Monday, April 15, 2024

John MacDonald: Good night kiwi: can TV be rescued?

It happens all the time in New Zealand, doesn't it? Something goes pear-shaped and people start banging-on about the Government needing to step-in and do something.

And the banging-on is loud in relation to the job losses confirmed by Warner Brothers Discovery and TVNZ.

Newshub is closing, as proposed. And TVNZ is ditching the Sunday programme, as proposed. As well as other bulletins and the much-loved Fair Go programme.

You might have heard Newshub’s Paddy Gower on Newstalk ZB. One of the things he was saying the Government could do, is stop charging transmission fees.

Kordia is the state-owned enterprise which broadcasting companies pay money to, to transmit their programmes around the country.

But, as far as I can make out, that is the only tangible, realistic thing the Government could do, and I don’t think that is enough to warrant any government intervention. Any why’s that? Because I think it would be a band-aid.

The social media companies are in the gun too, for taking content produced and created by media companies in New Zealand for free and making money out of it.

Other countries have tried to sort that mess out and have failed. Because the social media giants are just that - they’re giants, and they don’t give a damn. And they’re going to keep on taking our news content and making money out of it.

But bring-in Media and Communications Minister Melissa Lee. She was saying this morning that maybe little old New Zealand could do what has never been done anywhere else in the world.

She was talking nonsense of course. Because that’s never going to happen. Never.

I’m pretty sure she didn’t say anything about the idea of ditching the transmission fees to try and make TV news more sustainable. Maybe because that could be one of the things she’s floating in her Cabinet paper, which she can’t talk about. For a couple of reasons.

One: it hasn’t been to Cabinet yet, so of course she can’t talk about it.

And two: it hasn’t been to Cabinet yet because Winston Peters is out of the country thumping the table at the United Nations in New York and nothing can go to Cabinet until he’s seen it and has had a chance to make changes, kick it for touch, or whatever.

So, I’m not going to say I feel sorry for Melissa Lee for the pressure she’s getting from the TV and news people, because I don’t think she’s done herself any favours in the way she’s handled all this.

She was quick to trot out the empathy line when she was on this morning. That was probably a few weeks too late.

So, I’m not going to say we need to give the minister a break. But I am going to say that we need to calm the farm a bit here.

Yes, there is an uneven playing field with the way Facebook and all those outfits just come in and take content and do what they like with it, without paying anything. But that’s nothing new.

And yes, I hope the Government does do something to sort that out.

And yes, it is incredible to think that the likes of the Sunday program and Fair Go —let alone the whole Newshub operation— are going to be history very soon.

And yes, I am gutted for those hundreds of people who are going to be out of work very soon. Who wouldn’t be?

But this is not a national crisis. I know some people are saying as much, but it’s not. And yes, the media is critical to holding the powerful to account and all of that. You’re not going to get any argument from me on that one.

So, a lot of yeses there. But where the “no” comes into it —as far as I’m concerned— is this idea that, because commercial TV operations are struggling, the Government needs to rush in and fix it.

The Government can do some tweaks, sure, but it’s not going to fix it. It’s never going to fix it. And, as our current government would tell you, it is the market that decides. And the market has decided that we are not a place that can sustain the amount of TV we have had, up until now.

John MacDonald is the Canterbury Mornings host on Newstalk ZB Christchurch. - where this article was sourced

1 comment:

mudbayripper said...

The MSM has for year's been fixated with itself and its far left ideologies.
It was just a matter of time before the New Zealand public became wise to its destructive agenda.
As far as I'm concerned and I believe I speak for many. Good riddance to the lot of them.