Taxpayer-funded RNZ is running an advertising campaign which doesn’t tell the whole truth:
The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is slamming Radio New Zealand’s use of taxpayer money for misleading advertising suggesting New Zealanders do not have to pay for its content, unlike other media organisations.
Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Jordan Williams says, “The idea that we don’t pay for RNZ is ridiculous. Unlike other media organisations, all New Zealanders are forced to pay for RNZ.”
“Private platforms also present a much more diverse range of views and perspectives.”
“In addition to being dishonest, RNZ’s advertising is an underarm bowl to those private media organisations, many of which are kneecapped by the state subsides for RNZ and TVNZ.”
Example of RNZ online advertising:
We’re all paying for that premium content through our taxes whether or not we listen to it.
Galling as these advertisements are to taxpayers, they’re worse still for those with which the state broadcaster competes:
Stuff recently campaigned on the value of journalism.
Billboards, bus backs, paid social posts – it was everywhere. RNZ drove its message so hard it even featured in a digital display in Stuff’s own lobby. Trolling maybe?
The message was right, but only in part. RNZ doesn’t run ads. RNZ doesn’t have paid subscriptions for its content.
This, though, is only because it doesn’t need to.
You already pay for its content through your taxes, so its journalism doesn’t need to be either ad-funded, like ours is, or supplemented through a paid content model like, say, the NZ Herald.
- Commercial media make money through ads and subscriptions, which they then use to pay for public interest journalism.
- Public media are Government-funded to pay for public interest journalism.
But, like newsrooms the world over, the advertising and subscription revenues commercial media once thrived on no longer sustain the number of journalists we once could. As audiences have shifted from newspapers to websites, so have advertising dollars. But the slice of the pie left for news organisations is tiny after the giant global platforms like Google and Facebook take their share.
In short, funding journalism, especially in regional New Zealand, has become increasingly hard. The pursuit of a new, sustainable business model to support journalism is something that is common across competitors; one galvanising connection that brings us all together. . .
Plurality of journalistic voices is deemed in the public interest. RNZ is chartered to serve that public interest. It is its purpose to serve an audience, not to compete for audiences; audiences which in one way or another are needed to fund the great journalism created by many organisations and many companies across New Zealand each and every day.
Journalism and mainstream media are under threat from digital platforms and social media.
Struggling businesses don’t need the taxpayer-funded outlet which competes with them.
The unfair competition from the state-owned Landcorp has been a bone of contention for farmers but at least it hasn’t run a campaign putting down private sector competitors the way RNZ is. That it’s doing it with what isn’t the whole truth makes it worse.