Honestly, I wouldn't give you a cent for TV3.

I'm sure there is some value in the brand, the history, the loyalty of some audience, but a buyer would be taking that and cancelling it out almost immediately with the cold hard truth that making it pay is going to cost an awful lot more than any value you might place on signage and Dancing with the Stars.

By the way, these comments are in no way designed to make life at TV3 any more difficult than it already is.

Media is hard work, always has been and I have been in it for 37 years.


If you can make a living and prosper in the media then you're lucky, and I have been in a number of circumstances where times have been tight, futures have been shaky and people have been worried.

As is so often the case, the plight of many is the result of a few at the top, and circumstances well beyond the control of those on the factory floor.

I think we can all agree media in general in this country has issues.

Radio is strong and growing. It is the only branch of local mainstream media doing well.

Linear television is in trouble, no more so than Three.

Papers, whether print or digital, have been fighting a difficult if not losing battle for years.

Stuff has an owner that has tried to sell them. It has not succeeded, and now finds itself with an asset it doesn't want and cannot offload.

How do you think that makes the staff feel?


TVNZ doesn't make money, doesn't pay a dividend and will in some way shape or form be reshuffled into something else involving Radio New Zealand and possibly Maori TV by a Government that's due to make an announcement before the end of the year.

By the way I hope the Commerce Commission is watching all this.

Having turned down a merger between NZME and Stuff, then if Stuff falls over, what would it rather have had?

A turbo-charged NZME having taken Stuff off life support, or even more journos out of work?

Which brings us to the slightly dramatic part of the TV3 story. This is the line often run as to just how vital it is to democracy to have a well-functioning, thriving media.

In TV3's case that is only a tiny part of the equation. When we talk of the media's value to democracy, we really are only talking about news and current affairs which is but one division.

If TV3 folds and Married at First Sight is never produced here again it will not be missed, nor to be blunt will vast swathes of programmes that added nothing to our lives, and far less democracy, apart from mild entertainment for those who chose to watch.

And that is perhaps the hardest truth of all.

As visible as a TV3 demise might be, it in reality is no different to any other business that tried to leverage a product or service in the market place and failed.

TV3 has never really rated. Its noise, its brand, its edgy presence loved by many others in the media who drink at the same Ponsonby bars has clearly never translated into what counts - money.

Media is not a charity, except for news and current affairs which is at least partly a social service. The rest is just commodity - people either want it or don't.

The market in many respects has never been kind to TV3. Look at their history - this is not the first time they have been in trouble.

They have tried a campaign of late to blame TVNZ, but my most recent experience with TVNZ involved being on a programme with an audience of 500,000 a night, up against a series of programmes with well under half that, in some cases so much under, that they got cancelled.

That had nothing to do with TVNZ's owner. It had to do with what was put on screen. And that ultimately is how the media works: you give people what they want and if you can do that, you can sell advertising around it, not just to pay the bills, but also make a profit.

That theoretically simple, yet realistically complex equation, has never changed, and sadly TV3 has never really cracked it.