Media3 review: New show strikes atttitude

17:00, Aug 12 2012
NEW ATTITUDE: Russell Brown, Sarah Daniell and Jose Barbosa of Media3.

When a lot of us were fussing about the demise of TVNZ7 one programme that was frequently bemoaned was Media7, the programme in which the media takes a critical look at itself.

It's moved into its new home at TV3 (Saturday, 10.25am), changed its name to Media3, and had its housewarming. To write about a programme which looks at its peers leaves this reviewer reminded of those phone books on the cover of which is a picture of the phone book's cover on which there's a picture of the phone book's cover on which ... agggh!

It's a courageous move, going from a channel which had the plug pulled on it to one that struggles against the two major players, TVNZ and Sky TV. So it's not surprising that the programme strikes an attitude - sort of plucky cool intelligent dude meets ... what exactly? There's a bit of geek, in the solid form of Jose Barbosa, who pronounces the J in his name as a J not an H, who calls his iPad an iPooed (I rewound to make sure) and who snuggles down under one of those peggy square blankets that knitting bee groups still make for their church fairs.

He's there to tell us that it cost zillions to get the rights to broadcast the Olympics. Yes, the Olympics are the shot-putter in the room for this first episode, and although I unsportingly hope they ignore them completely, of course they don't.

There's hard facts: TV3 had the right to show 12 minutes a day of the Olympics (which is only three 1500-metre races). There's whimsy: the replay of Olympic ads for the channel that is Media3's new home, showing TV3's team, who not only covered the games but appeared to have coached the athletes.

Like all media-watching programmes, this one is dependent on someone in the media world making a muck-up: TVNZ calling Valerie Adams' silver medal "a HUGE disappointment".

Then the softest of targets: the American media, most specifically Fox News, which are always asking for it, especially when they're so deeply stupid about the mass shooting at a Sikh temple.

They mess up completely, not knowing the difference between Sikh and Muslim, and then CNN compounds it with something equally pig-ignorant. Media3 is blissfully offended.

But if you're a programme looking at the media (and only occasionally sliding off the point, as when Tracey Nelson gets dangerously close to enthusing about gymnastics as opposed to commenting on the commentators) then you have to get serious.

Charles Mabbett describes his normal Olympics-following day: on a sofa surrounded by every medium available. Smartphone manically tweeting at him, iPad apps going beserk, television giving multiple options, tablet live streaming - just listening to him I'm whimpering, pulling the duvet over my head, longing for the comfort of the softly turning page of the newspaper, the quiet murmur of National Radio, the distant spring-like cheeping of birds in the garden.

But there's no time for silly old nostalgia for the way things were. Martin Gillman and Russell Brown are eye-balling each other and Brown (who's good at doing grim) is asking for the bad news.

Someone has done the sums and looked at where the advertising dollar is going and the word isn't all that good for newspapers. The only good news is that if you're going to get all that stuff from all round the world free on line, then it's got to come from somewhere, and it's often from newspapers, which are subsidising your right to read it free with the sales of the real thing.

Even before I'd watched Media3 complaining about the insensitive positioning of a song in the lead-up to an American news programme I'd already written the following: that I'm not the only one who's noticed that Sky, which we pay for partly to avoid the scourge of ad breaks, increasingly interrupts its programmes with advertising.

Admittedly the advertising is often for its own programmes on other channels, but it grates. And never more than last week, when I was watching, on the History Channel, one of the best documentary series ever made. On came the ads - mostly for the Food Channel, and culminating in Gordon Ramsay telling us about "food to die for". Then back to my documentary: Auschwitz.


The Dominion Post