Thursday, November 17, 2005


Over at the NZ Herald premium content blog (an anarchist with a $99 subscription and a devil-may-care attitude to outdated copyright laws) there is an op-ed piece on Television NZ (TVNZ), the 2 channel state broadcaster (NZ has about 3 1/2 analogue channels depending on where you live, what the tallest building is in your area and whether it is raining).
One of the things i have yet to figure out is why these pieces never seperate content from medium. They start a paragraph with a phrase like 'programmes of interest to NZ that may not be commercially profitable..' and end with 'so the govt should invest in a digital TV network like the BBC...' or some such.
These are two completely different questions.
Yes, i believe in protecting your countries heritage and creating that intangible quality of 'shared myths' that seems to somehow lead to people identifying themselves with a particular patch of dirt. This is a good thing. And i would have thought that delivering these messages to as many people as possible in the most cost-effective way would be the over-riding concern.
Hence, screw the expensive infrastructure, deliver it using a dumb network and let people play the programs on their PC, iPod, TV+box, whatever the hell they like. Now if only we had some sort of high-speed dumb network that could deliver all this data right into people's homes.... oh wait, thats right, we do - IT'S CALLED THE INTERNET. Or at least, other countries have the internet, NZ still has a monopolist telecoms company that tries to convince every one that 56k is enough bandwidth for anyone (now why does that sound familiar?).
If you want to be like the BBC, go to their BBC news website, click on a story and watch it play. Wow, just like TV mum....
Now don't get me started on the irrelevence of Maori TV - an (expensive/govt funded) enterprise built on training people for the exciting world of the 1960's... Just think how many Powerbooks and digicams you could have bought for the reporting teams coupled to a cool back end geek network for distribution - throw in user-supplied content and a social filtering/ranking system and with a little luck - the premier content site for NZ going into the 21st century and a talent pool of world-wide relevence. An opportunity lost....


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