Last week, Danya Levy in the DomPost reported that:
Labour is accusing former broadcasting minister Jonathan Coleman of deliberately misleading the public over the audience size of the soon-to-be-defunct TVNZ7 and claims the reason for scrapping the free-to-air channel is flawed.
However, Dr Coleman says there was no attempt to manipulate the audience figures.
On Monday he admitted that he incorrectly said last year that TVNZ7 had a weekly audience of 207,000.
It came just after the Government decided not to extend its $79 million funding to the channel over six years, $70m of which came from a special dividend from TVNZ.
Coleman said he made no attempt to manipulate the figures. This is wrong. He either doesn’t read his Cabinet papers, he was lying, or he undertook some disingenuous maths. He certainly did manipulate the figures.
On 23 February 2011 a Cabinet paper to him on Revised Options for the Future of TVNZ7 said:
“Unlike TV ONE and TV2, the channels (6 & 7) are not reliant on commercial advertising revenue and are therefore able to schedule a range of content aimed at audiences outside of the demographic cohorts targeted by advertisers.
The channels’ combined average cumulative audience (individuals accessing at least one programme) is around 2.1 million. This compares with a monthly figure of approximately 1.6 million for Maori Television Service and 2.2 million for the combined Radio New Zealand National and Concert audiences. Currently 6 and 7 can be accessed by around 70% of the population on the Freeview and SKY platforms.”
The Cabinet paper (produced by the Ministry of Culture and Heritage) recommended no further funding be made available to continue TVNZ 7 when the current appropriation ended in 2012.
This recommendation came just days after a meeting attended by John Key, Jonathan Coleman, Steven Joyce and the TVNZ CEO and senior executives where a clear proposal to keep TVNZ 7 was laid out. I understand that Key warmed to the idea. Steven Joyce however, didn’t.
The result is that funding for TVNZ 7 ceases in just 26 days.
The Save TVNZ 7 campaign has organised two public meetings this week.
- Wednesday night in Palmerston North All Saints Church Hall, cnr The Square & Church St
- Thursday night in Dunedin at the Colquhoun Theatre, at the hospital.
Make the effort and come if you can. And support the campaign.