Kiwi State-Owned TV Bans Rival as it Unveils 'Worst Ever' Results

13 September 2007

AUCKLAND: "Rome wasn't built in a day," opined Television New Zealand ceo Rick Ellis as he unveiled the state-owned broadcaster's worst-ever set of financials.

Given that he has been in the hotseat for only one full year, Ellis can afford to be cavalier about the numbers.

He promised that the $4.5 million ($701.6k; €50.7k; £345.3k) loss for the year to June 30 - the state television company's first ever dive into the red - would be transmuted into a $11.3m profit next year and a $16m profit in 2009.

Ellis blamed the debacle on a major fall in ratings for TVNZ's flagship channel: "There is no doubt that TV One had lost its way in terms as a brand," he said.

Triggering the lost advertising revenue was confusion about what TV One stood for in marketing terms. Moreover, shows on sister channel TV2 such as Lost and Desperate Housewives, had not rated as well as expected.

Ellis fronted a briefing to selected journalists and financial brokers yesterday - but banned a news crew from commercial rival TV3 "because they were from the opposition".

TV3 news boss Mark Jennings said he was shocked that TV3 staff who sought to cover the briefing were refused entry by TVNZ.

"This is a public event about the performance of a taxpayer-owned body. It was a valid news event and it would [have been] covered as such," he said.

Jennings says he plans to raise the issue with the Media Freedom Committee, a body set up by NZ communications organisations to ensure their rights to cover news.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff