TVNZ has explained its reasons for pulling out of screening the awards as being economic, specifically the low ratings of the show last year. This is despite the fact that it screened late on a Sunday night and scored $114,000 of NZ On Air support.
John Drinnan, writing in The Herald, claimed, “funding for awards coverage is another example of the way that New Zealand On Air has become a taxpayer-funded cheerleader for the TV industry.”
From this point of view, we’re very happy that NZ On Air is doing that job. Without that cheerleading, we wouldn’t get to see Pieces of My Heart, Until Proven Innocent, Topp Twins Untouchable Girls or many other programmes, drama or factual, award-winning or not, that only get made because of NZ On Air support.
The two above dramas received over $2.6 million in NZ On Air funding between them. Untouchable Girls received just over $200,000; it doesn’t seem unreasonable to fork out $114,000, once a year, to celebrate the best in the business, whether you agree with the results or not.
TVNZ was less than impressed with TV3’s cut of the event, which placed much of the rash of TVNZ wins in the news and current affairs categories in the last third of the show, screening after 11.30pm on a Sunday night.
However, it’s probably fair to assume that those people who did bother to stay up past their bedtimes (other than those with a professional interest) were more interested in the awards featuring actors and celebrities for film, drama and popular entertainment shows like Dancing With the Stars.
So, despite having won almost a clean sweep at both the Craft Awards and the red carpet bash and having bragging rights for the next 12 months, TVNZ is still unhappy. Imagine what they’d have been like if they’d lost.