Yesterday I attended a forum on the Future of Public Television in New Zealand held at Victoria University in Wellington that was called after an open letter from academics was released in the wake of the funding cut to TVNZ7.

In attendance were industry stakeholders and interested parties who shared their concerns about not only on the demise of TVNZ7 but also the state of public television in general in this country, while also raising ideas and possible solutions for the future.

While much of the talk centred on TVNZ7 and the government’s decision to cut funding for the channel midway through next year, valid points were also raised regarding local content and the continued dominance of Sky in the New Zealand TV market.

Here are some of the major issues and topics discussed through the forum:

- One of the key points emphasised throughout the day was the insistence that it is not impossible for the government to continue funding a channel like TVNZ7, but that it required a certain level of dedication and commitment. A failure of willpower was identified as the major issue at play, with some going so far as to suggest that finding the $15m of funding required for TVNZ7 was not the issue, but that it had more to do with the elimination of the idea of public television by the current government.

- Of course, Sky Television and its dominance in our unregulated landscape was discussed with emphasis on future regulation of some sort. Sky in the UK was used as an example of a pay TV provider that actively produces and promotes quality local content.

- Exclusive first-run local content was identified as the key to the survival of free-to-air television due to the continued ease with which audiences can access international content both legally and illegally via the internet.

- Both Maori Television and regional television stations were identified as models of successful channels in the free-to-air market. 

- Minister of Broadcasting Jonathan Coleman (not in attendance) was challenged by several speakers, who rubbished his assertion that New Zealanders don’t care where their content comes from.

- The fact that New Zealand is one of the only major OECD countries to not have its own public television channel. It was noted that Maori Television is the closest channel we have to filling this role.

- Looking ahead, it was discussed in what form public television would be desirable, whether it advances as a stand-alone anchor channel similar to TVNZ7 or as an increased emphasis on local non-commercial programming spread across several free-to-air channels. There was also talk of looking to the future with not only television in mind but a range of mediums that would engage a wide range of audiences.

Overall, the forum was used positively as a place for future planning and assessment as opposed to mourning the likely permanent loss of TVNZ7 next year. It was underlined that while there is no easy solution to the issue of our lack of public television, it is not impossible in the current economic climate and NZ media landscape to have a free-to-air channel dedicated to local content and not controlled by the advertising dollar and ratings figures.

The hard work is over and the nails sufficiently whittled down in anticipation. After days of viewing by nearly 100 judges, the national finalists have finally been announced for the 2011 V48HOURS furious filmmaking competition. 

Heartbroken teams that didn’t make the cut in the city finals have also been given another shot at fame and fortune with Sir Peter Jackson’s annual Wildcard picks. Drum roll please.

The Wildcards, those given the nod by the man himself are: Mukpuddy – “Meanie Pants” (Quest Movie), Shonky Productions – “48 Hours” (Mystery) and The Outwits – “Grindin’” (Music/Dance).

But Sir Peter Jackson’s favourites will have a lot to prove; going up against the best ten films that ate up the rest of the competition. Second drum roll for the national finalists… Grand Cheval – “The Child Jumpers” (Fad Movie), IdiotVision – “Headshot” (One-Room Movie), Couch Kumaras – “Sketch” (Road Movie), Mo Appreciation Collective – “Circus Animals” (One-Room Movie), Cinema in Decline – “Tea Jerker” (Crime), Lense Flare – “Copy That” (Road Movie), Clinky – “RoboRevenge” (Revenge Movie), Rubber Soul Productions – “Well Strung” (Musical/Dance), $195 Worth “Urban etikit” (Fad Movie) and Suspect TV – “Naughty Man” (Horror).

Congratulations to these teams, those 48 hours of pain were worth it. It’s almost over, but not quite. It will all come down to the wire at the Grand National Final on 2nd July at the Civic Theatre in Auckland, where the Grand National Champion will be crowned.

“The talent that this competition has seen is truly mind-blowing” says competition founder and film-buff, Ant Timpson. “It’s been a very long few weeks to get to this point. We’ve had a lot of young new talented filmmakers giving the pros a run for their money, making judging incredibly tough this year.”

Those not able to attend the Grand National Final in Auckland can view 48Hours: The Best of the Fest episodes from the competition on U. Official broadcast partner U, will screen the best films across seven nights from 10pm daily – from Sunday 3rd to Saturday 9th July on U, Freeview 6 / SKY channel 016. For more information, go to

Hosted by Mike McRoberts, today’s 3 News Special will bring audiences Live coverage of the Christchurch press conference where Prime Minister John Key will announce which Christchurch streets and suburbs will be left uninhabitable.

Hamm signs new Mad Men deal

Jon Hamm has reportedly signed a new three-year contract with Mad Men. The actor, who plays Don Draper, will now appear in the fifth, sixth and seventh seasons of the drama series.

Lost actor joins Hawaii Five-0

Lost actor Terry O’Quinn has signed on for a recurring role in new drama series Hawaii Five-0. The actor will play a Navy Seal on the show.

Kardashian close to wedding TV deal with E!

Kim Kardashian is said to be close to a deal with the E! channel over televising her wedding to Kris Humphries. Kardashian claims the deal is to help her fans celebrate with her on the most important day of her life.

South Korean Top Gear on the way 

A local version of Top Gear has been commissioned for South Korea following the show’s successful debut in China earlier this year. The series will be hosted by former professional racing drivers.

Conan O’Brien wins walk-on role on HIMYM

American talk-show host Conan O’Brien has won a walk-on part in How I Met Your Mother at a recent charity event. Producers of the series are looking to write him in as a quest character rather than simply an extra in the background.

Dunn was over limit when crash occurred

Jackass’s Ryan Dunn, who died in a car crash earlier this week, was confirmed as over the legal blood alcohol limit when the accident occurred. Both Dunn and his passenger Zachary Hartwell were killed instantly.


Most watched

  1. One News: 724,240 (TV ONE, 6:00pm – 7:00pm)
  2. Shortland Street: 574,880 (TV2, 7:00pm – 7:35pm)
  3. Coronation Street: 556,250 (TV ONE, 7:30pm – 8:30pm)
  4. Close Up: 486,270 (TV ONE, 7:00pm – 7:30pm)
  5. 3 News: 433,710 (TV3, 6:00pm – 7:00pm)

Most watched evening (7.30pm – 11pm)

  1. Coronation Street: 556,250 (TV ONE, 7:30pm – 8:30pm)
  2. Grey’s Anatomy: 386,370 (TV2, 8:30pm – 9:35pm)
  3. My Kitchen Rules: 385,150 (TV2, 7:35pm – 8:30pm)
  4. What’s Really In Our Food?: 359,620 (TV3, 7:30pm – 8:00pm)
  5. Downton Abbey: 320,800 (PRIME, 8:35pm – 9:55pm)

Most watched daytime (9am – 5pm)

  1. ONE News Midday: 127,670 (TV ONE, 12:00pm – 12:30pm)
  2. Emmerdale: 108,750 (TV ONE, 12:30pm – 1:30pm)
  3. Good Morning: 102,030 (TV ONE, 9:00am – 12:00pm)
  4. ONE News 4:30: 96,680 (TV ONE, 4:30pm – 4:55pm)
  5. The Erin Simpson Show: 87,650 (TV2, 4:00pm – 4:00pm)

Most watched on TV ONE

  1. One News: 724,240 (6:00pm – 7:00pm)
  2. Coronation Street: 556,250 (7:30pm – 8:30pm)
  3. Close Up: 486,270 (7:00pm – 7:30pm)
  4. Undercover Boss: 308,050 (8:30pm – 9:30pm)
  5. Tonight: 232,030 (10:35pm – 11:05pm)

Most watched on TV2

  1. Shortland Street: 574,880 (7:00pm – 7:35pm)
  2. Grey’s Anatomy: 386,370 (8:30pm – 9:35pm)
  3. My Kitchen Rules: 385,150 (7:35pm – 8:30pm)
  4. Private Practice: 277,540 (9:35pm – 10:35pm)
  5. F.R.I.E.N.D.S: 182,920 (6:30pm – 7:00pm)

Most watched on TV3

  1. 3 News: 433,710 (6:00pm – 7:00pm)
  2. What’s Really In Our Food?: 359,620 (7:30pm – 8:00pm)
  3. Campbell Live: 312,580 (7:00pm – 7:30pm)
  4. Australian Federal Police Fron: 280,660 (8:00pm – 8:30pm)
  5. Home and Away: 269,580 (5:30pm – 6:00pm)

Most watched on FOUR

  1. Idiocracy: 127,820 (8:30pm – 10:25pm)
  2. The Simpsons: 105,200 (7:00pm – 7:30pm)
  3. Malcolm In The Middle: 79,100 (6:00pm – 6:30pm)
  4. That ’70s Show: 61,190 (6:30pm – 7:00pm)
  5. Beauty and the Geek: 61,050 (7:30pm – 8:30pm)

Most watched on PRIME

  1. Downton Abbey: 320,800 (8:35pm – 9:55pm)
  2. Prime Evening News: 172,040 (5:30pm – 6:00pm)
  3. QI: 111,610 (9:55pm – 10:30pm)
  4. The Great British Bake-Off: 79,910 (7:30pm – 8:30pm)
  5. Deal or No Deal: 77,790 (6:00pm – 6:30pm)

Most watched on the BOX

  1. C.S.I: 35,570 (8:30pm – 9:30pm)
  2. C.S.I: 29,730 (9:30pm – 10:30pm)

Most watched on SKY Sport 1

  1. Reunion: 34,180 (8:30pm – 9:30pm)

Head to head

  • Breakfast (6:30am – 6:55am): 84,450
  • Breakfast (7:00am – 7:55am): 119,040
  • Breakfast (8:00am – 9:00am): 138,750
  • 3 News Firstline (6:00am – 6:30am): 28,080
  • 3 News Firstline (6:30am – 7:00am): 29,480
  • 3 News Firstline (7:00am – 8:00am): 32,940
  • 3 News Firstline (8:00am – 8:30am): 27,420
  • AMP Business (6:00am – 6:30am): 44,070
  • ONE News Midday (12:00pm – 12:30pm): 127,670
  • 3 News at 12 (12:00pm – 12:30pm): 31,820
  • One News (6:00pm – 7:00pm): 724,240
  • 3 News (6:00pm – 7:00pm): 433,710
  • Close Up (7:00pm – 7:30pm): 486,270
  • Campbell Live (7:00pm – 7:30pm): 312,580
  • Tonight (10:35pm – 11:05pm): 232,030
  • Nightline (10:30pm – 11:05pm): 142,510

Biggest increases (previous week)

  1. Scrubs: TV2 147010 – up from 95860 (10:35pm – 11:00pm)
  2. Millionaire Hot Seat: PRIME 74280 – up from 25470 (7:00pm – 7:30pm)
  3. Private Practice: TV2 277540 – up from 234130 (9:35pm – 10:35pm)
  4. Grey’s Anatomy: TV2 386370 – up from 354080 (8:30pm – 9:35pm)
  5. Deal or No Deal: PRIME 77790 – up from 47190 (6:00pm – 6:30pm)

Biggest decreases (previous week)

  1. Close Up: TV ONE 486270 – down from 605680 (7:00pm – 7:30pm)
  2. Breakfast: TV ONE 119040 – down from 172890 (7:00am – 7:55am)
  3. One News: TV ONE 724240 – down from 777270 (6:00pm – 7:00pm)
  4. Coronation Street: TV ONE 556250 – down from 601570 (7:30pm – 8:30pm)
  5. Tonight: TV ONE 232030 – down from 274900 (10:35pm – 11:05pm)


  1. Blood Brothers: TV3 (8:30pm – 10:30pm)
  2. Downton Abbey: PRIME (8:35pm – 9:55pm)
  3. QI: PRIME (9:55pm – 10:30pm)
  4. Nightline: TV3 (10:30pm – 11:05pm)

Channel Share (All Day)

  • TV ONE: 27.1%
  • SKY Network: 26.1%
  • TV2: 17.4%
  • TV3: 14.6%
  • PRIME: 6.7%
  • FOUR: 4.8%
  • Other TV Channels: 2.2%
  • Maori TV: 0.4%

Source: Nielsen Television Audience Measurement, All 5+

The Nation presenter Sean Plunket this week travelled to Fiji to interview the country’s controversial Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed- Khaiyum.

Fugitive former army colonel, Tevita Mara, claims Mr Sayed-Khaiyum is the real power in Fiji and Colonel Frank Bainimarama, the Prime Minister, is simply his puppet.

In the interview Mr Sayed-Khaiyum repeatedly maintains Fiji is committed to elections in 2014 but says the country is not yet ready to remove its Emergency Decree which allows Colonel Bainimarama and his former military colleagues to rule by decree.

The Nation – Fiji Exclusive, screening on Saturday, June 25 at 10:30am and Sunday, June 26 at 8am on 3.

Maori Television today announced two key appointments to its Executive team.

Veteran television broadcaster CAROL HIRSCHFELD (Ngāti Porou) will be promoted to the newly created position of General Manager Production and former TVNZ Deputy Chief Executive STEPHEN SMITH to the newly created position of General Manager Digital.

The establishment of the two new positions are part of a company-wide reorganisation that sees Maori Television move from a traditional broadcaster infrastructure to a more fit-for-future model. Both positions report to the Chief Executive.

With almost 25 years’ experience in the television industry CAROL HIRSCHFELD has worked as a news reporter, presenter, director, producer and executive producer. Carol joined Maori Television two years ago as the Head of Programming for the Maori Television channel. Prior to her appointment, Carol was with TV3 for 11 years where she co-presented 3 News and was an executive producer of Campbell Live.

STEPHEN SMITH rose to the position of Deputy Chief Executive and Head of Content at TVNZ after 16 years before leaving in 2006 to become Head of Media Entertainment for Vodafone. Stephen was then appointed Group Head of Digital for Fairfax Media, where he had oversight for the re-launch of their websites including 

Chief Executive, Jim Mather, acknowledges the experience and skill set that Hirschfeld and Smith bring to Maori Television’s Executive team.

“Carol and Stephen bring a wealth of industry knowledge to their new roles. These are significant appointments for Maori Television and will add further leadership depth and expertise to our organisation. Both bring with them a personal commitment to Maori Television’s kaupapa to revitalise Māori language and culture through our broadcast and online content,” he said.

The reorganisation, which comes into effect on 1 July, accommodates the implementation of Maori Television’s digital strategy and the further development of the Te Reo channel.

FRANCE 24 has signed a new distribution agreement with SKY NEW ZEALAND, the leading satellite operator in New Zealand.

FRANCE 24 is an international news channel broadcast 24/7 in English and French and will bring you the latest news every half hour.  FRANCE 24 will give viewers in-depth analysis of current affairs across the globe through interviews and debates. The economy, investigative reports, technology, culture and weather forecasts complete the programme schedule.

Starting July 1st, FRANCE 24, French and English versions, will be available throughout New Zealand on channels 100 (English language) and 101 (French language).

With 800 000 subscribers and a penetration rate of 50% across New Zealand, SKY will distribute FRANCE 24 English version as part of the Basic SKY package on channel 100, whilst the French version will be available on channel 101 as part of a premium offer for 7 NZD per month.

“This agreement with SKY confirms our ambition to ensure that all countries in the Asia Pacific zone can get FRANCE 24 as easily and as widely as possible. What is more, it means that all those who are going to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup will be able to follow FRANCE 24 in two languages,” said Brice Bertrand, Distribution Director Asia Pacific.

“We are delighted to be able to expand SKY’s already extensive news channels to include France 24. Having the Francais version of the channel will certainly appeal to those fluent or aspiring French language speakers.  With ten news channels now on offer SKY has a news offering with the perspective for all tastes’, said Kirsty Way, Corporate Communications, SKY Television.


One of Rachel’s other projects made the front page of the NZ Herald this morning. 

Twenty-four thousand young people have disconcerting news for the All
Blacks – they predict the team will make the Rugby World Cup final, but
won’t take the trophy.

The sobering assessment – of which we couldn’t possibly use the word
‘choke’ – has emerged from the online educational survey CensusAtSchool,
which ran from May 2-June 10 in schools from Kaitaia to Invercargill,
involving students aged 8 to 17.

A total of 83% of the students predicted the All Blacks would make the final on October 23, but just 41% thought they would win.

This is in stark contrast to their parents, who are decidedly more
optimistic. A New Zealand Herald/Digipoll survey in January found that
70% of a general sample of adults thought the All Blacks would triumph. A
UMR poll in April, which surveyed confirmed adult rugby fans, found 77%
confident the All Blacks would win.

“The students’ results were a bit of a surprise,” says CensusAtSchool
co-director Rachel Cunliffe, a University of Auckland-trained

“We had expected that as children and young people are often such
ardent rugby fans, they’d be talking the All Blacks right up.” The
students’ verdict was also remarkably consistent across geographical
areas, age and sex, says Cunliffe.

Of the 83% who think the All Blacks will make the final, 35% are picking South Africa to be the opponent and 30% Australia.

Of the 41% predicting an All Black win, 25% thought there would be a winning margin of under 5 points.

CensusAtSchool is hosted by the Department of Statistics at the
University of Auckland in association with Statistics New Zealand and
the Ministry of Education. This is the fifth time New Zealand has held
CensusAtSchool, which is also run in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Japan,
South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. The countries
share some questions so comparisons can be made, but the rest reflect
New Zealand students’ interests.

Students were supervised by their teachers in class as they answered
31 online questions about themselves in English or Māori. Some questions
required some practical weighing and measuring skills such as their
arm-span measurement and the weight of their schoolbags. Others sought
opinions, like their favourite subject and television programme.

“CensusAtSchool is about showing in a practical and real-life way the
value of statistics in everyday life,” says Cunliffe. “The data is now
being analysed, and will be sent back to schools so students and
teachers can analyse it together, which provides more learning

“CensusAtSchool allows students to get a unique view of themselves –
and we all get insights into New Zealand childhoods that we couldn’t get
in any other way.”

Further CensusAtSchool insights will be released in coming weeks as data is analysed, says Cunliffe.

Interestingly enough, the NZ Herald’s new poll only has 45% of respondents picking the All Blacks to win the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

I wonder what the other channels will be putting up for viewers once the finals kick off.  TV2 and Prime could fare quite well…


Rumours are circulating that two of the top jobs at the BSA have
been vacated.

Of course, if this is confirmed, the news will surely put a smile
on Henry’s face.

The former Breakfast presenter has never kept his opinion of the
BSA quiet, recently labelling their ruling on his Sheila Dikshit comments as
“a ludicrous decision made by ridiculous people”.

Watch Henry’s recent 60 Minutes interview here.