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TV's Christmas hype will put families in the red

Television's Christmas hype will put families in the red

Alliance Party broadcasting spokesperson Sarah Campbell says Christmas is a time when the commercial nature of New Zealand television is more blatant than ever.

Ms Campbell says the holiday period sees the media acting as Santa's advertising mouthpiece, pushing consumerism onto the public by live coverage of shopping frenzies, and presenting "news" as an extended ad break.

"The sad fact is many families will be harrassed into overspending and debt this Christmas. There is constant pressure to spend up large, take a loan and buy now."

Ms Campbell says the Alliance wants to break the grip of commercial 'idiot box' television, and supports a totally commercial free, quality channel for all New Zealanders.

She says that it is unlikely that New Zealand viewers will learn much from television this Christmas about the sweatshop workers who produce the disposable goods flooding into the country.

"As a State Owned Enterprise, TVNZ is dedicated to making money – this will always influence programming, and cannot be separated from content, and shows that Labour and National are both birds of a feather when it comes to broadcasting."

Ms Campbell says the commercial influence on television programming is limiting diversity.

If a show cannot attract premium viewers – big spenders – it will not attract the advertising needed for prime time airplay, she says.

"Rather than providing free choice, the corporate system is destroying the potential of television as a genuinely valuable cultural and educational medium."

When advertising rules programming, the viewers attention is being bought and sold by big business, and entertainment has become little more than the delivery system for high pressure Christmas sales pitches.

A decent, public funded television channel could provide a diverse range of programming free of control by advertising, says Ms Campbell.

"While we enjoy ad free days this festive season, we should remember that commercial free television is a possibility all year round. "

"We have National Radio, and we could use this model for a television channel as well."

The Alliance supports the establishment of a television channel free of advertising and commercial influences.


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