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Everyone Loves A Win-Win That Keeps Giving

By Myles Thomas


Permit me to quote some figures at you…

-68% of New Zealanders think political news on television focuses too much on politicians’ personalities and not enough on real issues. This is the key result of a recent UMR survey commissioned by the CBB.

-Two-thirds of us Kiwis are sick of the shallow, meaningless, personality-based politics we see on TVOne and TV3.

-Television is the most powerful news media, our democracy is dependant on it, it’s failing, and most of us are smart enough to see that. But will we do anything about it?

Another stat…

-21% of us are more likely to vote for a party that promises to create a new television channel without adverts. That’s a lot of people for whom broadcasting is so important they’d consider changing their vote. But this gets more interesting when we dig down into the demographics.

-11% of National Party voters are more likely to vote for a party that promises to create a new television channel without adverts. So a tenth of National’s base would consider changing their vote for an advert-free television channel. Given how close this election is, shutting down TVNZ 7 might not have been such a good idea for National.

-NZ First and the Conservatives should note the next one… A huge 29% of people aged 60 and older are more likely to vote for a party that promises to create a new television channel without adverts.

With these figures in mind, potential kingmakers negotiating coalitions should consider pushing for a non-commercial television channel. Like the Gold Card, it has the potential to be a lasting legacy for whoever claims it. Best of all, it would cost less than the Gold Card, or Maori Television, or Team NZ, or running the GCSB.

$15m each year is all it would cost to feed the minds of a million plus New Zealanders, and they will be forever grateful. Non-commercial telly could be ‘the win-win that keeps giving’ every time Kiwis sit down to watch quality current affairs, documentaries, science and arts programmes, alternative humour, advert-free kids television…

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We still have to vote.

If you’re one of the 21% who would consider voting for advert-free television, or part of the huge majority of New Zealanders who simply want better television news, the solution is advert-free television. Take a look at the CBB Broadcasting Policy Guide to help make it happen.


Myles Thomas is Chief Executive of the Coalition for Better Broadcasting.


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