TVNZ 7 will end in June 2012 when its funding runs out. This will make NZ the only developed country without a Public Service Broadcaster, but it doesn't have to be this way

New Zealand’s only dedicated public service television channel, TVNZ 7, will cease in 2012. The government has chosen to discontinue it’s funding. This will make New Zealand the only developed country in the world with no public service TV channel for all citizens. Australia has five dedicated public service TV channels. Many developing nations do too – even the tiny nation of Botswana.

Yet TVNZ 7 is actually very popular and growing weekly. This year the channel nearly doubled its viewership. It achieved 1.4 million viewers in October compared to 663,300 twelve months ago. That’s happened without programme listings in magazines or newspapers and with very little marketing and publicity.

The facts contradict Government reasons for closing TVNZ 7 - that the channel rates poorly. It’s growing for the same reasons that RNZ National is our most popular radio station: Kiwis love public service broadcasting.

It’s Not Just About One Channel

The abolition of TVNZ 7 might not matter so much if there was any other public service television channel in New Zealand. There isn’t. Maori TV targets 10% of the population, Stratos is access-TV only, and our national broadcaster, TVNZ is now a fully commercial entity. It’s been instructed by Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman to return a profit, whatever it takes. Therefore TVNZ now wants NZ On Air to fund more commercial programming, to help TVNZ make that profit.

The Dollars: it’s Good Value

It cost New Zealand taxpayers $79 million to establish TVNZ 6 & 7 only 4 years ago. TVNZ 6 has already gone. Keeping TVNZ 7 would cost only $16.25 million a year, that’s 1 cent per Kiwi per day. It’s not much when you consider the $43 million the Government loaned to bail out Mediaworks.

The Save TVNZ 7 Campaign

Fans have rallied to save the channel. Members on Facebook, and signatories to the online petition (www.savetvnz7.co.nz) comprise thousands of Kiwis passionate about TVNZ 7.

We believe New Zealanders deserve public service TV that informs and entertains without simplifying and dumbing-down its programmes. We need high-quality, intelligent programming that aims to do more than just pull in advertising revenue. Kiwis want public discussion, information and entertainment that extends beyond crime and celebrity.

(Myles Thomas is Campaign Co-ordinator of Save TVNZ 7)

Comments (4)

by Tim Watkin on November 03, 2011
Tim Watkin

Damian and Wallace will be gutted to learn they're not celebrities! Joking... Having been to the Backbenches Auckland Central special last night, with a heaving crowd at the Britomart Country Club, it was great to see some passion politics and people engaging in lively debate (and lively TV).

Even if I didn't work with these people, I'd be gutted to lose such a programme.

by Phil Stewart on November 03, 2011
Phil Stewart

That episode of Backbenches was brilliant, and an outstanding example of what we'll lose when TVNZ7 is starved of oxygen next year. There were four bright candidates, excellent debaters all, in a good old-fashioned election stoush where we actually got to hear something useful. Good on Damian and Wallace - they played a blinder. This was far removed from the over-processed leaders' debate on TV1 with its unhelpful analysis. Could we persuade Phil to make that "hole" in the accounts $14.01bn?

by Dan Knox on November 03, 2011
Dan Knox

I have been trying to get my fill of TVNZ 7 while I can. It is the only channel which consistantly provides stimulating material. Oh well I think I will consol myself by buying a new GHD.

by Jake Morrison on November 08, 2011
Jake Morrison

'The government has chosen to discontinue it’s funding.'

Wait, what? It IS funding? Great news!

Post new comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.