It may be time for television broadcasters to see the writing on the wall and cut their early evening news offering to a total of an hour – 30 minutes of news and the rest devoted to current affairs.
They have ample reason to think that the days have gone when they could hold large audiences until 7.30 pm with material that was even loosely news-based.
Warner Bros-Discovery NZ is already partway to that conclusion, announcing last week that The Project will not be renewed next year. TV3’s owner did say it would be replaced by “a redefined news show in the 7 pm slot”. The as yet undefined nature of that programme has led to speculation that Patrick Gower may be the beneficiary of the vacated timeslot.
However, both Discovery and TVNZ had a very hard 2022-3 financial year. In spite of both networks cracking hearty about prospects for the current year, the fact is that broadcast television is looking into the same sunset that newspapers have long contemplated.
Added to that is a drift away from news bulletins. When NZ on Air started its Where Are The Audiences? surveys in 2014, the total television audience peaked at about 70 per cent in the 6 pm to 8.30 pm timeslot. This year, the peak in that time slot was 37 per cent of the potential audience. Given the rate of decline, next year the news slot is likely to attract less than half the audience it boasted a decade earlier. Continue reading “Time to rethink the nightly news and current affairs offering”