How ironic is this? TVNZ chairwoman Dame Therese Walsh and the company’s CEO Kevin Kenrick, two Christian names that should set alarm bells ringing, told a parliamentary select committee they would “not rule out” buying Stuff’s rapidly declining assets, or Radio NZ. Ironic? Well, at least for me because nigh on four decades back I served on the Broadcasting Enquiry Commission which split TVNZ and Radio NZ into separate entities.
TVNZ’s financial performance is abysmal. Far better it concentrate on improving that whereupon it should be sold, that’s of course assuming there’s someone dumb enough to buy it, the days of television as a license to print money as once famously asserted, being long gone.
The rationale put to our committee for its continuing state ownership was it would serve up quality programmes which the private sector would ignore. No-one could possibly claim it’s doing that now, although Radio NZ is.
Over the subsequent 40 years I’ve occasionally argued in articles that TVNZ should be sold. And throughout that same period, largely due to viewer access to so many quality foreign channels, as with the print media, TVNZ has lost 90% of its value.
There’s no more reason for taxpayers to own a television channel than a chain of brothels. We should cut and run before it’s totally value-less.