Hoping For A News Edge On TV3’s 7pm Project

CAPTION: The main team on the new TV3 show, The Project. They look like a nice bunch.

MediaWorks needs more firepower on “The Project” if it is going to take viewers away from SevenSharp and Shortland Street. Commercially Tv3 is probably doing the right thing abandoning current affairs for comedy at 7pm. But there needs to be an edge to a prime time comedy news show. You assume they are thinking about that.

CampbellLive maintained 7pm ratings a long time,

News producers know the challenge of providing 22 minutes of content each weeknight at 7pm. But I hear the news people have very little involvement. You assume the entertainment people who are largely running The Project are fully aware of the challenges providing 22 minutes of humorous content each night live in prime time. Not only do they need to please the news-magazine audience that has been watching Story, they also have to attract a new audience. THe new show is expected to start next month.

TV3 looked at The Project format back in 2015 when it was looking at a replacement for Campbell Live.

Story was TV3’s last attempt at 7pm current affairs.

They would have looked at the TVNZ attempt at copying the format for the ill- fated first series of Seven Sharp to find what not to do. I am told that, back then, TV3 was frightened off by cost and scale of the Aussie format show. It was tenable for the Ten Network in Australia – it went on to win awards and good ratings – but back then it would not have been economic for TV3. Instead TV3 went for the traditional current affairs magazine format of Story, hosted by Duncan Garner and Heather du Plessis-

The Project in Oz has a news edge.

Allan. Of course that never made financial sense, either. Perhaps they should have stuck with comedy.

Named hosts for The Project are Jesse Mulligan, 7 Days regular Josh Thomson, and popular TV presenter Kanoa Lloyd. They are quite likable but its not apparent where the show will get the energy to carry off a prime time comedy show-Jesse Mulligan cut his teeth on Seven Days and was one of its main writers in the old days. Thompson can be genuinely funny. Its all very nice.

TV3 is said to  have very high hopes for Kanoa Lloyd – the Tv3 reporter and cheery weather woman. Lloyd is personable and is said to be very comfortable in front of the camera. Away from the weather map she may well turn out to be sharp-witted and energetic and will lead the crew into a new era of commercial success at 7pm. Fingers crossed Paul Henry pops in quite a bit – in the early days at least.

 

 

 

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Laid Back Summer A Week Too Long At RNZ

RNZ returns to its regular schedule on Monday – declaring an end to a four week summer when the world allegedly stops spinning for us all to catch our breath. Locally, its a time when politics and business slow down allowing local media operate on a skeleton staff for a couple of weeks. RNZ takes that a step further. It always restarts programming year on Wellington Anniversary Day, after what is effectively a month long break. Its a week too long. National Radio has been missing in action this week. The world is in upheaval due to Trump. Morning Report will return on Monday with the world utterly changed.

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Freeview And Pay TV

Prospects are still live for closer links between Freeview and Lightbox. TVNZ is still looking at taking a bigger stake in Freeview and part of that might see closer ties with the Spark owned pay tv platform, I am told by industry players.

One ndustry source suggested a tie up between TVNZ and Spark might not involve an equity stake. But the relationship might entail something as simple as having a Lightbox App on the Freeview platform to allow easy movement across platforms. Spark has declined to discuss plans to increase its media arm, but in my opinion Spark would make a good partner for free to air TV.

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Down Time In Provincial Print

Caption: The art deco Daily Telegraph building symbolised the steady, secure nature of provincial newspapers in the 1980s.

An old journalist colleague of mine, Mike Johansson and has a unique take of the changes facing print media. He started out as a cadet reporter at the now defunct Napier Daily Telegraph in what is now remembered as a strong and stable era for New Zealand print journalism.  Provincial newspapers were buoyed by classified advertising and had enough resources to sustain a rounds system that covered local news with some detailed understanding. He also worked as a sub-editor at The Press, in Christchurch, in what was, in retrospect, a golden era.

Johansson earned a Rotary scholarship to the prestigious S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University in Upstate New York and after that he made a career nearby at the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester owned by the giant Gannett Corporation.

“In 1986 when I landed in Syracuse, readership was in very slow decline,” he says.

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Hunkering Down For The Perfect Storm 2017: The Big Shakedown

It’s hardly news that newspapers have been going through heavy weather. But it is clear 2017 will be make or break time for New Zealand newspapers. All over the world papers are closing and downsizing. In general, NZ papers have remained profitable, though this week Fairfax New Zealand announced a $75 million loss after writing down the value of its papers by $100 million. But there are special problems here make our journalism more vulnerable. Partly it is because we have uniquely had no specific media and as a result we have already reached the point where our media is already ruled by duopolies. The next step is monopolies and the Commerce Commission regulating competition, seems wary of taking that step.

The romantic images a newspaper reporter - circa1946
The romantic images a newspaper reporter – circa 1946

Perhaps more than other countries New Zealand newspapers  have been doing the hard work building stories from the start – the heavy lifting some call it. Establishing the detail and diversity of news for other media that follow up on them.  A diminished resources for newspapers has already led to the end of the rounds system – where reporters brvsmr experts in issues or or institions, That has diminished newspaper reporter and had a downstream effect with poorer TV and radio bulletins. Further cuts are inevitable for newspapers and that will flow on to other media. The immediate future will be decided on March 15 when the Commerce Commission decides whether to change its mind and approve the merger of NZME. and Fairfax. The strong criticism in the ComCom draft report issued in November means that few expect merger approval. Commerce Commission chair Mark Berry appeared to go out of his way to discourage expectations for a turnaround, saying the influence of the combined countries as second only to Mainland China,. If it does occur there will likely be a swift change and layoffs .The two firms will stop sending two or more people to cover one news story. Some predict over 25 per cent of 3000 combined staff will go, including dozens of journalists. Even if there is no merger there will be cuts to staff longer term . Newspaper companies will have to assess how they can continue to make money in a market where their business model (they freely admit) no longer works.

 

 

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Who Goes There? – Holt Opinion

Caption: Hayley and the Greens

The United States will soon be run by reality TV star Donald Trump. And in little old New Zealand, we’ve seen wannabe politicians who happen to have been on the telly.

The latest “star” political wannabe is Hayley Holt, a talented snowboarder and a presenter of two niche TV shows “The Crowd Goes Wild” and “Back Benches. Name recognition matters for a party like the Greens and you wonder if there are any more media people waiting in the wings.

But Holt does not have the celebrity power of Tamati Coffey who fronted the weather forecasts for many years and who will be standing for Labour in the Waiariki seat in 2017.

Holt is said to be an environmentalist and have a degree in politics and that means a lot for some Green voters.

She may well be be a brilliant advocate for the Party. Holt had indicated that she was interested in winning the candidacy for the Helensville electorate. Maybe that will be less attractive now that John Key is no longer standing and there would be fewer promotional opportunities.

The Greens insist they will follow their normal practices is selecting her place on the List, . But announcements of star candidates like Holt raise the question whether high profile people have a place ahead non- celebrity candidates,

 

images-35
Tamati Coffey has genuine star appear and is standing for Labour in Wairariki

Holt told the NZ Herald she is not yet sure how many votes her star power could be worth.”I don’t want politics to be boring. It looks boring at the moment and we’ve got some really fresh, exciting faces with the Greens coming through …” she said.

Another recent recruit looking for a place on the Greens list is high profile politician Chloe Swarbrick who had worked with alternative radio station Bfm.

Chloe Swarbrick
Chloe Swarbrick

She has been backed by media on the Left in Auckland and would likely draw votes in the city. Indeed when she recently announced her intentions to stand for Parliament it seemed like the Greens were joining Swarbrick, not vice – versa.

 

 

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Early Outing For Jennings-Murphy Newsroom

Caption.Tim Murphy and Mark Jennings aim for their new wesbsite called Newsroom to be up and running in mid-February.

Plans for an ambitious news and current affairs website were forced out into the open yesterday, after Fairfax and NZME used them to show the Commerce Commission there was competition coming in the news market. Former high-profile news bosses for MediaWorks and the New Zealand Herald – Mark Jennings and Tim Murphy – were caught short when marketing material their new website, Newsroom, unexpectedly went public. According to Jennings, Fairfax and NZME got wind of plans and delivered them to the Commerce Commission. Jennings said that the project was going well – but negotiations had not been completed and were continuing,  Journalists whose names are attached to the marketing proposal include Bernard Hickey and his Hivenews.co,nz website, business writer Rod Oram, sports writer Steve Deane, and Eloise Gibson.

Tim Murphy said the new venture would start as a subscription service in mid-February with the free website set to start in March. According to promotional material for the newsroom site (see below). Negotiations are under way for backing from Allied Press, the owner of the Otago Daily Times. Selwyn and Craig Pellett are involved. Newsroom will be funded by subscriptions, sponsorship and advertising. Murphy said subscriptions were hoped to be equal to sponsorship and advertising revenue by Year 3. The marketing document is attacjed below.

marketing-literature-in-relation-to-jennings-murphys-new-news-website-to-be-called-newsroom-co-nz-november-2016

 

 

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Next Drama Needs to Be Good Dirty, Filthy TV

The recent ratings failure of the TVNZ 1 series “Dirty Laundry” leaves TVNZ and New Zealand On Air with a dilemma over the future of New Zealand drama. TVNZ needs a hit. Zagzigger.com pointed out on October 14 that the show was in trouble (Dirty Laundry On Line), and it never really found an audience. The TVNZ2 predecessor, “Filthy Rich” also did not rate very well, and had mixed reviews. But Filthy Rich viewership held up on TVNZ On Demand. NZ On Air says it had a loyal audience. As a result, it agreed to fund a second series.

Filthy Rich has been given funding for a second series.
Filthy Rich has been given funding for a second series.

I saw some of the same faults in Dirty Laundry that were apparent in Filthy Rich. They seemed like same old, same old. It would be easy to get despondent There is nothing sillier than making the same mistake over and over again. But unlike some media folk I’m not keen on walking away from TV drama altogether, Making drama is hard work. And many in the TV world believe that the problem is that TVNZ commissioners are caught up in an eighties time warp. The bulk of the money for kiwi dramas comes from taxpayers, but the networks are nervous about trying things that are new.Maybe so. But f they continue to play it too safe -and it creates a third underwhelming series in a row – people may start giving up.

Grubby Feet
Grubby Feet

I hear  TVNZ has a promising new drama in development that is expected to be quite different to Filthy Rich and Dirty Laundry. Fingers crossed it is not  called Grubby Feet.

 

 

 

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Mark Jennings Warning On The Future Of News Will The Internet Kill Journalism?

 

Caption: Fake News in Facebook promoted the election of Donald Trump.

Mark Jennings offers practical and realistic analysis on the parlous state of New Zealand News Media. This is the slightly abridged text of Jennings’ giving the John O’Shea memorial address to the SPADA conference this week.

I’d like to look at two major themes that have impacted the media this year. One is international and one is domestic.The first is the now widely held view that the world’s media is so out of touch that it completely misread Brexit and Donald Trump’s rise to power and has become irrelevant to a large part of the population.

Mark Jennngs warns about the power of Facebook
Mark Jennngs warns about the power of Facebook

The second one is, what’s led to the two biggest media organisations in this country feeling they have to merge to if they are to keep producing the sort of journalism that matters. In my view, there are many factors that are common to both these topics. It wasn’t that long ago that technology and the internet looked like they were going to be mainstream media’s greatest allies, in what I think is its key role, providing timely information and context to a wide audience.

The combination of technology and the internet promised so much. Looking back, I think it was a sweet spot in media history, a great time to be a journalist and I think the public was well served too. Profitability and competition spawned a whole range of new products and product innovation. I’d like to fast forward to  the rise of Google and Facebook

Could Mark Zuckerberg become editor in chief.
Could Mark Zuckerberg become editor in chief.

– particularly Facebook. The traditional mainstream media has lost control of its distribution platforms. 50 percent of Americans now get their news from Facebook. I don’t know the figure for New Zealand but my gut tells that is probably similar. There are two big problems with this.The first one is money. If you are not buying a paper, reading the advertisements in it, or watching the ads on a free to-air news broadcast or paying to access material on line, then the content provider is going to go broke. As we know, that’s what’s happening around the western world including New Zealand.

It’s not a quick death though, it is a slow and painful one, as Facebook and Google suck more and more money out of the market.News providers cut staff, lower quality, steal each other’s material and now try to trick the public into clicking onto nonsense stories in the hope of staying in business. All mainstream news media now distribute their content via Facebook. They don’t make much money out of it but they don’t really have a choice.
What the mainstream media has done, perhaps unwittingly, though, is to legitimise Facebook as a news source.

 

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Can Morning Report Build From The Mike Hosking Fall? Breakfast of Champions

When the radio industry changed to new combined GfK ratings system at the start of his year, commercial radio bosses insisted that RNZ National results should be kept separate from their own. Despite collecting similar information, it is hard to compare commercial and public broadcasting figures. Maybe the commercial radio people saw trouble ahead. unknown-67In this, the third survey of the year, Morning Report appears to be holding up well and National Radio maintains a 10.5 per cent share of the total radio audience. Meanwhile, Mike Hosking on Newstalk ZB has taken a big tumble. Lets wait until the next survey. Things could turn around. But it seems possible that Hosking is losing his tight grip on the breakfast talk audience. Are people falling out of love with The Hosk?

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