Will Campbell Live survive?

Sometimes Campbell Live produces excellent shows. On other occasions it jumps the shark.

Stuff reports:

Just a fortnight after its tenth anniversary,  is facing the axe.


In the last week of March, when Campbell Live celebrated a decade on air, it also saw some of the worst ratings in its history. According to analysis by throng.co.nz, it averaged an audience of 154,576 per night for that week – a week in which Seven Sharp exceeded 500,000 viewers for the first time.

Campbell Live has shed around 100,000 daily viewers in the last year. There will be a reason for that. Part of it is the ratings success of Seven Sharp, but that is not the whole story. They need to ask why have they lost 100,000 viewers?

If you go back two years, then they peaked at 400,000 daily viewers. Today it is 150,000. Again, something has gone wrong.

The Herald reported:

The document asked: “Is the 7pm slot still the right time for hard-hitting current affairs in the changing landscape of media consumption?”

It listed as one of the options bringing back Campbell’s show in its present format, or an amended one. Other options were for a Jono and Ben-style entertainment show or a tabloid-style factual show akin to Hard Copy.

I like Jono and Ben, but would not like to see them replace Campbell Live.

I think 7 pm is the right time for hard-hitting current affairs, but it is obvious that Campbell Live is alienating viewers.

The question is why?

Former Labour leader David Cunliffe asked if Mediaworks was axing the show because it was “too progressive”. 

If the show gets axed, it is because so many people have stopped watching it. Is that because it is too “progressive” (code for left)? I don’t know. But I do hear a lot from people who are politically neutral or left leaning that it is just simply too preachy, and tells you what you should be thinking.

Sometimes Campbell Live produces excellent shows. On other occasions it jumps the shark – for instance the conspiracy theory episode on Kim Dotcom which was ludicrous.

There are lots of people saying they want to save Campbell Live. Signing a petition won’t save it. Ranting about Mediaworks won’t save it. What will save it is working out why they now only get 150,000 daily viewers instead of 400,000, and having more people watch it.

Political commentator David Farrar posts at Kiwiblog.