I believe it is now quite clearly time for a change in the the way NZ on Air funds Television Production in New Zealand, or at the very least it’s time for a structured and government sponsored public forum and debate, whereby the formation of a new funding model could be seriously discussed.
NZ on Air was set up to cater to a completely different TV landscape. Eric the fish has long since been flushed down the pan to the great fishbowl in the Sky. (I refer to a metaphoric fishy-afterlife and not Mt Wellington)
I used to argue that as the State Broadcaster, TVNZ should simply get all the money with a clear remit given by Statute/NZ on Air for the programmes that it is required to provide from the funding. However come September, when TV changes across the country to a fully digital model, why doesn’t NZ on Air just take a FREEVIEW UHF and a FREEVIEW Satellite Channel and a channel on SKY and broadcast themselves? This would mean their content is available to ALL New Zealanders and would surely satisfy any questions regarding accessability.
The transmission costs would be easily covered by NZ on Air’s present administrative costs.
If this was to occur NZ on Air would cease to be beholden to the networks, a situation which is completely unnecessary and simply causes confusion as to who is actually deciding where taxpayers money should, or can, be spent. On such a channel you would not have to broadcast 24/7 as advertising revenue isn’t an issue, although it could become an additional revenue stream. Given time and the correct licensing, a NZ on Air channel could build up a significant back catalogue and extend its hours of transmission.
One simply has to look to other countries who have gone to a digital model and you will discover that such channels go to air at 7pm and shut down at midnight.
It’s time that the Government explored ALL options! However,for this to happen they need to call for submissions and listen to those who have a significant knowledge and insight into broadcasting. At present it would appear that they are only listening to what often amounts to the self-interest of those who are employed by the state broadcaster. Many of whom have very little, or no experience in broadcasting outside New Zealand, and whose main goal is to simply maintain the status quo – whereby they can retain their positions and generous salary packages, while contributing very little to the betterment of broadcasting in New Zealand.
The UK has now converted to a fully digital service coupled with their much faster broadband service. The offering to viewers has changed immeasurably. In the UK, both broadcasters and the viewers have embraced the change, unlike NZ where the state broadcaster is clinging on to the crumbling cliff-face that was last century’s TV.
It is only a matter of time until these people lose their grip and plunge to the depths below. I ‘d just rather they didn’t take the audience with them.
When senior programming executives can be quoted as saying ‘I hate my job but I am simply hanging in for the salary’, it’s time for radical change !