You don't have to look far to find someone willing to express an opinion on the state of Kiwi television. Whether it's something as simple as volume of television ads or something a bit gruntier like the legality of Global Mode, Kiwis have over the last few months shown themselves to be very interested in expressing their views on the evolution of the medium in the local context. And now, in a bid to collate all these opinions in a single place, TVNZ has launched the TVNZ Greenroom, an online initiative that allows Kiwis to share their thoughts on how the broadcaster is doing.
"One of the most exciting things about working at TVNZ is the pace of change," says a statement from TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick published on the GreenRoom website. "It’s changing constantly, so to help us keep up to date we’ve created The Greenroom. It’s an online community where New Zealanders who are passionate about watching great television shows can share their ideas, hopes and aspirations."
To drive Greenroom membership, TVNZ has launched an campaign that positions contributors as executives calling the shots at the broadcaster. The 30-second ad spot shows a regular Kiwi walking through the various TVNZ sets advising actors, presenters and producers on how to do their jobs (even Mike Hosking gets a nugget thrown his way).
The ad is a little hyperbolic in terms of its representation of what Greenroom subscribers will actually be doing.
In reality, those that sign up will receive quick poll questions and surveys, and may be invited to participate in small online discussions or face-to-face focus groups. The TVNZ Greenroom is essentially a means by which TVNZ can find out what its viewers actually think of it (those that complete surveys also go into a monthly draw to win $500). In addition to this, members of The Green Room also have opportunities to preview content, see exclusive promos and gain insights into what TVNZ has coming up through the ‘news’ section of the site.
And since the Greenroom launched a few weeks back, TVNZ has already pulled out some useful insights not only on what type of programming its users watch but also on where they're watching it.
Every day, 2.5 million viewers still tune into TVNZ programmes but, as the introductory section on the Greenroom explains, the way in which people are enjoying their favourite shows has shifted significantly over the last five years.
"To make sure we keep up with what viewers want, we are interested in understanding what TV looks like now and in the future," says the blurb.
Social media has of course given TVNZ direct access to the sentiments of its viewers. When viewers are unhappy, they're quite often more than happy to hop onto either Twitter or Facebook to express their dissatisfaction. But what this platform does is give TVNZ a means by which to collect user feedback data and respond by introducing changes when necessary.
"This community allows us to have conversations with our viewers and gain more detailed insights relating to our content within the ever-changing landscape of television and technology impacts in general,” says TVNZ research and insights manager Kathryn Mitchell.
"This is one of many initiatives TVNZ has started which develops a closer relationship to our viewers, understanding who they are, what their viewing habits are and content they want to see. Ratings are important to giving insight into viewership behaviour, but we are also focusing on a multifaceted relationship with our viewers through The Greenroom."