TVNZ commercially disadvantaged by party broadcasts

TVNZ wants an end to its obligation to broadcast political party opening and closing addresses.

State-owned broadcaster Television New Zealand wants to ditch its legislated obligation to provide an advertising platform in the lead-up to a general election, saying the low-rating broadcasts go against its new remit to act as a commercially successful company.

The broadcaster says the opening and closing addresses for the 2011 general election attracted significantly lower ratings than the corresponding nights a year earlier, with total audience across the three nights an average 20 percent lower.

“This places TVNZ at a serious commercial disadvantage to its competitors,” TVNZ general counsel Brent McAnulty said in a written submission to Parliament’s justice and electoral select committee, which is holding an inquiry into the 2011 general election.

“As a wholly commercial operator, the Part 6 obligations (of the Broadcasting Act) are no longer appropriate, and do not reflect a level playing field,” he said.

Who can blame the company?

If I wasn’t a political tragic I doubt if I’d have watched any of the party openings last year and had I started I doubt if I ‘d have kept watching to the end.

The legislation which sets out TVNZ’s obligation is out of date.

An SOE which is required to make a profit should not also be required to broadcast anything, let alone something which commercially disadvantages it.

4 Responses to TVNZ commercially disadvantaged by party broadcasts

  1. TVNZ isn’t required to offer time on TV1. They should have offered time, perhaps substantially more, on TVNZ7.


  2. homepaddock says:

    Graeme – The income forgone would have been considerably less on TVNZ7, although given how few people watch that channel it might increased viewer numbers.

    But the principle remains – if the comapny has to act like a commercial one and make a profit it shouldn’t be directed to screen party political broadcasts.


  3. TVNZ receives no income from TVNZ7. It is entirely non-commercial. By negating the need to buy in something, it may well have saved money.

    Also, I note that prior to the broadcasts TVNZ noted that they were airing them out of their commitment to democracy (or something like that), are you accusing them of lying 🙂


  4. homepaddock says:

    THanks for the clarification on 7’s funding. Definitely not accusing anyone of lying – but suggest the company’s commitment to democracy might not be as strong now it’s worked out the cost:)


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