Coalition for Better Broadcasting



This week the CBB launched our three-pronged policy plan for political parties to adopt. The three points of the plan are:

1.         Defrost Radio NZ funding

2.         Establish a non-commercial television channel

3.         Fund these with a small levy on SkyTV and other commercial broadcasters, and on ISPs/Telcos

These are all very sensible but what is shocking is the urgency of each of them – especially the second policy. New Zealand has been without a public service television station for three years now with TVNZ 7 gone. Our television culture is blighted by commercialism. Only in New Zealand do we put up with 18 minutes of adverts each hour, or the constant advertising within programmes like The Block and NZ’s Got Talent. Did anyone notice the excessive Toyota signage throughout Talent – even under the judges’ stage. It’s awful but that’s just the way we roll.

It’s also an indictment on how programme-makers think. When I directed Mitre 10 Dream Home it was the same, these companies give us $20,000 – $30,000 and we are so grateful we bend over backwards to squeeze their logo in anywhere and everywhere. “You want the teams to visit your shop for 15 minutes? No problem, we’ll just cut the scene where they visit their sick relatives in hospital”. There’s a lack of thought, a lack of savvy and a lack of spine to stand up to commercial interests.

You could say the same about the current government. In broadcasting, this government thinks only of commercial interests. That’s been seen over and over with TVNZ 6 & 7, loans to Mediaworks, the closure of Triangle and move to Sky, the lack of non-commercial frequencies after the Digital SwitchOver, Radio NZ’s funding freeze, the fact that government departments will only seek public consultation if there’s a commercial aspect – ie they only want feedback from businesses and not the public. We found that with another CBB campaign recently, but that’s another story, another blog.

This week the CBB are sending out our first ever bi-monthly newsletter to members. That’s exciting for me. And we’re focussing on political parties, encouraging them to adopt our three-pronged policy plan. See you next week.


Myles Thomas

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Myles Thomas is Chief Executive of the Coalition for Better Broadcasting. By day he is a television director and editor specialising in reality television and documentaries. The Coalition for Better Broadcasting is a charitable trust working to champion public service radio, television and online media. We have an active grassroots membership and regular campaigns – see


  1. I’ll support that. Nothing really radical in any of those proposals – most First World nations have non-commercial broadcasting.

    With RadioNZ the only current non-commercial boroadcaster, we are poorly served in this country.

  2. I am happy to have only one non-commercial broadcaster in radio, I think they do a great job and I enjoy so many of their presenters.

    However TV yes I am all for an advert free channel showing no reality shows but good docos, films and local content.

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