John Drinnan on business

John Drinnan is a Herald business writer and media commentator

Media: TV3 to get some value out of Henry

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Paul Henry. Photo / Doug Sherring
Paul Henry. Photo / Doug Sherring

TV3 bosses will finally be getting value out of the MediaWorks group deal for Paul Henry, who is likely to be back on screen around February.

Speaking at TV3's 2012 programming launch yesterday, Henry offered very vague outlines of a half-hour show to screen at 7pm on Sundays on TV3 starting next year - maybe in February.

But what sort of approval has been given the show by MediaWorks' financial masters? And is Henry chained to the broadcaster?

Advertisers at the launch welcomed the prospect of a new hit show.

Henry has his detractors, but he also has religious fans who are missing him.

There are thousands of people who don't listen to drive time RadioLive and are hanging out for his return to TV.

But given the high price MediaWorks paid to keep Henry on a five-year deal - and the television division's significant share of the costs - it is surprising so little has been developed.

A MediaWorks source said TV3's share of his MediaWorks package - believed to be $400,000 to $500,000 - was higher than its share of his talents.

TV3 is in tough financial straits but is understood to be subsidising the radio division.

The Paul Henry Show will be produced by Anna Lynch, who made the first two series of New Zealand's Next Top Model for TV3.

TV3 says it will be made without New Zealand on Air funding.

The Sunday timeslot means that Henry is safely kept apart from the news operations and star journalist John Campbell.

Henry is an important property for MediaWorks. He has been secured with a five-year deal but such deals always have out clauses, albeit costly ones.

Before signing to MediaWorks Henry has been happy to promote himself to selected media as seeking TV presenting roles in the United States.

It was intriguing recently to see that Anthony Flannery, Henry's former TVNZ boss - and passionate fan of his Breakfast hi-jinks - had been appointed as the new head of news and current affairs at Australia's ailing Channel Ten.

Ten is rethinking its approach, including a new breakfast show.

In my opinion there might be opportunities across the Tasman if, for one reason or another, The Paul Henry Show did not make it to air on TV3.

THE REAL THING

Never mind the All Blacks, dairies are going all red. Coca-Cola Amatil has been painting the town red, putting Coke-branded signs at 102 new sites around games and fan zones for the Rugby World Cup.

Spokeswoman Suzy Clarkson said the new signs and upgrading of existing Coke-branded dairies was "to make sure our marketplace was looking as slick and attractive to visitors and consumers as possible".

Clarkson - whom you might remember as a former news anchor for Prime TV - said the work was not just external signs, but also interior upgrades and window signs using a new microdot technique.

COKE CAVE

Coca-Cola is not the only brand that provides free paint jobs to turn dairies into billboards. Frucor brand V and the Sunday Star-Times are active - and there are shops painted for Cadbury and Anchor Milk.

But Coke appears to be the biggest promoter.

In the New Zealand Herald's canvas liftout last Saturday, high-profile thespian Oliver Driver was unhappy with the trend, and listed among his hates "Coke turning dairies into billboards - what's up with that".

Clarkson said she was surprised by the comment since this form of promotion had been around a long time. But the scale of some of these branding statements seems to exaggerate the trend.

A case in point is the Megha Superette near the intersection of Great North Rd and Ponsonby Rd in Auckland central. The Coke signs cover windows and wholly obscures the shop from the outside, making it look like a dark cave.

WHATEVER HAPPENED ...

Whatever happened to Jonathan Marshall, the former Sunday Star-Times reporter who was at the centre of a row between the paper and Mark Hotchin's wife, Amanda?

Following a front-page lead article in the paper that tracked the family down to Hawaii, she denied saying, "We don't have to justify where we get our money from or what it is spent on to anyone. I don't care what anyone says."

Her allegations against the paper and Marshall were championed by media trainer and media commentator Brian Edwards, though the paper stoutly defended its reporter and its report.

Marshall was also the author of a SST article that wrongly reported the circumstances of a teenager's death, leading to an apology. Marshall subsequently resigned.

It is understood that he worked briefly for the television production company Greenstone but is now based in Sydney. Marshall has also worked briefly for the Herald on Sunday.

He had a controversial start to his career. Readers might remember his early forays from a period in the early 2000s when he contributed to a website with David Herkt that eventually caused a stir. Some thought NZ Tabloid was provocative, others that it was sleazy.

SUPER 15 ANTICLIMAX

Sky Television chief executive John Fellet is happy with the outcome of the Rugby World Cup. Not just the All Blacks' winning but the operating and financial performance of the company last week.

After its annual meeting last week Sky's share price slumped with lower profit expectations that appear based on additional costs for new channels. But Fellet said yesterday that Sky had come out of its RWC obligations - including its host broadcaster contract - on top of things.

He said a key approach had been to limit spending on infrastructure for cup coverage items that would be able to be used after the tournament. The spidercam device - which he said had made a difference for viewers in several cup games - was expensive so would not be used for the Super 15. However that might change if it could share costs with overseas broadcasters.

He expected the onset of the Super 15 might initially be an anticlimax, but that viewers figures would pick up again.

BEAM ME UP

There have been sideways glances at the rise of junior Sky sports commentator, Scotty Stevenson, during the Rugby World Cup.

Sports journalism is a world within the media world, and Stevenson has been on the sidelines of Sky rugby coverage for several years, but he has drifted onto the hallowed turf of calling games, and his profile has risen during the cup while he has called some of the smaller matches such as Russia versus the US.

Among his sports media colleagues Stevenson has both fans and detractors. The fans say he is a breath of fresh air, and appeals to younger sports fans. The critics say he has not "paid his dues" and is too offhand. "He called the Hawkes Bay Magpies the Pies, for God's sake," lamented one.

SkySport insiders say Stevenson is ambitious and popular with the powers that be, especially Sky TV rugby boss Andrew Fyfe.

- NZ Herald

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