The Coalition for Better Broadcasting (CBB) welcomes the NZFirst Broadcasting and ICT policy.
NZFirst’s Broadcasting Policy is to remove all advertising from TVNZ 1 and partially fund the platform with an increase in the Telecommunications Development Levy (TDL).
“Turning TVNZ 1 into a non-commercial channel is a bold idea that will appeal to many voters,” says CBB Director, Myles Thomas.
“NZFirst seems to recognise the scale of intervention needed to redress the decline of public media. With this policy they’ve set the benchmark for other parties that are serious about public media in New Zealand.”
NZFirst proposes to create The Public Media Commission, an umbrella public service organisation responsible for RNZ and the ad-free TVNZ 1. TVNZ 2 would be separated from TVNZ 1, and any income generated by the commercial channel would subsidise the new TVNZ 1.
The policy also considers expanding the TDL to include commercial broadcasters and on-demand providers like Netflix, to help fund more NZ content.
“Making TVNZ 1 non-commercial would be an expensive undertaking, and there would be some organisational complexities in establishing the Public Media Commission which need to be worked out,” says Mr Thomas. “But there would be major benefits.
“Removing the relentless pressure to deliver audiences for advertisers means the channel could focus on providing local content for all New Zealanders, young and old. We’ll see more quality TV shows that treat the audience with respect, featuring people from the regions and different ethnicities. The nightly news will be less about sensation and more about substance, Seven Sharp could become a genuine current affairs programme and there may even be more docos, arts, science and wildlife programmes.
“Our kids too will benefit, with no adverts and more content that feeds their minds, “Mr Thomas continued.
“TVNZ 1 would be more than just an old-fashioned quality TV channel. The website, online apps and social media content would continue to grow and innovate for all audiences.
“TVNZ 1 is the natural home for public service television in NZ and most Kiwis expect the channel to be more like the BBC and ABC in Australia. Those audiences will genuinely appreciate any government that gives them a homegrown public service channel.
“This policy could be the next Gold Card for NZ First.”
Note the CBB is in the process of changing its name to the Better Public Media Trust. Keep an eye out for the BPM Trust.