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It’s the end of main stream media as we know it …

Written By: - Date published: 8:57 am, April 3rd, 2020 - 63 comments
Categories: Economy, Globalisation, grant robertson, International, jacinda ardern, Media, The Standard, uncategorized - Tags: , ,

Media companies are under real siege.  When 30% of businesses are facing extinction media advertising is the first expense they are going to cut.  Media companies that are just hanging in there will fold. Nothing is clearer.

This post started off a couple of days ago as a rant against Mike Hosking.

I won’t link to the offending article.  Trash like this should not be rewarded with clicks.  But this is essentially he said, the Government, in yet another example of how this whole thing is highly political, is controlling the Corvid-19 messages you hear on any given day.  And that Jacinda Ardern was running a very fine line between being an actual leader with decisive decision-making powers, and a TV and radio presenter with lots of time for Facebook Lives, teddies in the window, and a lot of touchy-feely be kind to each other.

The claim was crazy.  We are not in a socialist take over of the country using the pretext of a condition no worse than the common flu.  We are in a crisis.  Our health system faces the prospect of being overwhelmed and many deaths occurring.

And Jacinda’s leadership has been superb. Any time a Labour leader gets praise from the likes of John Key and Matthew Hooton you know she is doing well.

I wanted to do a detailed analysis of what Hosking had said over time because it seemed to me that he has been all over the place on the issue.  Thankfully Mediawatch’s Hayden Donnell did the job for me and came up with these pearlers of examples of Hosking’s reckons over the past month:

Donnell’s conclusion is excoriating.

Strangely, Hosking doesn’t appear to have acknowledged his views have changed over the course of the month, and might not even know they have. It’s possible he exists in an eternal present where the past is eradicated every morning, just in time for Mike’s Minute to begin. 

Another possibility is that Hosking is more concerned with criticising the government than being consistent. That kind of oppositionality can have its place. But it’s arguably not appropriate during a public health crisis where getting people timely, accurate information can save lives. 

One of Newstalk ZB’s promotions for Hosking’s show reads ‘the vital news you need to know, here and now’. It would be nice if it lived up to that promise – at least for the length of the Covid-19 crisis.

But it seems that the problem is that Hosking’s behaviour works in financial terms. At least up to now.

Yesterday was another remarkable day.

Bauer Media closed all of its New Zealand magazines, and in one action took out pretty well every major magazine publication the country has. Suddenly Metro, North & South, Woman’s Day, NZ Woman’s Weekly were no more with their future depending on other interests stepping up and buying them.

The closure has attracted some finger pointing. Tova O’Brien has claimed the Government turned down a request for help. But Kris Faafoi has confirmed that the employer wage subsidy was offered to Bauer but refused.

From Duncan Grieve at the Spinoff quoting Jacinda Ardern:

What I want to make really clear is the government sought to assist Bauer – minister Kris Faafoi spoke to them and asked if they would take up the wage subsidy; they refused,” Ardern said yesterday. “This appears to have been a decision made at the same time as Covid-19, not because of it… The wage subsidy could have made a difference to those writers, to those journalists, and we were very keen that Bauer take it up.”

Ardern’s claim is valid. At the same time as it was moving to close its New Zealand operation Bauer was completing steps to buy Australia’s Pacific Media, whose publications include Better Home And Gardens, marie claire, Who, New Idea and Men’s and Women’s Health.

Bauer clearly has deep pockets. O’Brien confirmed that it offered its New Zealand holdings to the Government but Robertson turned this down. Clearly the Government has more pressing issues to deal with than producing the likes of Woman’s Weekly.

The question is who will be next. And will Hosking’s exorbitant salary be reduced.

And what do we do about Facebook and Google. The case for them paying a fair amount of tax is now surely overwhelming.

But beyond that we face the prospect of our media system being unrecognisable in a year’s time.

Radio New Zealand should be fine, budget constraints depending.

Television New Zealand will survive. I am sure the Government will realise that a national television station is an essential strategic asset.

Spinoff should survive, but its reliance on corporate sponsorship will make it vulnerable.

The Herald and Stuff will be under tremendous pressure. Already some very good writers, the likes of David Slack and David Cormack have been let go. I do not like their chances.

Sky must be on its last legs. A sport free year must have it under extreme pressure. It makes you wonder what will happen to sport after things settle down. Maybe it will become a more grass roots and localised activity, something that I would be quite happy about.

And here at the Standard we should be fine. Authors have eagerly accepted an 80% cut to our salaries.

We certainly live in interesting times.

Addendum – because it is so valid …

63 comments on “It’s the end of main stream media as we know it …”

  1. Ad 1

    Minister Fa'afoi will be  under pressure to accelerate the amalgamation of TVNZ and RNZ under a single entity, to ensure that there is a Business Continuity strand to mainstream media functioning at all. 

    The shiny world in which everything newsworthy is digital may well appeal to some, but the great majority of New Zealanders still understand the world through the tv news, the radio, and to a lesser degree the newspaper. 

    Sky is one thing, but TV3 must also be getting ready to be carried out back and buried. 

  2. Carolyn_Nth 2

    And Newsroom? – set up with help from Vic and Auckland Unis, sponsors include corporations, NGOs, local councils, government agencies, tertiary institutions, donations, etc.

    Then there's Māori TV?

    And we still have Al Jazeera broadcasting free to air here, with international news and current events.

    I like fiction TV, but only access it through freeview and lightbox (currently free online TV to Spark customers). But I have a broadband datacap, so can't watch a lot online. Freeview fiction TV and movies have become pretty sparse in the last year.

    I’m reading more novels.

  3. Adrian 3

    I wonder how much money was repatriated out of NZ tax-free by Bauer as " Management Fees " and banked in a no -tax haven. This is the normal arrangement to avoid taxes and is used by the likes of resthome conglomerates and Specsavers which takes 30% of turnover as a fee and the sole principal lives in Guensey as I recall.

    Time to tax this rort.

  4. weka 4

    So sick of this shit. How about the govt nationalises NZ media owned overseas and then sells them to local companies. Only half joking.

    I'm less concerned about specific publications closing* than I am about the impact on our ability nationally to do investigative and in depth journalism. Having a diversity of MSM seems important to that, as well as having the infrastructure. I don't have a good sense of what is need though in terms of structure.

    *but then I don't read any of those from Bauer. I would be more concerned if it was The Spinoff and Newsroom closing. Or Māori media.

    • lprent 4.1

      *but then I don't read any of those from Bauer. I would be more concerned if it was The Spinoff and Newsroom closing. Or Māori media.

      Which is kind of my harsh viewpoint in my other post. They made themselves pretty irrelevant years ago.

      …than I am about the impact on our ability nationally to do investigative and in depth journalism.

      And that is really the point that needs to be made. NZ media tends to carry itself on advertising rather than subscriptions. The problem is that :-

      1. I and most people are getting intolerant of advertising. It just wastes time (try youtube).
      2. If you don't give people a chance to try before committing, then you can't market because you can't link in facebook or the social media of your choice.

       

      • Carolyn_Nth 4.1.1

        Subscription-based media really caters to the middle classes.

        Those who struggle to put food on the table and pay the rent, should also have access to good news and entertainment media.

        In a democratic society, news current events and information media should be accessible to all.

        I think there is an opportunity now for the government to make a commitment to supporting the development of quality, accessible and comprehensive public service media.

        I watch youtube – don't get many ads – maybe a video ad blocker ap I use…?

        • lprent 4.1.1.1

          Those who struggle to put food on the table and pay the rent, should also have access to good news and entertainment media.

          Yeah I'd agree in general. The key issue there is the word 'good'.  It has to be good enough to sustain support for people who are capable of paying for a subscription – otherwise why are they having to pay to produce something that they won't watch themselves.

          Subscription-based media really caters to the middle classes.

          The rush is not only by the bulk of not only the middle classes, but also anyone who has a job. 

          Given any kind of choice who with a brain wants to watch our current free-to-air TV. They're subscribing is to get away from the crap TV of blathering 'reality' shows like the bachlorette (?sp) and intermedible  cooking shows punctuated by the really stupid long ad breaks.

          $20 pw for Netflix is infinitely better than anything on our free to air channels. Sure we don't get news or current affairs because there is no subscription for those in NZ that I've found. But the moronic pap that passes for news on TV isn't worth watching at all.

          Politically the current system is a recursive fall into the pit because as anyone capable of paying $20pw for an alternative service leaving means that the political support for better free-to-air TV diminishes. Essentially why should I pay for this crap when I can't stand even looking at it.

          I think there is an opportunity now for the government to make a commitment to supporting the development of quality, accessible and comprehensive public service media.

          Sure. But even then – why go for a broadcast channel attempting to hit the whole market. Think about how you get buy in across the political spectrum.

          Realistically the only thing that I'm interested in is news and current affairs. I'm interested in content and I'm not interested in pap. Put everything into a on-demand network channels.

          NZ soaps, local game shows, and talking head morons can go where I never see them. Then it becomes worthwhile for me via taxes to help to support that other stuff as 'local' content while getting the news and current affairs that I never see now on the screen.

          Broadcast (even over free to air) then just becomes a playlist. Other outlets (including this site) can grab the content and push it into their own playlists. 

          Broadcasters really are dumb conservatives who are so in love with an antique silo distribution model. They really need to look at spotify.

          The same applies to the government funded ‘print’ media.

          • weka 4.1.1.1.1

            What are you suggesting there Lynn? An on demand service, with news/current affairs separated out from entertainment, and govt funded? With subscription models for more niche programming?

          • Carolyn_Nth 4.1.1.1.2

            Yes.  It is more for people who have jobs. And, there are ways to provide extensive quality content to the public via public service media. eg a small levy on programmes to be paid by the producers; more content online, etc.

            In a democracy, quality public service media, accessible to all, is a necessity. Peter Thompson at Vic Uni has researched this extensively, and proposes various funding models.

            And now as a retired person, in a context where rents keep escalating, and my bank savings may not be that secure in the future, I am very careful where I spend my money. There is an argument for small subscriptions giving access to a specified number of articles per month from range of publications, rather than paying separate subs to each publication.

            And living alone, I have data-capped internet – it's relatively cheaper when there's more than 1 person in a household.

            I'm more interested in drama on TV. I prefer to READ mostly about news, current events, and in depth topics.  I do record and watch Checkpoint on freeview, and sometimes watch current events on Maori TV & Al Jazeera. Ditto some specialist stuff on youtube – I've not found ads to be a problem.

            Up til the last year, it has been possible to get a reasonable amount of fairly good drama in series and movies on freeview – I record them, and avoid all that reality TV pap. Some of the best stuff has been broadcast at anti-social hours. But the quality has declined in the last year, except maybe on Maori TV.

            Sometimes there can be some good stuff on TVNZ Ondemand & Lightbox – but there's too much formulaic US TV drama. And from my limited knowledge of Netflix, the formulaic US stuff is prominent there too.

            Recently I watched the Danish TV drama "The Killing" on DVD – rental from the library.  I'm now watching the US version of it on Lightbox.  The quality is pretty good, but some things are just not as good as the original. ie.  The original Danish series included a murder investigation that implicated politicians – it mixed political and social issues with the drama. the lead detective is an idiosyncratic female detective.

            The US version has gradually diminished the political content, and reduced to being yet another drama about a serial killer preying on young women. The drama no longer focuses strongly on the female lead, but has given a much stronger prominence to the male detective.  US TV really has some pretty misogynistic streaks.

            There is also a case for making peer reviewed articles, produced by academics in public universities, available free to the general public, and not behind paywalls,  There is a certain amount of such articles available online with a library membership.

            For extensive research, I prefer reading a book reporting on it.  Again, more of such peer reviewed material should be available from libraries – possibly increasingly in e-book form.

            • In Vino 4.1.1.1.2.1

              Carolyn – as a (now semi-retired) teacher of French and German, I have always had an interest in American versions of European films. On a rare, exceptional occasion, they can make a version that is equal, or maybe better. But for the vast majority of films, the US copy is always inferior in acting, inferior in presenting important themes, and generally toned down to suit what must be their main audience – the lowest common denominator.

              • Carolyn_Nth

                In the case of The Killer, it's a cut above the usual US fare in this genre.  It does create an clear and dystopian representation of a youth street culture.  But it lacks the political depth and social breadth of the Danish original.

        • weka 4.1.1.2

          Youtube goes through phases with me for the ads. At the moment I'm getting a lot.

        • A 4.1.1.3

          Suggest you look into Skinny Jump.  Apologies if that came off like an ad…they offer 30G for $5 prepaid (free modem, no contract or credit check) for certain groups who might have difficultly accessing the internet due to cost:

          You can apply if you are one of the following:

          -A person with disability
          -A job seeker
          -Living in social housing
          -A senior
          -Families with children
          -A refugee or migrant

           

      • weka 4.1.2

        the one that bothers me is that I can't buy an online version in the same way I can a paper/magazine at the local dairy. Or I can but it's using some useless fucking format that is impossible to read and navigate.

        Just googled the Listener, can't see if they have even have an online version of each run. They've got a link to the paper sub, and some of the articles online, but that's it. It's daft.

        • In Vino 4.1.2.1

          I subscribe to the Listener largely because I have found their website hugely unfriendly and obstructive to those who wish to unsubscribe. I got fed up many years ago when the current crew skewed its editorial views to the Right.

          I also enjoy the cryptic crossword, etc.

          They have quite a good website accessible only to those who subscribe.  I think Lprent is quite right – they have reaped what they sowed when they decided to limit accessibility like that.

  5. weka 5

    Sanctuary suggesting a licence fee on internet data (per GB) as a way of funding journalism.

    • indiana 5.1

      Yay! a new tax!

      • weka 5.1.1

        I suggested that the companies pay the fee not the customers 😈

        • In Vino 5.1.1.1

          As I remember, the old TV licence tax was a lot more economical and efficient in producing a quality product than the utterly ridiculous over-costly crap we now get from allowing marketers to control the system, basing it all on advertising income.

          An utterly crap system.

          • Carolyn_Nth 5.1.1.1.1

            TV licensing worked in NZ when there were only 1 or 2 channels.

            Looking through back issues of the Listener, it's clear that for the first 10-15 years, NZ TV was very white-focused, male-dominated and middle class. There was no ratings system, so TV programmers in NZ relied on reviews and letters from the public in newspapers and The Listener.

            There's a noticeable shift in the 70s to an awareness of and engagement with Maori culture and politics, and feminism.

            The shift to ratings research of a sample of viewers, also influenced the shift towards more popular/populist TV programming.

            The digitisation and fragmentation of the media now makes a TV license unworkable. There needs to be more innovative ways to fund public service media.

  6. lprent 6

    And here at the Standard we should be fine. Authors have eagerly accepted an 80% cut to our salaries.

    Of course 80% of zero = zero. 

    The only thing that keeps this place running is that our costs are so low and everyone just pitches in whatever they want to contribute.

    Oh and snap on the Mike the dithering Moron review in MediaWatch.

    • mickysavage 6.1

      Yeah I watch him with fascination now rather than anger.  I suspect his salary will take a rather big haircut in the near future.

    • KJT 6.2

      Just don't tell us to trim our beards, until after the lockdown.

      • mickysavage 6.2.1

        Heh my beard is now 9 days old and the wife does not like it …

        • KJT 6.2.1.1

          Ha ha. I had a head start in the week before the lockdown. When I was already self isolating on the boat. Planning to have avoided people for two weeks before I went back to work, as Iflew home last time, to be positive I wasn't bringing it to my workmates.

          As I cannot go back to work now, sitting at home seeing how long it will get, before my wife has enough of sleeping next to a "Gorilla".

           

        • Barfly 6.2.1.2

          My beard is reaching "ZZ Top" status

      • Carolyn_Nth 6.2.2

        I have short air, and am now wondering when I will next get a haircut – maybe too close a transaction for comfort in the next year?

        Still, I will have online media and TS to read though the gaps in my ever-longer fringe.

      • halfcrown 6.2.3

        I am scared to grow a beard, as I am bald.  I am frightened someone would try and turn my head up the right waysmiley

        • mac1 6.2.3.1

          Is that why these young bearded Metro specimens wear cheesecutters?  I guess the bearded head-shaven bouncer types don't get touched for safety reasons…….

  7. tc 7

    "Hosking is more concerned with criticising the government than being consistent…"

    In these times ZB and a lot of the MSM model is all at sea being full of egocentric opinionators having removed the actual journos over the last few years.

  8. Ad 8

    The whole of the government will start having to ration for the whole of the state. 

    Effectively the state has taken over managing the economy by bringing it down to a fraction of what it was. 

    It will not borrow endlessly – though no one knows its limit right now. 

    So this budget on May 8th will likely see massive redirection of spending to those areas that can get the economy moving again. 

    Which brings me to state funding for broadcasting. 

    NZOnAir looks like a luxury right now, but broadcasting is the lifeblood of politicians and our political economy. 

    So I see a case to move very fast with broadcasting structural reform: 

    – Do we really still need the old funder-provider split of NZOnAir?

    – How fast can we bring TVNZ and RNZ into a single entity?

    – What if any use is the NZ Film Commission when no one at all is going to cinemas worldwide?

    – If actual civic discourse is important for sustaining civil society, maybe it's time to directly fund the likes of TheSpinoff, Scoop, Kiwiblog and The Standard?

    – And at base of  it: In the incredible shrinking that the whole of our media is going through, what does the state have the absolute need and the resource? to enable a minimum of continuity through it?

    Of course, the PM's office may well respond that her communicative power through TVNZ, Twitter, Facebook and Youtube is well sufficient. 

    But if that's the case, we should accept full defeat and have zero public funding for any local platform – public or private – at all.

    So across the whole of out media communications, it's worth asking the question:

    what should the state continue to support?

    • RedLogix 8.1

      The issue the media need to grapple with seriously is trustworthiness. As long as the profession is compelled to put profits ahead of professionalism they will continue to decline.

      Yet the media is like the eyes and ears of humanity; we need them to be acute and accurate.

      • tc 8.1.1

        Many outlets aren't profitable, Wuperts leaked financials a few years ago showed with the losses his papers post. 

        It's about power and influence with profits from elsewhere funding it.  There's never been a better time to rollout a serious public broadcaster combining TVNZ/RNZ.

        • RedLogix 8.1.1.1

          Yet we don't want to swing to the other extreme where state run media becomes little more than a mouthpiece for the party in power.

          I've nothing especially against state funded media, but it absolutely demands a high degree of operational independence and rock solid professional standards.

          In a small nation like NZ this is especially tricky where the barrier between journalism and working PR for the govt is highly porous.

          • KJT 8.1.1.1.1

            Yes. A recent Government, who shall be nameless, “as we are not politicking” LOL, takeover of State media as their own propaganda machine was worthy of Soviet Russia. Though much more smartly done and less obvious.

            An example of how it shouldn't be done.

    • millsy 8.2

      There is a case for NZ on Air setting up its own streaming/on demand service, and commision content directly for that.

  9. Nick McMaster 9

    Hosking is paid to continually criticise the current government. Like Trump, being consistent and logical is irrelevant.

    • Andre 9.1

      Criticism is fine. It implies a degree of coherent thought and pointing towards better ways of doing things. That's not what Hosking is doing. He's just trying to undermine.

  10. greywarshark 10

    Will government be able to save the good we still have in Radionz and television or will they combine it, dilute it, and eventually smother it in their complacency and platitudes with another win to neoliberal economics, and free market? Giving what they are taught to want to the impressionable public? Media and their workers, journalists, might say:

    All I have is a voice
    To undo the folded lie,
    The romantic lie in the brain
    Of the sensual man-in-the-street
    And the lie of Authority

    …What dictators do,
    The elderly rubbish they talk
    To an apathetic grave;
    Analysed all in his* book,
    The enlightenment driven away,
    The habit-forming pain,
    Mismanagement and grief:
    We must suffer them all again.  
    https://poets.org/poem/september-1-1939

    * Thucydides:  As Thucydides said, the Peloponnesian War was the result of a systematic change, brought about by the increasing power of the Athenian city-state, which tried to exceed the power of the city-state of Sparta. … Thucydides' realism has had a timeless impact on the way contemporary analysts perceive international relations.      http://www.hri.org/por/thucydides.html

    It's apparently a regular cycle.  So what to do?   Go physical man, not mental;  hop on your physical cycle and ride away in your lycra pants, escape from the cesspit of thought and reflection.

  11. greywarshark 11

    Perhaps we will decide we don't need information and stimulation of the brain.   Sleep baby sleep.

    Mindfulness – this might be the new meme for all.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/saturday/audio/2018734278/how-mindfulness-became-the-new-capitalist-spirituality

    The mindfulness movement took off in 1979 when Jon Kabat-Zinn, known as the father of modern mindfulness, founded a stress reduction clinic at the University of Massachusetts.    Forty years on, and the multi-billion-dollar industry is now a banal form of spirituality in which the stresses caused by modern capitalism are stripped from their societal context and individualised, says psychology professor Ronald Purser.

    We will be taught how to cope with what we are presented with not how to forge on to find ourselves in the world to our best understanding and appreciation of it in all its facets, which actually exceeds Maslow's apex of self-actualisation I think.   When we understand, comprehend we really know life and how it is amazing, each other and everything, and can see what needs changing, not just ourselves accepting passively.  

    That is why television is dangerous for our thinking, because there isn't much brainwork while we watch, and it is just so compelling.   And the brain can absorb in such a way that the images are retained and can be recalled mixed with real experiences.

  12. Sanctuary 12

    The thing about Hosking's rant is it is primarily aimed at getting his ZB audience calling so the station has some content for that day. He is ZB's main asset for preaching to  a far more narrow audience than the Herald would consider it's audience reach. The verbatim reprinting of his nonsense in the Herald as an "opinion" piece is IMHO an extremely ill-thought through attempt to get a two for one bargain and leverage some click bait synergy or another from his talkback Taliban. I think it is ill-thought out because in order get a few extra clicks they've suffered massive brand damage. I mean, what is the NZ Herald's main asset? I would argue it is it's masthead reputation as being a conservative paper of record. Thinking Fran O'Sullivan is a reliably pro-business neolib old bat is one thing; Having a rabble rousing Lord Haw Haw like Hosking spewing arrant nonsense to rark up a whole lot of barely concealed hate speech is quite another.  And having them both billed as equally reliable opinion piece writers wrecks Fran’s reputation by association.

    For what it is worth, my 2c take is that like music the news media was hit early by the internet and like music, the rush to be free online created a generational expectation news content would be free, so trying subscription models just invokes a variant of that old quote from the libertarian John Gilmore – the internet interprets a subscription model as a defect and routes around it.

    In addition, I think the media has still not really adapted to the internet. Subscriptions don't work. They are the same as the old subscription model, only for online. That is hopelessly old fashioned.They require you to take out your credit card and pay an upfront fee for a whole of publication access when you might only want to read one story, or even if it is just one story still go through the payment process. Now take a look at a news website. It is a evolution of the old front page, not an adaption to the internet. still identifiably a heavily text based, printed physical copy based approach. Site design and payment methods are inter-related, especially if you are trying to get money out of generation not used to paying for news. 

    So what does work? IMHO the model has to be the hugely profitable MMOs and their micro payment models. That is, you have access to certain free content and to buy additional content you buy in app currency – let's call them NG for "news gold". One dollar might buy you, say, 100NG. So you buy 2000NG with a one click purchase using your pre-loaded credit card details on a Monday. Want to unlock a bit of premium? Easy, it just deducts 100NG. The beauty is you then have your own currency, which means you can offer discounts or specials to get people to buy more. Want to watch the Blues game? Do it through our sports section for 1000NG, not enough credit? One click top up! 

    And design. Modern MMO games don't look like boardgames so why do news sites still look like newspapers? Look at how a MMO game lobby is organised. What if your news site lobby looked like a newsroom, click on the sports reporter to go to the sports room and interact with the AI and read stories, or watch media content. 

    Anyway, it isn't my money and it just my reckon. Happy days.  

  13. xanthe 13

    "One of Newstalk ZB’s promotions for Hosking’s show reads ‘the vital news you need to know, here and now’"

    I dont listen to ZB but if you can provide some sort of link, evidence. I will undertake to make formal complaint to broadcasting standards and also to make formal complaint to commerce commision for misrepresentation .

     

  14. bill 14

    Clearly the Government has more pressing issues to deal with than producing the likes of Woman’s Weekly.

    I read a Woman's Weekly from the 70s, and blow me over if it wasn't actually worth reading and thought provoking. I know – hard to believe. I also have a box full of Listener mags from the early 80s that are similarly stimulating.

    I did briefly wonder if the Woman's Weekly type of magazine were folding because they didn't want to become nothing more than glossy obit rags. (Too dark?)

    Anyway.

    The ODT is going to have lost almost all of its advertising revenue and I remember a journo from the ODT telling me a few years back, that the ODT basically survives off the back of revenue coming in from its Saturday's advertising.

    I don't know if corporate and profit driven journalism going to the wall is such a big deal. The US (and I'm sure other countries too) used to have a veritable galaxy of independent publications before (in the case of the US) the government removed the paper tax/subsidy(?) and advertisers moved in allowing "acceptable" newspapers and publications to undercut the cover price of "unacceptable" newspapers and publications.

    These days there's the internet, but one problem for independent media is that youtube demonetised "unacceptable" political content, forcing those channels or people to rely on subscriptions that are now going to nosedive off the back of sky-rocketing unemployment. A second problem is the opaque nature of algorithms and their inner workings. It's pretty much the case that corporate pieces are driven to the top of peoples' "recommended" feed these days – much, much more than say 12 months ago. And then there are those "thought police" affiliated to, or a part of facebook, youtube and twitter who are making censorship decisions from within a "black box" of ever shifting and/or arbitrary criteria.

    The internet needs to be regarded as a commons and advertising as an income stream for outlets essentially banned. Algorithms and their use have to be transparent, and censorship run on a legal basis and not the current ideological one.

    That's about the only way I can see that a healthy media environment, as used to exist in pre-commercial times can be brought back into being – if that's what people want.

  15. millsy 15

    Quite frankly, most of NZ media is garbage. Free to air TV is bascially ads and reality shows, and most Sky channels bascially repeat their content every 12 hours.

    Any change is good..

     

    • mike 15.1

      netflix killed sky

      • Carolyn_Nth 15.1.1

        Netflix has probably also hammered the last nail in the coffin of free-to-air TV.  It's another US-based, media conglomerate dominating the international marketplace.

        And people on all points on the political, left-right spectrum flock to support it – like facebook and google.

        Lemmings.

        • pat 15.1.1.1

          its a curious phenomenon isnt it

        • JanM 15.1.1.2

          I don't have it myself or even a tv but when staying with friends we get driven to Netflix because what's on TV is so appalling. Netflix at least has lots of good British stuff and if we worried in NZ about who owned what we'd be down to loo paper and lamb chops!

          • Carolyn_Nth 15.1.1.2.1

            Well, I haven't gone over to it so far.  I scavenge on the fringes of media.  Some of the best stuff can be on late on freeview.

            And between TVNZ Ondemand, Lightbox, and occasional library rental DVDs, I find enough to watch.

            A lot of people go for convenience – and get sucked into the US capitalist ideology that newer is better.  If it's a good show or movie, it'll stand the test of time.

            • pat 15.1.1.2.1.1

              I was viewing the phenomenon in a wider contest than solely media …the same thing is occurring in many fields…think Amazon, Uber, Alibaba, Facebook etc….it is widely understood that these organisations negatively impact the domestic economy both in terms of tax take and employment and ultimately choice and yet sufficient of us are happy to trade that for a short term price advantage or convenience.

              Uber is particularly interesting (and to a degree Amazon)….the ability to maintain investment in the face of no (apparent) profit that would be expected to cause the failure of a typical business

               

        • weka 15.1.1.3

          "And people on all points on the political, left-right spectrum flock to support it"

          For me it was more a matter of having abandoned NZ free to air years before because it was was so appalling bad in terms of delivering content. The final straw issue for me was networks stopping a TV drama series half way through and leaving it off air for months with no set return date. That was a get fucked from me and I shifted to ways of being able to watch whole series at my leisure and without ads 😉

          Eventually netflix etc came along and this is easier than downloading so people have moved there.

          TVNZ/TV3 shot themselves in the foot, just like the MSM papers and magazines have done. Network TV has been obsessed with trying to control what people watch instead of providing good content on easily accessible platforms. I rarely watch NZ on demand because they just don't make it easy enough. Both networks have dog's breakfast websites that are still in that old mindset of trying to control what people watch.

          • Carolyn_Nth 15.1.1.3.1

            Well, yes, the relentless logic of digital, corporate capitalism trades on making access easier, while continuing to extract more of people's money, and maintain market dominance. Plus it means people use and want more internet bandwidth, so they pay more for internet connections. Win-win for a selected number of big corporates, and for capitalist logic, which continues to perpetuate wealth and income inequalities.

            A couple of years back I found TV3's OnDemand programmes clumsy and glitchy. So gave up on them.  Maori TV has a good selection of programmes online.

            Between TVNZ and Lightbox, plus what does end up on freeview, I have plenty to watch without going over my datacap.  TVNZ now puts stuff online first, but I find if I wait long enough for some programmes, that get onto freeview, saving me some internet bandwidth.

            Netflix may seem less controlling with more choice, but behind it is the controlling ethos, culture and manipulation of corporate, consumer capitalism. Any TV show or movie needs funding and organisation, There is an underlying systemic and cultural selection for the shows that get a platform there.

            In my view, none of them are MUST-SEE. There are better ways of spending my time.  Rather than watch what is most accessible, I put some effort into researching what is available, and choosing what I watch…. and read.  I find reading print the most informative and reflective medium.

            Hmmm… had an email from Spark saying I've used 80% of my data, but, due to Covid-19 provisions, I won't be charged for breaching the cap.

            • weka 15.1.1.3.1.1

              I don't see TVNZ/TV3 as any less corporate capitalists than netflix et al. They're just using an older model that is more clunky. Lots of low income people with internet use downloading instead.

              I also put time and effort into researching and then choosing what I want to watch. This was also part of leaving broadcast TV, because I was sick of the whole trying to channel me into watching things I wasn't interested in. I've never really been a sit down and watch what is in front of me person.

              The accessibility is being able to more easily choose, and then easily navigate. I don't have a TV so my only access is via my laptop. The broadcast networks could be making their content more easily accessible but they aren't. That's a  big part of why some many people are giving up on them.

      • lprent 15.1.2

        Sky killed sky. The eternal repeats, lack of content, and the endless ads for sky. Not to mention the exorbitant prices.

        I used to use sky until the mid 00s. With a RW DVD and a timer I could capture most of what I wanted to watch and skip past the ads. But as soon as there were alternatives I moved away because there were no ads, I could store the content on a big raid array, and watch better inside my own timeframes.

        When better legitimate alternatives for on-demand became available, I started using them. But Sky killed Sky because they had a particular marketing model of broadcast rather than on-demand and they refused to move from it even after there was capability and capacity until it was far too late.

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