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Hot Topic NBR Focus: GMO
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TVNZ – why we deleted TVNZ7 shows from Ondemand

Is it spite? UPDATED with comment from Russell Brown.

Tue, 17 Jul 2012

UPDATED with comment from Russell Brown end of story.

Erstwhile Media7 host Russell Brown was surprised yesterday to see the show had disappeared from TVNZ Ondemand.

"So without telling us, TVNZ has scrapped all the TVNZ7 ondemand," Brown tweeted.

Other signature TVNZ7 programmes, like The Ad Show, Back Benches, Talk Talk and Greg King's The Court Report, have also disappeared from the state broadcaster's website video service.

Everyone's knows why TVNZ7 ceased broadcasting last month. Labour gave it limited funding. And when it ran out, National was not of a mind to renew it.

But why not leave the channel's programming on TVNZ Ondemand?


Not at all, says TVNZ spokeswoman Megan Richards.

"It had nothing to do with Media7 becoming Media3. We’re pleased the show has found a home," Ms Richards told NBR ONLINE.

"Most TVNZ 7 shows – about 100 – were removed from the site when the channel closed a couple of weeks back. Four shows stayed online for a period of 14 days after closure: The Court Report, Media 7, The Big Idea and Back Benches.

"The idea was to give people a last chance to catch up with anything they’d missed.

"Our experience is that viewing is highest in the week of transmission but drops off sharply after that, particularly if the shows are topical, so the two weeks incorporated a bit of a margin."

But why delete them at all?

"We’re more sensitive than we used to be about leaving material online indefinitely because we do have to pay for data storage.

"The decision to remove TVNZ 7 programming from Ondemand on the closure of the channel was made months ago as part of the preparation for closure – basically to tidy up loose ends."

(Some ends still need a bit more tidying. The Court Report is still featured in Ondemand listings, but yields only a gobbledygook error message). 

Some shows that originally screened on TVNZ, like Emily Perkins' The Good Word, remain Ondemand.

There are other bits and bobs that will remain on the service.

"These are either shows that will be re-screened on [Sky TV's] Heartland, or were kept as a component of the TVNZ7 educational facility The Learning Hub, which will remain available online until next year," Ms Richards said.

Media7 on YouTube, other shows not
"I'm cheered to learn that the issue is solely one of storage space at TVNZ, which suggests that the YouTube instances of Media7 will remain," Russell Brown told NBR ONLINE this morning.

"But it's a shame that The Court Report, Backbenches and Talk Talk aren't in the same position - that's quite a lot of knowledge and political speech disappearing all at once."

Meanwhile, Mediaworks ondemand manager Jared Nielsen has made a public offer house the Media7 back-catalogue on TV3's site - if it gets permission from TVNZ (the state broadcaster's Ms Richards did not dismiss the notion out of hand; the person who could address the issue is away untiil Friday, she said.).

Another outside possibility - Media7 might turn up on the ondemand service recently launched by Choice TV (the new Freeview channel backed by Top Shelf Productions, the same company that makes Media7, among many other shows).

Some NBR readers will think, What they hey - who cares what happens to a bunch of talkie liberal shows from TVNZ7? 

But this mini-controversy highlights an interesting issue: what happens to digital content (which is forever) as channels come and go in the fast-moving new media environment?

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TVNZ – why we deleted TVNZ7 shows from Ondemand