12 November 2014

Competing in a market of fluff and titillation

From an interesting discussion with Russell Brown on 'Media Take' the week before last, on the outsourcing of Maori and Pacific broadcasting from within TVNZ to external providers:

'[These shows] have been around for 30 years. [Like] Tagata Pasifika: there is nothing else on TV for our Pasifika whanau. And Waka Huia and Marae, [they] are the programmes that have documented our histories. We can't compete in a market that's looking for fluff and titillation. There needs to be a place that by purpose and by design records and represents the oral histories, the recorded histories of our people in this country, in a mainstream way. Not everything has to come through Maori TV'.
- Marama Fox MP, 'Media Take', Maori TV, 28 October 2014
I completely agree with Fox - it's vital that Maori stories and culture are shared by dedicated experts to the largest possible audience. But I'd go one step further and point out that the same exposure should be everyone's right in New Zealand, and is what we had via TVNZ until its public service remit was killed off, and which was then extinguished more comprehensively by the closure of public service digital channel TVNZ7. What we have now - a corporate, ad-driven national broadcaster that only serves advertisers, not the public interest, is a ridiculous embarrassment. And as commentator Richard Pamatatau points out in the same programme, it's a broadcaster that increasingly fails to reflect the diverse multicultural reality of modern New Zealand:

'What will happen is that the expertise from inside TVNZ that can correct what will become an increasingly white broadcaster or publisher won't be there. So when TVNZ risks making a mistake around broadcasting something that is connected with the Pacific population, the in-house expertise won't be there, and then it becomes an organisation that is less credible, and it's not best practice. It becomes "the white man's view of the world"'.
- Richard Pamatatau, Pacific Island Media Association, ibid.
See also:
TV: Watching 7 Sharp (so you don't have to), 10 August 2014
TV: Diversifying TV1's schedule, 25 March 2014
TV: TV flashback 1976, 12 February 2014
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