Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


High Time the Government Announced Public Media Blueprint

Better Public Media cautiously welcomes the news that Cabinet has agreed in principle to back the continued planning for a new public service media entity encompassing RNZ and TVNZ.

What is missing so far is greater public input to the decision-making process.

The following can be attributed to Peter Thompson – Chair of Better Public Media Trust and Associate Professor in Media and Communication at Victoria University of Wellington.

This week’s report from RNZ suggests that Cabinet is rightly concerned to ensure that public service principles are not overshadowed by commercial imperatives, and this is crucial if the new entity is to combine RNZ’s public service with the commercial operations of TVNZ.

However, the continuing lack of transparency over the precise shape and structure of the proposed new entity remains a concern, as does the question over how any public funding arrangements can be structured to ensure that public service principles are insulated from commercial pressure.

Once a media operator starts factoring ratings and revenue into every commissioning and scheduling decision, the incentive to provide programming that appeals primarily to minorities or takes a commercial risk is inevitably diluted. RNZ therefore needs to remain non-commercial.

The key questions here are whether, and how far TVNZ’s operations might be de-commercialised. Removing the advertising from TV One would cost at least $150m annually. It is more likely that the government envisages some sort of partial de-commercialisation of one or both channels. This raises other complexities.

New Zealand’s previous experiment with a hybrid funding model was the much-maligned TVNZ Charter. Between 2003-2008, the Charter funding provided $15m per year. But at less than 5% of TVNZ’s operational revenues (before dividends) this was never going to be sufficient to off-set the commercial pressures.

The lesson that must be taken from this is that while a Charter can provide an important statement of direction, public funding needs to be proportional to public service expectations. Exactly how much is needed to deliver the intended outcomes, and the possible mechanisms for sourcing and delivering the funding, need to be considered when Cabinet review the business plan.

Moreover, if there is to be hybrid funding of the new entity, the commercial broadcasting sector will raise questions over whether publicly-funded programming is competing unfairly for audiences and ad-revenue, thus distorting the market. There are different ways of mitigating against this which need to be debated, for example;

a. Making any directly-funded public channel ineligible for NZ On Air’s contestable funding (this was the arrangement for the ill-fated TVNZ6 and TVNZ7).
b. Restricting advertising during the schedule when any directly-funded programme is broadcast.
c. Making publicly-funded content available to other media (as with RNZ’s current content-sharing model).

It is positive that the government has recognised that public service media remains a vital component of the digital media ecology, but it is high time the government announced its blueprint for the new public media entity, and sought public feedback to ensure the best outcome and informed debate before the 2020 election.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Politics Of Using The Word “Fascist”

“Fascist” is one of those labels with the ability to capsize any debate. Call your opponents “fascists” – or “agitators” or “terrorists” or “scum” and you’ve taken the option of mutual respect and compromise off the table. Interesting then to see the ( paywalled) Washington Post seriously debating with itself yesterday over whether… Hmm, is it now finally time to bring out the f-word in connection with the presidency of Donald J. Trump, and with his enablers in the Republican Party..? More>>


RNZ: Covid-19 rules and restrictions on businesses to be lifted under alert level 1

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says there will still be strict controls on the border, but all current rules and restrictions on businesses and services will be "essentially lifted" under alert level 1.
She said the lower alert level would also put an end to restrictions for hospitality businesses, and gatherings - including funerals and tangihanga - of any size could take place..... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Twitter Wars, And The Muller Muddles

Whatever the failings of our own politicians, spare a kind thought for the majority of Americans who did not vote for Donald Trump. Sure, it was depressing this week to watch Todd Muller clinging for dear life to his talking points on Q&A, ... More>>


Green Party: Statement On The Death Of George Floyd

“Today and every day we stand in solidarity with George Floyd’s family, friends and community who feel pain and fear about his untimely death at the hands of Minneapolis police”, said Green Party Co-leader and Māori Development spokesperson Marama ... More>>


Government: Freshwater Package Backed By Comprehensive Economic Analysis

Decisions on the Action for Healthy Waterways package are supported by comprehensive environmental and economic impact analysis by leading New Zealand research institutes, universities, and private sector firms. More>>


National: "Todd Muller Announces Shape Of Next Government"

National Party Leader Todd Muller has announced the line-up of the next Government. “New Zealand is facing perhaps the toughest time that almost anyone alive can remember. “We are borrowing tens of billions of dollars to get us through this crisis. There ... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On National’s Day Of Reckoning

Congratulations. You are one of the 55 members of the National caucus being called together tomorrow to choose who will lead you to either (a) catastrophic or (b) honourable defeat on September 19, thereby saving some (but not all) of the jobs currently on the line. Good luck. Your decision process starts NOW... More>>


Budget 2020: Jobs Budget To Get Economy Moving Again

Investments to both save and create jobs in Budget 2020 mean unemployment can be back to pre COVID-19 levels within two years and could see the economy growing again as early as next year. More>>


Government: Five New Super Hercules To Join Air Force Fleet

The Coalition Government has confirmed five Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules transport aircraft will be purchased to replace the existing fleet, Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. More>>


Government: Queen's Birthday Honours List 2020

The New Zealand Order of Merit The Queen has been pleased, on the occasion of the celebration of Her Majesty's Birthday, to make the following appointments to The New Zealand Order of Merit: DNZM To be Dames Companion of the said Order: Distinguished ... More>>

Government: Support For Arts And Music Sector Recovery

A jobseekers programme for the creative sector and four new funds have been set up by the Government to help our arts and music industry recover from the blow of COVID-19. Thousands of jobs will be supported through today’s $175 million package ... More>>


Government: New Zealand Joins Global Search For COVID-19 Vaccine

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods, and Health Minister David Clark today announced a COVID-19 vaccine strategy, which will enable New Zealand scientists to contribute to global research efforts ... More>>


The Dig: Steady State Economics: We’ve Got Some (systems) Thinking To Do

In this time of impending economic and ecological crises, we urgently need to aim for a sustainable or ‘steady state’ economy. In order to get there, we will need to adopt a ‘systems-thinking’ outlook taking into account the interconnections of our complex world.

In short, we’ve got some systems thinking to do... More>>


Election 2020: Parties Get Into gear

The Green Party is pleased to reveal its candidate list for the upcoming election. With a mix of familiar faces and fresh new talent, this exceptional group of candidates are ready to lead the Greens back into Government. Using the most democratic list ... More>>


Insight Into Regenerative Agriculture In New Zealand

There is a fast growing movement in New Zealand that has been happening out in paddocks, fields, gardens and hill country across the nation. It is a movement that holds the promise to reshape our productive land use industries towards systems that work with the natural environment to regenerate the land. The movement is that of regenerative agriculture. More>>


Covid-19: Tracer App Released To Support Contact Tracing

The Ministry of Health has today formally released the NZ COVID Tracer app to support contact tracing in New Zealand. Kiwis who download the app will create a digital diary of the places they visit by scanning QR codes displayed at the entrances to ... More>>


Govt: Deep Concern At Hong Kong National Security Legislation
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today reiterated the deep concern of the New Zealand Government following confirmation by China’s National People’s Congress of national security legislation relating to Hong Kong.... More>>






InfoPages News Channels