Does 3D's end spell TV3's end?
OPINION: It's been a brutal year in TV3 land.
What with the drama of The Bachelor, Story's gun controversy, that time Natalia Kills and Willy Moon were fired from X Factor and of course the axing of the long-loved Campbell Live, .
Add to that plummeting ratings as 3 News struggles against its favoured older sibling on TV One, and the nation losing interest in reality TV.
* Mediaworks leaks reveal cuts and changes at TV3
* Staff on 3D were given just six days to save the show
Put it this way; things aren't going so well for these guys.
And now, 3D is on the chopping block, looking like it's set to go the same way as Campbell Live unless staff figure out a way to "save the show" in the next six days.
According to MediaWorks, "Long-form current affairs is challenging to make commercially viable all over the world. Given the way media consumption habits are changing, unfortunately continuing 3D may not be possible."
Can anyone else say cop-out?
Yes, media consumption habits are changing. We watch big-budget American action films on our cellphones and tablets and stream local content on demand.
But the nation still wants news. If the-powers-that-be somehow missed that message in the furor following Campbell Live's review, then there's something terribly wrong.
And let's just remember the reason the show was under review was to "improve commercial performance of the 7pm TV3 time-slot in a changing television market".
When viewers learned of the review, Campbell Live's ratings averaged 295,520 viewers per episode, including an audience of 333,960 on the Monday.
That's about 50,000 more viewers more than the previous week.
Since the show was axed, TV3's ratings have plummeted across the board.
3 News lost an audience that tuned in to see Campbell Live after it, and Jono and Ben lost the audience that would stay on after that.
So how did that plan to "improve commercial performance" work out?
Despite this, MediaWorks are thinking about axing another long-form current affairs show.
And when we say current affairs, we mean in-depth, investigative journalism - not 7 Days. The kind of journalism that frees an innocent man wrongly accused, the kind of journalism this country banded together to prove we need and want.
The worst part is the six-day deadline to find a solution.
Anika Moa and 3D reporter Paula Penfold joked on Twitter that said solution would be something Bachelor-esque, with journalists parading around shirtless or in bikinis.
It was a joke, yes. But between a show where they do in fact parade around in bikinis, and a show which provides quality journalism, which is the one under review and which has just been deemed worthy of a second season?
Television is going to the dogs. We're a production meeting away from Keeping up with Mike Hosking, a two-hour special on that time he vacuumed his car.
But even in the reality television stakes, TV3 is struggling. The Block had its worst debut ever this year, and The X Factor's audience plummeted so far that it - as well as Masterchef - are for the chop.
And on top of all this, 3 News recently hit its lowest ratings in four years.
MediaWorks says this was because of Bathurst. But others say 3 News - and TV3 as a whole - have always struggled to keep up against the longer-running TVNZ news slots.
I know, in the end, it's about money. But call me crazy if it seems ditching the channel's two major sources of investigative journalism does not help their standing against TVNZ, let alone the channel's brand and the country's trust in it.
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