t help theselves. They have the power; human nature cannot resist using it. After 2014, an incoming Green-Labour led government must address this critical issue,

  • A new public broadcaster must be set up, or,
  • Conversely TV1 must be de-commercialised
  • Any public broadcaster must be placed at arms-length to political interference
  • Funding must be ring-fenced, and entrenched by contractual-law, as well as legislation.

This blogger will write more on this issue, shortly.

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Previous blogposts

Inconvenient truths? No go, Fair Go!!

A public broadcaster for New Zealand?

The Worst Newspaper Editorial Since – – – Whenever?!

21 May – Public meeting: TVNZ7 gets the big tick!

Additional

Coleman admits he got it wrong on TVNZ7

TV boss denies instruction to protect advertisers

Fair Go told not to upset advertisers, Labour claims

Other blogs

Red Alert:  Media 7 saved by TV3. Back Benches next?

Public Address:  Media7 will soon be Media3

Tumeke: Media7 moves to ghetto

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  1. 16 June 2012 at 11:32 am

    I’ll be very sorry to see TV7 go. I have really enjoyed the docos, the Make show, philosophy with that fellow from Harvard, Linda Clark’s legal one, Backbenchers, a better News, as well as media 7. I share your doubts around the capacity for tv execs to keep their sticky mitts off the substance.
    Is tv3 setting up a sort of Sunday morning current affairs/politics domain as a corollary to sunday papers? Read the sunday paper, watch tv, link to net, radio later. Fodder for radio live etc. I’m liking John Tamihere’s show, the last one about housing was xlnt.

  2. 16 June 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Quite concur with your thoughts, Kerry – and it’s an intriguing suggestion that TV3 is setting up some sort of “Sunday morning current affairs/politics domain as a corollary to sunday papers”. I hadn’t considered that, but on reflection I think you’ve you may’ve sussed it.

    As TV7’s demise approaches, the irony is that our household is watching it more and more, as it’s programming becomes more diverse.

    I suspect that this is precisely why TVNZ and it’s Ministerial masters want TV7 gone – it’s audience was growing, and this was at the expense of heavility commercialised TV1, TV2, and other profit-making broadcasters.

    Quite simply, TV7 wasn’t a money-making venture, and National doesn’t recognise non-commercial activities. Especially if they impact on a commercialised SOE such as TVNZ.

    Once Labour-Greens are back in office in 2014 (or earlier), this is something that must be addressed; a new public broadcaster, with legal-legislative protection; and appropriate funding guaranteed. I have one idea on this (especially surrounding ring-fenced funding) which I’ll be blogging shortly.

  1. 19 June 2012 at 12:32 pm
  2. 17 January 2013 at 3:17 pm
  3. 19 May 2013 at 3:29 pm

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