TVNZ has dropped out of the news and current affairs categories in the 2017 New Zealand Television Awards.

The broadcaster says news should be part of the Canon Awards for journalism.

Awards organisers say it is not a big thing, but I believe the decision undermines the TV awards, which are being rebooted after a five-year gap.

Finalists in the various categories will be named on October 8, along with the winners in the craft section, for things such as camerawork and editing.


The winners of the TV awards - the best programmes, directors, actors and so on - will be named at a function on November 30. Because of the gap in the awards, this year's will cover the period from July 1, 2015 to June 30 this year.

Awards committee spokeswoman Tamar Munch said the TVNZ decision to drop out would not diminish the awards.

At one time, video news might have been focused solely on TVNZ and MediaWorks, but these days other media were actively involved in video news and current affairs, she said.

TVNZ spokeswoman Georgie Hills said it would support independent programme makers' entries. Withdrawal from the news categories was a different issue.

"There are limited categories solely dedicated to news and current affairs - the awards are focused on entertainment categories," she said.

"We think news and entertainment content is distinct."

The awards should be complementary to the Canon Media Awards for journalism, she said.

Hills played down a suggestion that TVNZ had pulled out because it did not want to pay for entry fees, but confirmed cost was a factor.


That seems surprising, given that entries for the awards cost $150 plus GST per entry, which must be chicken feed in the context of TVNZ's finances.

Categories converge

Few people outside those working in the sector will have been too upset by the lack of a TV awards show since 2012. But given the welter of media and marketing awards, the absence of entertainment is odd in a country that once heralded the screen industry as one of our big hopes for export innovation.

Maybe TVNZ is trying to send a signal to its government masters. Last month it recorded a $1.4 million profit on $316m in revenue.

TVNZ's withdrawal will become part of the chequered history of the NZ Television Awards, as they have run in various forms since the 1970s. While the last NZTV Awards were in 2012, there have been some film awards since then.

Media shows are complicated now by the many cross-overs and co-operation deals among different media. As technology and markets change, all modes of media are converging, and all are trying to maintain their own views of what counts as quality.

Mixed media projects such as The Valley from Stuff, which also appeared on Three, are a case in point.

There were few tears when the TV Awards were not renewed after the 2012 event. While competently judged, the news categories had become a marketing tool for TVNZ and MediaWorks, with their respective newsrooms seeming to take turns at picking up the top prizes.

The Canon Media Awards, meanwhile, have become the Grandaddy of journalism awards, beginning in 2011, but carrying on the legacy of the Qantas Media Awards going back to 1991, and even earlier awards that started way back in the mid-1970s.