Last month John Drinnan at The Herald wrote:
TV3 ratings slide: ‘These are challenging times’
TV3 news and current affairs director Mark Jennings is putting a brave face on a ratings slide for 3 News against One News, saying “these are challenging times for us”.
Nielsen TAM ratings show a big slide since January last year, when the two news shows were nearly level-pegging. Today, TVNZ says the gap between them is the widest it has been for 10 years.
On Tuesday, One News attracted 42.1 per cent of the 25-54-year-old audience and 3 News had 14.8 per cent, says TVNZ. …
So what’s going wrong?
Jennings is correct that the slide at 3 News is partly the result of a poor 5.30pm lead-in to the news. But in my opinion, a dramatic fall over many months is caused by more than that. The shift to TVNZ is also about more people recognising a dual-personality element at TV3, which does break news stories but sometimes embarks on tabloid coverage and personalised rants.
“Tabloid coverage and personalised rants” is a polite way of saying “Patrick Gower”, in short Drinnan is suggesting that Gower is driving viewers away from 3 News. I was reminded of this by an exchange on Twitter yesterday:
What's happened to @patrickgowernz – used to be the guy to chase. But nowhere on the Saudi issue?
— Fran O'Sullivan (@FranOSullivan) August 18, 2015
@FranOSullivan he told me he believes in trade so doesn't think it is in NZ's interest to follow story too aggressively
— Matthew Hooton (@MatthewHootonNZ) August 18, 2015
The discussion that follows under each of those tweets is interesting, and highly critical of Gower choosing to give the Nats an easy ride on a major scandal (Gower has not so far denied this). Seems like Hosking is not the only journalist attracting attention for his obvious pro-National bias.