One of the existential problems for public broadcasting in NZ was the free market splintering of the audience. With multiple channels, the town square of civics has been crippled by ever diminishing attention spans, add to that the cacophony of a thousand voices screaming at each other into the void of social media and the ability to have any kind of informed debate becomes a sad joke looking for a punchline.
That’s why moving Q+A to 9.30pm matters.
Putting political discussion on the dead wasteland of Sunday morning relegates it to religious programming, something only train spotters in anoraks enjoy. 9.30pm however creates a space that builds the town square into an audience that actually matters and is meaningful.
It is a clear move by TVNZ to the new Government that all that extra public broadcasting funding can find a home with them and that TVNZ are prepared to play ball for it.
The challenge for Q+A will be to lift the panel from politely spoken Sunday morning academics into political voices that can hold prime time attention. TVNZ should see this as an opportunity to bring in new voices as well as a new audience and we might finally get a prime time politics show that is actually worth tuning into.