SCOUT.co.nz is terrible, but the whole news industry is moving this way

Hosking CrosshairsSo I am in shock at the decision by newly launched gossip magazine SCOUT.co.nz to use rifle cross-hairs to target Mike Hosking in what they apparently call an ‘exclusive’ which was that he vacuumed his car in a public street…OMG Stop the presses!!! I’m shocked that this is a story, I’m shocked that this is the way the whole news industry is moving (more on that soon) but I’m mostly shocked that whoever made the ‘cross hairs’ decision seems to have no knowledge of what terrible occurrences that exact idea has lead to in the very recent past.

Anyone remember Sarah Palin targeting Gabby Giffords?

If not let me remind you. Sarah Palin has targeted 20 Democratic seats to encourage Republican voters to do all they can to win them back for the Good Old Party using rhetoric like ‘don’t retreat, reload!’  The map that was drawn up had cross-hairs on the seats and on one fateful day, a mentally unwell person took Sarah Palin’s advice a little too literally and stormed a Gabby Giffords event and shot her in the head.

Now I am not saying that NZ has the same culture that exists with guns in the US, but anyone with half an ounce of intelligence would know this is not the way to report ‘news’ even gossip but the post on SCOUT.co.nz mentioned the salary that Hosking was on, the price he just paid for his house and the street where he lived. The only outcome from the post was to engender a negative feeling, a feeling of jealously and hatred towards Hosking and if an imbalanced person felt like checking him out he or she now has a pretty good idea on how to find him after hours.

Hilary Barry posted a brilliant retort to the ‘story’ by posting an image of herself vacuuming her car with the hashtag #stalkingisnotok and the best item I’ve seen written on SCOUT today is from Russell Brown who goes into a lot of detail on the story, behind the story.

Many of her former Herald colleagues believed she had, at best, jumped before she’d been pushed, and that the final straw had been not her unethical treatment of waitress Amanda Bailey but her ludicrous “conifers” column. The belief was that she was due to be dispensed with in a reshuffle after the departure of editor-in-chief Tim Murphy.

I am also saddened that this is the path that all the media is taking. I am saddened to see when I visit TVNZ News that most of the video on that site is 40 seconds or shorter and focusing on things that rate heavily on Facebook, I think that content producers are missing the point and assuming what we, as consumers, are prepared to spend our time watching and reading and I think they are wrong. Yes there is a place for ‘bite sized’ content, but not at the expense of serious, interesting, challenging news that informs and entertains. We are focusing too heavily on the ‘entertains’ and it’s becoming very un-entertaining.

News radio shows doing 2 minute interviews on the international intricacies of the Syrian Refugee Crisis, television news spending 23 seconds of video on a tragedy where 4 people died…it’s not right and it sure as hell is not good broadcasting which is why most people I know, most people under 40 are turning to alternative sources of news online to get what we need and want, not what is dictated by 9 ad breaks an hour or a necessity to have a certain number of click throughs.

SCOUT.co.nz is terrible, it’s a product that doesn’t work in NZ as we don’t have celebrities, we have people with high profile. Peter Jackson and Lorde. they’re celebrities, daylight is second to the next highest profile person in NZ and they come in well below the thresh hold of what one needs to be classed a celebrity.

If anyone is interested in starting a Give a Little page with the object being to raise money to put a Private Eye on the people running SCOUT.co.nz to expose their lives and put all the excitement of them walking their dog, or washing their car online for all to see, then I’ll happily donate the first $100 and write the story.

Has Duncan Garner been playing the field?

Duncan Garner is on Ashley Madison and he is denying any knowledge of how he got on there. I think someone needs to educate Duncan Garner on how membership websites operate.

Firstly when you sign up, you get a notification email confirming that your address is valid, if someone signs up your email address for you, you would stop the process but not confirming your address.

There is also the question of costs. Not having any experience with Ashley Madison my understanding is that this is a paid service and you would only receive email from potential suitors if you paid for them. Now if this is incorrect I’d appreciate someone letting me know as it wouldn’t be fair to Mr. Garner to cast aspersions, but if it is correct that one needs to pay to receive correspondence from potential sexual partners then we are to believe that firstly someone used Duncan Garners email address, then figured out a way to confirm that address without Garner knowing, then paid for him to receive propositions from females.

Add that to Mr. Garner’s admission that he is on Tinder ‘for research purposes’ and this looks all a little suspicious.

With Garner and his crew being the masters of ambush journalism (scroll to 2.21) I think a journalist should have popped over to his New Windsor home to ask his wife, or him, about why he was on these services with a camera in his face

I think someone needs to ask Duncan what his Story is (sorry I couldn’t help myself)

Natalia Kills performance is worthy of a Razzie

So there area  couple of possibilities here with the “controversy” around Natalia Kills and her husband Willy Moon.

I could go all ‘third form bitchy girl’ on her and point out that is she is looking for originality whilst producing tedious, benign, pablum…and I quote

Sex, love, control, vanity
Sex, love, control, vanity
Sex, love, control, vanity (and the mirrors gonna fall tonight)
Sex, love, control, vanity (and the mirrors gonna fall tonight)
Sex, love, control, vanity (and the mirrors gonna fall tonight)
Sex, love, control, vanity (and the mirrors gonna fall tonight)
Vanity, vanity

Or point out that her husband seems to have stolen the idea for his video as pointed out beautifully on Youtube by Lauren Mulcahy

Or that why would someone be looking for originality in a talent show where everyone sings covers…anyone else see the problem there?

I could point out that Willy Moon’s most successful song ever got itself to #175 on the French music charts, or indeed not how successful Ms. Kills has been getting several of her songs into European charts, notably a single getting all the way to #96 in the Netherlands.

I could also point out that whist she was berating the contestant, the host was standing beside him…dressed exactly the same.

I could point these things out, but I won’t because that would be playing their game.

There are two possibilities here, the first is that Natalia Kills was instructed by Producers to go off on someone to make the show more engaging, the second is she genuinely did it herself. Both possibilities unfortunately show that Ms. Kills may be gifted as a musician, but intellectually she is lacking.

If the Producers of X-Factor instructed her to play the Simon Cowell card, then she deserves this years Razzie award for worst performance ever as she well over shot, demonstrating no understanding of the market she is in, showing no judgement in how she went about it, and now faces the backlash. If she genuinely believes what she said, which is basically “my husband owns the intellectual property to slick hair and a suit” (something Stuff.co.nz debunked beautifully today) and got offended that someone had copied him, then she is a genuine moron.

My gut tells me that the comments were a ruse, either under instruction or not, to ‘liven’ up the show. If Natalia made the comments off her own volition then my guess is she is trying to do a Keith Urban and move from a smaller market to get picked up as a judge in the UK on a larger show.

I haven’t watched any of X-Factor other than the video of the incident today, and I don’t think this will cause me to start watching. The idea of creating controversy to gain audience doesn’t work long term, especially in NZ, some viewers may tune in tonight to see the train wreck, but it’ll likely hurt the programme long term and it doesn’t held the individual as we’re not a big enough market to make the ‘news’ turn into massive sales.

So, if we agree that Natalia Kills ‘aint the sharpest tool in the shed, we then have to also acknowledge that her husband is far dimmer than even she as he went off on a rant accusing the contestant of looking like Norman Bates and because of his wife’s critique, suggesting he looked like he was going to kill everybody. Does he realise that he just said that they guy…who looks like him…looks like a serial killer?

So what do we do, firstly I think it would be brilliant for the contestant (who no doubt will now get the highest votes tonight) should cover a song either by Mr. Moon or Ms. Kills next week (that idea is copyright Pat Brittenden 🙂 ) and the rest of us should probably be happy that Mediaworks is obviously an equal opportunity employer allows the mentally deficient to work on camera.

UPDATE

Obviously in late breaking news Ms. Kills and Mr. Moon are now no longer part of the X-Factor Family

The new Paul Henry show

PHENRYI have had some dealings with people inside the new Paul Henry show of recent weeks along with some of the sales team at Mediaworks and I find it intriguing to see the nature in which they are ‘selling’ the new venture.

It’s being spoken of as a Goliath of a show that is going to take the world by storm which makes sense as Mediaworks is currently trying to ‘big up’ the product.

I’m as interested as anyone to see the final product, but I wonder what the new show is actually going to achieve…other than save money.

Radiolive has been the bit-player in a theatre that is talkback radio since it’s inception in 2005 with Newstalk ZB being dominant and not ever taking a hit from having competition in the market place. As an example when I was working 3 – 4 overnight shows on ZB I had the number one show in the country with an average or 100,000 – 120,000 listeners nationwide, per week consistently for 5 years. Over the same period, in prime time day slots, Michael Laws and Willie and JT on Radio live, 5 days a week had about 50,000 listeners. The same discrepancy could be seen if you compared drive show and breakfasts shows on the two stations and things haven’t really changed all that much. Yes there’s been a 5% growth here and a 2% drop off there, but for the most ZB is correct in their advertising that “daylight comes second.” Why there is such a discrepancy between the brands is for another day, but I think I can speak to that as well having worked for both brands.

Up until 2014 there were two products on the Mediaworks brands, Firstline on TV3 and Marcus Lush on Radiolive, so to take both products and make them one will undoubtedly save money, not necessarily in year one as there is a major capital outlay for a new studio etc…but if you now have half (my assertion) the staff you had you are going to see savings long term so I can see the new Paul Henry product as a money savings product but as a challenge to ZB or indeed Breakfast on TVNZ…I don’t see that in the stars.

I see no evidence that people will turn off ZB or TVNZ and head to the new hybrid show. TV3 and Radiolive, as individual entities, have put up good options in the past to challenge the status quo to no avail, in fact Paul Henry was one of those people when he work on the Drive show on Radiolive, which made no depreciable difference to Larry Williams audience on ZB. I don’t see this Paul Henry as anything other than the next incarnation of an attempt to take down the established order. Now, I like Paul Henry, so don’t see me as a ‘hater’ but we have seen very talented broadcasters before try and fail…why should this be any different.

When Sir Paul Holmes went to PrimeTV the audience didn’t follow, we are creatures of habit and those stations which the industry calls ‘heritage brands’ have loyal audiences who don’t travel. TVNZ and ZB are heritage brands. You might see that people float around for a few months then it’s highly likely normal transmission will resume. I’m sure we’ll see press releases that point to a 5 point swing in the 25-54 demographic, but if you see that it usually means “we’re still getting our butts kicks and we need to find any positive point in this whole thing.”

There is also one last issue that the producers of Paul Henry’s new show have to address, and it’s the elephant in the room right now, and that is that this idea that a cross media platform may actually deliver an inferior product to what is currently available. It might actually turn people off both products as the show tries to be a jack of all trades as it may end up being the master of none. The radio game especially has some very exact nuances that may be lost, overlooked or just impossible to achieve when making a television product. Is this going to be a television show that is broadcast on the radio, or a radio show with pictures…both of which will leave viewers/listeners of the lesser valued medium unsatisfied, or will it be a genuine hybrid of both radio and television? But my question is how will that work and is it even possible?

My suspicions are that you will see an improvement on the audience for TV3 that won’t effect the Breakfast audience, and not a significant change to the Radiolive audience.