Recession has TVNZ block staff use of Facebook, Bebo, Trademe and more

TVNZ staff have now been blocked from popular social networking websites – and naturally aren’t happy.

They were internally informed:

“As part of TVNZ’s response to the recession, restrictions are now being put on access to some social websites.  Provision of bandwidth is an increasing cost to the company and high volume usage on social networking websites impacts on our bandwidth availability for core business activities i.e. the consumer experience on and ondemand.  The restrictions will be active from Wednesday March 18th and will apply between the hours of 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.  Outside of these hours, please use your judgement on appropriate personal use.

The websites that will be blocked are: Facebook, Bebo, Ebay, Zillion, Trademe, Gumtree.”

There may be some isolated incidents where staff need access to one or more of the blocked sites.  There is a strictly controlled exemption process in place, requiring approval from your manager.  Please click here for details.  This initiative is part of TVNZ’s response to the recession – thank you for your understanding.”

Patsy Turpin’s tweets: I miss facebook. It wasn’t a good idea to block if during work hours. Thanks TVNZ.

We wonder how long before TVNZ blocks Twitter, the newest social networking craze?

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About the author

Co-founder of Throng. Favourite TV shows recently: Homeland and The Newsroom.
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  • Rachel

    We’ve emailed TVNZ to ask for comment to see if this is a part of their cost-cutting productivity measures.

  • xurizaemon

    Perplexing. From here it looks like TVNZ are keen to utilise Facebook to promote their icons, like Paul Henry.

    I wonder what TVNZ calls “work hours”? Isn’t that 24×7 in TV-land?

    TVNZ already ran a trite piece on how their reporter fails to get Twitter, so they won’t be needing to report on that again in the next six months.

  • Rachel

    Have updated this post.

  • Rachel

    TVNZ replied by saying:

    “Our IT people did an audit of internet use and found that the high volume usage on social networking sites was increasing the cost of bandwidth and potentially interfering with core business in the sense that it can affect how people outside the organisation experience and tvnz ondemand.

    So Facebook and Bebo are no longer available to staff during standard working hours.  (Twitter is not on the list.)”

    Their internal internet usage potentially interferes with how their websites run?!  Um…..

  • mtsai

    Surely the 10 or so people actually loading a facebook page on a tvnz server at any given second can’t possibly affect their news website? Thats crazy. Surely there’s something else at play. Productivity levels, perhaps?

  • Starshone

    Are the TVNZ sites even on an on-shore server? :/

  • Ironic that broadband is a limited resource from the one single company who should have more than it should require.

  • Liz

    About time, i mean most decent work places block these things, and justly so.
    Juist because 1 or 2 PR or minor anchors/celebs need to access it doesnt mean the rest of the couple thousand working there need to be twittering or bebo/facebook etc all day.
    My previous job i was in charge of monitoring what people looked at and blocking sites which were used too much. stuff, herald, all social networking, and trademe were used WAY to much considering people were there to work.

  • bobscoffee

    exactly, Liz. This is a storm in a teacup. They are there to WORK, not muck around on social networking sites, so TVNZ have every right to block them.

  • Rachel

    The interesting thing is why they say they’re blocking access.  If they said it was for productivity reasons, it’s not so interesting.  But look closely at what they said it was for: to ensure their websites run fine for us, the public.  Now that is odd – most company websites are hosted separately and their internal company internet use has no impact on the running of these.

  • regan

    If they’re really concerned about bandwidth, why is YouTube not on that list?!

  • MrCynical

    Fail to see the issue, it is a standard practice for many businesses

  • TuiKiwi

    “If they’re really concerned about bandwidth, why is YouTube not on that list?!”

    It’s funny, because when I visted TVNZ there were so many employees sitting on YouTube.

  • observer

    Agreed, the explanation is hilarious. In my experience most IT guys are usually on power trips, and go out of their way to block useful sites.
    Why is TVNZ always so horrifically useless at both HR & PR?

    Facebook, MySpace and external Webmail have been blocked at Mediaworks (TV3, C4, Radiolive, MoreFM, Mai FM, The Edge) for the past couple of Years. But the bureaucracy at Mediaworks never felt it necessary to email everyone with a fake excuse as to why it was happening.

    At Mediaworks you go to work, to work.

    For those of you wondering why Youtube isn’t blocked. It’s because with the massive cutbacks in Newsroom staff (including Camera crews) TVNZ, Mediaworks and Sky find them increasingly reliant on amateur footage to fill Shows.

    TVNZ servers are maintained on site (with offsite redundancy), but staff internet usage probably consists of less than .5% of their bandwidth consumption .

    The trouble is, people like Rick Ellis have no concept of Bandwidth usage, or the operational side of I.T. in general. So when dozens of bureaucrats make up this sort of rubbish, Rick buys in and out comes the executive order.

    Personally, I think the very fact someone had time to write this email is a clear illustration last week’s cuts didn’t go deep enough.