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It’s all about the content

It’s all about the content

Posted by Clare Curran on September 26th, 2011

Any discussion about the future of NZ’s media has to be about the stuff it produces. Not just about the networks or channels that transmit it.

NZ content needs a boost. Our local industry is generally talented, whether it be screen production, journalism, current affairs, writers, producers. But it’s generally not thriving and energetic It feels tired and struggling against a tide of advertising-driven content. Much of it purchased cheaply from offshore to fill our screens. Journalists struggle to meet the increasing demands of multi-media and multiple deadlines with diminishing staff in many newsrooms.

Public funding for broadcasting is shrinking. It’s simply not considered important by this government. The commercial broadcasters are fighting for more dominance. And the consumer is losing.

Had a really interesting discussion today with a respected prominent figure in NZ (based) media. He said Jonathan Coleman should resign for accepting TVNZ’s recent Statement of Intent (SOI).

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Did Jonathan Coleman sign off the TVNZ SOI?

Posted by Clare Curran on September 27th, 2011

Jonathan Coleman has been insisting for months that National’s commitment to public broadcasting lies in in NZ On Air’s contestable funding model. National MP Nikki Kaye parroted this in a recent column in the NZ Herald:

We believe that quality and diversity in local content is best provided through contestable funding which promotes competition for quality, content diversity and the availability of programming across multiple channels and platforms.

In the past year, more than $81 million of contestable funding was made available through NZ On Air for locally made television. The Platinum Fund, which was launched in 2009, provides $15 million in contestable funding for New Zealand television content. This funding gives priority to high-end drama, current affairs, documentaries and special event programming – material that is generally considered to be public broadcasting programming.

TVNZ’s recent Statement of Intent (SOI) for the next 3 years tells a different story. It might be a commercial channel now, but it’s still the state owned broadcaster. An SOI is technically a contract between the broadcaster and shareholder. Presumably Coleman signs it off. If he did, then he has endorsed what runs counter to his public position on public broadcasting; quality content. The SOI says:

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