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Non-Commercial TV

It seems that the National government is starting to show its true intentions when it starts making decisions such as shutting down the review of broadcasting regulation. Of course we should never be surprised that National would ignore the greater interests of New Zealand to further its ideological agenda of decreasing regulation and giving foreign corporations even more power than the already have.

If you vote a right-wing party into government then you are going to get right oriented policies. A center-left party like Labour would have probably taken a different approach and that’s also to be expected. I’m not saying National shouldn’t have done this because its in line with their political philosophy. New Zealand voted for them and now they will end up with a foreign owned company (Sky) becoming a virtual monopoly at the expense of easy access to New Zealand culture on TV (especially sporting events). After all, people get the sort of government they deserve!

If you read this blog much you will know I don’t have much confidence in pure capitalism. If you want quality TV programming then you need to throw out private companies because they will always follow the quick profit for minimum effort model (there might be a few exceptions but this is overwhelmingly true).

We cannot expect a purely commercial model to produce good TV. It hasn’t worked before and all the better TV produced overseas seems to come from organisations which aren’t purely commercial, like the BBC.

The plan suggested by some people for turning TV1 into a non-commercial state broadcaster would have been the best idea I think. Why do so many people assume that every service has to be delivered through a purely commercial model? Wasn’t that the sort of philosophy we had in the mid to late 80s and early 90s? Did it work then? No, it didn’t, and it never will because pure commercial pressures are almost always contrary to variety, quality, and originality.

In the end it might not matter so much because the Internet is changing the way people view media. Ironically, the National government’s plan to provide high speed Internet will help make traditional broadcasting far less important. Its interesting to note that their Internet plan is not based on a purely commercial model because private enterprise has totally failed to provide decent Internet services in New Zealand just like it has failed to provide any decent services here.

So it looks like TV will just continue to get worse but I hope the excellent plan this government has to create a fast Internet network will make up for that failure of imagination. Note to the government: forget about using Telecom’s Internet connection to the rest of the world. They are deliberately providing a substandard, expensive service there (another failure of the free market). So you need to plan for a fast international connection too!

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