In light of the chopping and changing of personnel in the media arena, what do the ratings say about the year that has been and the year ahead for TVNZ and Mediaworks?
Creative seeds are planted as a new PR agency launches, MediaWorks TV says goodbye to its long-serving director of programming while MediaWorks Radio puts some wind in its sales, Ocean Design’s increased workload leads to a host of new recruits and a new office, Bullseye’s new Auckland office gets its hands dirty with Tui Products, Tamati Coffey takes a place on the Breakfast couch, Pluk gets set for expansion with a new country manager, and local animation ringmasters Cirkus get the call up for Cannes alongside Bill Clinton, Ridley Scott and Debbie Harry.
TVNZ’s head of news and current affairs Anthony Flannery has said in the past that Breakfast’s popularity comes down to a good combination of “light and shade”. And the balance will be tipped in favour of light come September 3 when a new Saturday edition of the show that will be co-presented by Rawdon Christie and Toni Street is launched.
The latest TV viewership figures for March are out and, amid the many regularly overused adjectives (primarily staggering, dramatic, massive and all-important), both warring parties are, as per usual, claiming victories, with TVNZ’s news audience increasing substantially and MediaWorks trumpeting a big rise in more lucrative eyeballs since the launch of FOUR. And while there’s always a bit of press release-based argy bargy when these numbers are set loose, it’s pistols at dawn when it comes to the morning news figures.
… a dynamic duo is announced for Effie duties, TVNZ’s Breakfast gets its new co-hosts, adstream NZ increases its staff arsenal, MediaWorks says goodbye to some long-serving news staffers and Robyn Janes opens a production outfit in Hokitika. This is the last edition of Movings/Shakings of 2010. There, there, don’t cry. We’ll be back next year and we promise to quench your nigh-on insatiable thirst for employment scandals, unexpected departures, dastardly poachings, new postings (all of which will be written in capital letters to show their importance) and various industry accolades.
Part of Paul Henry’s broadcasting appeal is that he usually treads a very thin line. But he well and truly crossed that line yesterday after suggesting to Prime Minister John Key on Breakfast that Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand’s successor should look and sound more like a New Zealander. And TVNZ chief executive Rick Ellis has taken action over his comments, suspending Henry without pay until October 18.
TV ratings are a lot like politics: whether you’re winning or losing, the other side is always doing it wrong and, even in the worst situations, you can always try and spin things to make it look more positive than it really is.
As broadcasters around the world increasingly focus on the internet to distribute their news and content, as print media invests in additional video and audio assets to enhance its online offerings, and as previously separate mediums seem to become more and more alike, the quest for media convergence means many of these outlets are being forced to cut each other’s lunches and create content that can be used across different platforms. And, despite stellar ratings for its traditional free-to-air news and current affairs shows in recent months, TVNZ is preparing for this new digital frontier with what it says are the biggest changes in 20 years.
At last, a rival to match the spectacular unifying experience that was Diana’s funeral: All Whites v Slovakia.
Ever since TV3’s Sunrise and ASB Business bit the dust back in April, the Mediaworks press releases about news and current affairs viewer numbers seem to have dried up. Not surprisingly, NZI Business and Breakfast have reaped the benefits after the departure of its main competition, but there’s also been some significant ratings increases for Te Karere and Q+A over the last year and ONE news has also held firm.
First there’s a press release from TV3: “November has seen Nightline pull away from its competitor TV ONE’s Tonight in all key demographics.”
Then there’s one from TVNZ: “The latest news numbers show Sunrise lost a quarter of its audience in November while NZI Business and Breakfast continued to edge ahead.”