What is better broadcasting?
Better broadcasting is about giving people the chance to learn while they relax in front of their television, listen to the radio or surf the internet.
Inform, Educate and Entertain are the three core principles of public service media but entertainment is almost all there is now, and the CBB aims to ensure all three are available to New Zealand audiences.
The Coalition for Better Broadcasting promotes broadcasting that serves audiences rather than broadcasting that serves advertisers, sponsors, the broadcasters themselves or their owners.
Better broadcasting is not just certain ‘worthy’ genres like documentaries or dramas. It’s all sorts of television and radio including children’s shows, magazine shows, comedy, news, current affairs, sport and gameshows. Even reality television can be better broadcasting – what's important is whether the programme is intended to serve an audience, or serve that audience up to advertisers.
It is a grey area and there is plenty of crossover. The BBC has proven time and again that programmes for non-commercial audiences can attract huge audiences for commercial broadcasters. Equally, commercial broadcasters occasionally perform a public service with documentaries, election coverage and informational programmes. The difference is when a channel, station or network only airs the stuff that rates - reality shows, sensational news, easy-listening music, provocative talkback etc. Or only targets the demographic that advertisers want to attract, ignoring everyone else.
- strikes a balance between information and entertainment
- caters to all audiences and not just household shoppers
- isn't afraid to present hard-to-understand concepts, unusual formats or challenge the audience
What isn’t better broadcasting?
The CBB does not support broadcasting and media that:
- treats audiences like idiots
- is produced and scheduled solely to make profits
- seeks to control or hamper public discourse
- is unsupportive of other media outlets and genres
- limits contributions based on age, race, religion, politics, wealth, dress-sense or hairstyle.
...which includes pretty much most commercial broadcasting and media as it stands in NZ. But we don't want to shutdown all that commercial stuff - we just won't lobby politicians, journalists and the public on their behalf. Let's face it, commercial broadcasters and media already have direct access to journalists and politicians anyway.
Public Service Media
The public service ethos also applies to online media. Just like traditional broadcasters, increased advertising is the goal of most news websites and increasingly many blogs. As an example compare stuff.co.nz and rnz news to see how the need to maximise audiences for advertisers alters the choice of lead stories.
The online world can be seen as a virtual version of our cities, towns
and countryside. Much online media is commercial, like a shopping mall or town centre. That's ok but where are the parks, the beaches, the public libraries and community halls?
We'd like to see non-commercial media receiving greater support and development, especially in online news. Who knows what could be around the corner but we hope that the next big thing needn't rely on advertising or wealthy volunteers.
“Public service broadcasting, although having a clear economic relevance, is not comparable to a public service in any other economic sector. There is no other service that at the same time has access to such a wide sector of the population, provides it with so much information and content, and by doing so conveys and influences both individual and public opinion.
“Furthermore, broadcasting is generally perceived as a very reliable source of information and represents, for a not inconsiderable proportion of the population, the main source of information. It thus enriches public debate and ultimately can ensure that all citizens participate to a fair degree in public life.”
The Role of Public Service Broadcasting - European Commission
Better broadcasting and media for New Zealanders, not for advertisers
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