TV3 is a cultural treasure – if the Government can give $300m to the worlds richest man, they can spare a dollar for Guy Williams


News that Mediaworks’ vulture fund owners are prepared to amputate their TV arm by Christmas if a buyer isn’t found should be taken seriously.

NZ media have always found living by the market difficult because our population size is too small to successfully keep the advertising dollars going, it has always required state assistance.

This weakness has been exacerbated by a deregulated fractured media market that has allowed profit over fourth estate responsibilities to triumph and duopolies emerge. The market dynamics of vulture funds buying media using debt just to strip the asset and sell it hasn’t helped either.

TVNZ that is and isn’t a public broadcaster is a major issue as well. Backed by a Government that will always bail them out, they have all the benefits of protection with none of those benefits handed to viewers. TVNZ is protected from the market yet the market intrudes into the viewers world via never ending adverts on the channel.

TV3 is a cultural treasure and it would be wrong to allow it to fail because of a warped market. Claims that free to air TV is some sort of ancient relic akin to blockbuster ignores radio technology that is still here and still powerful.

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Mass market public squares are more important than ever, as our society heaves through the animosity of social media echo chambers, mass market public squares brings us together to have the debates and common reflection on everything from news, culture and social norms.

Removing mass market public squares and the enormous service they bring simply retreats us into more insulated echo chambers.

Sure there is much to be desired with the pitiful content TV3 offers up, but it’s still an infrastructure worth saving.

The Government have to get off their arses, show some initiate and come up with some clever blue sky thinking here.

TV One SHOULD be advert free, so increase government spending so that it can be, which will allow that advertising dollar to flow TV3’s way.

Facebook and Google should face a ‘journalism’ tax that is ring fenced and plunged back into national broadcasters.

Allowing MediaWorks to go belly up when there are solutions the Government could adopt would be outrageous especially as they are handing the worlds richest man $300million for a TV series…

Lord of the Rings screen grant could be precious for Amazon

Amazon and its billionaire founder Jeff Bezos could receive a subsidy worth more than $300 million from Kiwi taxpayers for producing the Lord of the Rings television series here, the ACT Party says.

…if we can pay Jeff Bezos $375m for a Lord of the Rings TV show, why can’t we save tv3?



  1. I have not watched Mediaworks TV stations in years, or TVNZ for that matter. The internet and pay TV has rendered them obsolete, like the email has done to post.

    We bailed them out before and what we got in return was the partisan voice of the National Party, to the nation. I just couldn’t care less if they shut the doors tomorrow.

    Duncan Garner, Gower and Richardson and their so called 4th estate offerings are the anti Christ in terms of culture, as is The Block and any number of their shit reality shows. These are not culture, they are mindless.

    As for their news, dear God, it’s awful. At some point the presenters became “stars” and didn’t they just believe that bullshit too? The news became Facebook rumour and entertainment click bait and I tuned out, long ago.

    TV like this is dying because of its growing irrelevancy and its time has come and it’s ratings just prove it. As is it being a forum for the big heads and big egos that work in it. And I would argue radio too, why listen to endless ads, bigoted angry white man ZB’s or “hilarious” or opinionated hosts when you can listen the pod casts and Spotify.

    Every cent spent on this dead horse, were the government tempted, could be put into Pharmac, for example, for far better outcomes.

    • I agree wholeheartedly with this. Well written. T.V. 3 is in fact far from being a cultural treasure. It is in fact a cultural crime to let it continue.

    • i think its a technological change i haven’t even got the tv plugged in anymore yet i still watch all the latest programs the cost of broadcasting has went to zero and that is what traditional media is dealing with at one time they were the gate keepers that is no longer the hard to pay celebratory wages if your viewers prefer u tude i think tvnz faces the same issues when you can watch content like the great war channel
      whos intrested in the richardson

  2. Well I half agree with you Martyn. We shouldn’t have given Bezos a damned thing. But we shouldn’t give TV3 a damned thing either.
    Who watches broadcast TV these days?
    Not me, not for nearly a decade and I’m not particularly young.
    If tv3 dies then it dies.

  3. Television -Three was founded as TV3 in 1989 after the Fourth Labour government.
    Then (During the rogernomic era) the “shifty character called Steven Joyce swindled our public ZB radio networks” during that Rogernomics era.

    Joyce then branched into other networks and renamed it all as “Media works” and eventually sold it and was kept on the board of Media works.

    When it failed to expand back in 2008 Joyce conned Government to loan his failed Media works” another $25 million to stay afloat so we have been conned by that character (Joyce) for years.

    So Government needs to take TV3 back under a public ownership again for lack of debts not received.
    From 2011 even more bad news ;-

    In 2011, MediaWorks received a $43 million loan guarantee for the Government to renew its licenses until 2030.[4] The deal went against official advice, and then Communications Minister Steven Joyce was accused of having a conflict of interest as the past managing director of the company’s RadioWorks division.[5] The loan was described by AUT’s Centre for Journalism, Media and Democracy as a form of corporate welfare,[6] and was criticised by blogger Sarah Miles as a case of governmental interference in the media.[7] Among other companies, Radio Bay of Plenty secured commercial loans, The Radio Network covered its own costs, and Rhema Broadcasting Group covered the cost with no-interest loans.[8]

    The US-based Oaktree Capital Management bought $125 million of loans to MediaWorks in 2012. These were converted to equity in 2013.[9] In June 2013, with over NZ$700 million in debt, MediaWorks NZ was put into receivership.[10] It came out of receivership in November 2013. Oaktree Capital Management took 100% ownership of the business in 2015.[9][2]

    In August 2014, Mark Weldon was appointed CEO, replacing Susan Turner, who had resigned in July 2014.[11] Weldon resigned in May 2016 at the same time that a large number of long serving and high-profile staff were leaving the company under his leadership. CFO David Chalmers replaced him in an acting capacity.[12]

    In May 2016, MediaWorks and NBCUniversal Television Distribution entered into a joint venture and revamped Channel Four as the new reality television channel Bravo.[13][14] In August 2016, Michael Anderson was appointed as CEO of MediaWorks.[15]

    Three was founded as TV3 in 1989 after the Fourth Labour government allowed for a private television broadcaster. CanWest obtained TV3 between 1991 and 1997 after the National government loosened rules on foreign ownership. Under CanWest control, TV3 relaunched in March 1998 with a new brand and a 3 News bulletin hosted by John Campbell and Carol Hirschfeld.

    MediaWorks was created in 2004, and owned TV3 and C4. In 2005, Hilary Barry & Mike McRoberts became the station’s news anchors. TV3 staff also launched youth station TV4 in 1997, and replaced it with C4 in 2003.[3]

    In 2009 the timeshift channel TV3 Plus 1 was launched. C4 2 was launched in 2010, then, when Four replaced C4 in 2011, C4 replaced C4 2. In 2014, timeshift channel Four Plus 1 was launched, and The Edge TV replaced C4.[citation needed]

    In 2016, Bravo and Bravo Plus 1 replaced Four and Four Plus 1.[13][14]

    In 2017, TV3 was rebranded as Three. On 15 April 2018, MediaWorks launched ThreeLife, a lifestyle channel.[16]

    On 1 July 2019, The Edge TV moved exclusively online, and was replaced on TV by ThreeLife + 1.[17]

    On 18 October 2019, it was announced that MediaWorks was intending to sell off their television division including Three, ThreeLife and the Edge TV. MediaWorks also intends to sell its Flower Street head office and studios in Auckland’s Eden Terrace. Several Three television programs and shows have also been canceled. Media commentator Bill Raston has claimed that hundreds of jobs could be lost if a buyer is not found. [18][19][2]

  4. Oh Guy Ghahraman will be okay, now he will just be a stay-at-home comedian. He will be supported financially, motivationally and emotionally by Golriz, who will find work supporting radicalised expats with possible diminished mental capacity. He has produced an immense body of work while at Mediawork which is sure to last on hard drives for a while yet. Go well Guy, you funny guy.

  5. I’d prefer the government to put more money into quality programming on TV1 and get rid of the fat cat executives at TV1 that are on grossly inflated salaries, people like Hoskings also on grossly inflated salaries, (not even sure if he is still on TV such a repellant is he), and the dinosaur executives ideas that there is rugby, rugby, rugby and reality TV and reruns, and everything else is Grey Lynn 100 stuff. Well they have gone with that approach and surprise, surprise the TV stations are being outcompeted by other media as they failed to innovate to a quality local and international programming…

    So let the markets buy TV3, government should stay out of it (not loans Steven Joyce style) and like OZ have NZ set local programming percentages that they need to achieve for the private media companies and spend their money on better quality programming on TV1 the public channel. Oh, and remember there is more sport than just rugby and more to TV than just sport.

    • Absolutely my old man left TVNZ about 5 years ago after working there for about 30 years. During the last few he was there he was dismayed by the way they sold off the live sports/events broadcast trucks and laid off so many production crew and support staff that now a majority of the people there are sales staff and it’s pretty much just a transmitter offering little in the way of nz film and tv production and you can’t call news or current affairs local programming. Not that i’ve watched either channels in over a decade oh well be interesting to see what happens.

      • Agreed, Unfortunately under its commercial profit driven imperatives, its all been an exercise in short-sightedness with quite a few silly past decisions. Selling off an interest in Sky TV…..allowing Sky to take over Prime…..doing away with charters (instead of say, updating them)….trying to treat broadcasting as a cash cow rather than a service…..Ignoring good advice from within the industry and academia in favour of the bean-counter managerialists and politicians with an agenda

        And now, many are scratching their heads and wondering why its all gone tits up

  6. I kind of think now that to try saving a media outlet using NZ taxpayers dollars only to have that media outlet with biased towards say National so-called journalists has now passed its Used By Date.
    The NZ taxpayer should not be viewed as the “Ambulance at the bottom of the cliff”
    Fortunately I have not watched a TV3 program for a number of years and so losing that station isn’t the ‘end of the world’ for me.
    I used to respect TV3 but it lost favour with me when it removed, perhaps at the behest of John Key(prime minister of New Zilland at the time)to get rid of those intelligent journalists that questioned and criticised the National governent.
    Still my thoughts go out to the ordinary workers at TV3 eg the guy at the end of the phone by the name of John. A while back I had to phone TV3 about a business matter and he answered the phone. He, like so many other ordinary workers at TV3, are the behind the scene people who will lose the most. Not the self serving faces of TV3 like Duncan Garner or Mark Richardson who are probably funded by the NZ National Party but the ordinary people like John.
    The thing is if Mediaworks is this deep into financial Store High In Transit(aka SHIT) then what other companies are infected by their(Mediaworks)inability to act with what I will call ACCOUNTABILITY????!!! That is there will be others who will lose out because of Mediaworks failures.
    Only this week we, the public, have been told what is happening in Mediaworks but surely and logically, this problem has been ongoing for more than one week???!!!!!!
    Out of all this I am so glad TVNZ now has John Campbell on their team because the rot in Mediaworks is something their shareholders must deal with AND NOT THE NEW ZEALAND TAXPAYERS.

  7. Sorry, but I won’t be shedding many tears at the demise of TV3. The channel has increasingly come to represent and promote glam arrogant right-wing Auckland yuppiedom. We can get along nicely without it.

  8. I would miss Mike and Sam, lots, if they’re not around. Mike McR has that calm-as-a-rock way of delivering news, but without losing human understanding and empathy. He’s iconic in our news history as a nation. Yes, I would miss him if he was not at the news helm.

    I would also miss Paddy if he was not around. He has genuineness and sincerity in all that he does. This is in contrast to much of the Project, where the projection is too often of arrogance and superficiality. They lost me after the ChCh massacre, when they rushed back with their “It’s all good!” slogan and ‘vibe’; the general “Ho, ho, Ha, ha” atmosphere, so soon after one of our great tragedies.

  9. If you think TV3 is a cultural treasure, you have very low standards.

    Like many others I gave in with NZ media years ago. It’s utter rubbish and the newspapers are no better.

  10. Hmmm pretty simple minded the old tax break argument when you don’t seem to understand that the nz film industry would be non existent if not for these subsidies

    • Nothing “simple minded” about it at all. I’m wholly unimpressed that plenty of the recipients of these tax breaks fly around in their own private jets, while many of the wonderfully generous taxpayers who support them live in their own cars.

  11. At the heart of Shonkey’s time as the blue God, there was a voice in the wilderness highlighting the plight of a growing number of Kiwi’s and giving assistance where possible or at least linking the right people together. He was an embarrassment to Shonkey as it didn’t fit in with the farcical alleged “rock star economy”.

    That voice was John Campbell and his show on TV3 .

    Campbell Live was very popular especially with kiwis who give a shit about other kiwis. Campbell was given the Spanish Archer and silenced on TV 3. First he was replaced by bucket of slime Duncan Garner alongside Barry Soper’s partner and then by the chocolate teapot show, The Project. They had Jonathan Coleman on just before the 2017 election. He as Minister of health had huge questions to answer about the diabolical state of our failing health system. I was curious who would ask him the tough questions as so many needed to be asked. They chose alleged comedian Josh Thompson who only asked Coleman one question. “How do you get cat vomit off carpets?”.

    Since then they have vomit inducing Duncan Garner with his brand of breakfast. TV3 won’t be missed in our home. Paddy Gower will but I’m sure he will show up elsewhere. I do hope Garner gets a suitable replacement job….Spokesman for the National Party would at least be transparent.

  12. FINDING IT HARD TO CARE! TV3? They shafted John Campbell they deserve to die! Yep bummer for the workers but we’ve all been there. If they’ve got any brains next time they’ll get a unionised job.

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