The New Zealand Herald

Mike Hosking

The free-to-air operators in Australia, mainly Nine and Channel 7, use sport to great ratings effect.

- Continued from A36

occasion from another era representi­ng a club many countries either don’t give any time to thinking about or want out of completely.

Let’s be honest, when Mark Blumsky, former Wellington Mayor, shoe salesman and short-term MP, turns up as a lawn bowler for Niue, you know you’re not exactly dealing with the elite of the elite.

So having watched nothing of the Games, perhaps it is fair to surmise some of the complaints will be based around the placement of ads, the understand­ing of an event, the critical nature of timing and so on.

If that’s the case, it doesn’t surprise me, rememberin­g of course TVNZ hasn’t done this sort of thing for an age, and it will be testing, if not breaking, its technical ability and personnel, and I suspect the decisions on squash are your classic example of an operator that’s pretty rusty in the fine art of delivering what the punter needs, wants and expects.

But all this potentiall­y of course is a precursor to the really big deal in sport, the Rugby World Cup. TVNZ and Spark are your preferred bidders, which has also been part of the long list of complaints, the general gist of which goes something like: if this (the Commonweal­th Games) is the quality of their sports broadcasti­ng skill, God help us when the World Cup arrives.

Now what’s really important about all of this from TVNZ’s point of view, is sport could, should and may well play a major role in its future, especially if it can get someone big like a telco with the money to pay for it.

Free-to-air TV is in trouble, and seriously so — every year the audience gets smaller and it will never be bigger than it is right now. So what to do? News and current affairs is one answer, and they do it with great success; their numbers tell you all you need to know about our appetite for it.

Reality TV is dying, and local versions of franchises we’ve been watching for a decade are not creative or new, and the days of new American or British series are equally in trouble given we’ve all seen them by the time they land here. But sport is what binds us all. Netball this very week, it is argued, has suffered because it sold out to Sky, no one watches it, therefore kids don’t play it, alternativ­e sports come along and before you know it we are losing to Malawi.

The free-to-air operators in Australia, mainly Nine and Channel 7, use sport to great ratings effect.

So the prospect of sport for TVNZ is not to be underestim­ated.

Spark has the money and a digital outlet, TVNZ does the delayed freeto-air . . . happy days.

But, if that is the model for the future, there will always be ads and lots of them because there is no free lunch. So stop moaning and get used to it.

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand