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The legislation which sets out TVNZ’s obligation is out of date.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