Saturday, 19 May 2012

A question on NZ on Air

Over at the TVHE blog Matt Nolan asks A question about media7:
Now the question I have is this, if the resource is so valuable why aren’t people willing to pay enough for it to be on pay-per-view? Surely, if it is adding such an important view to peoples lives they will be willing to put funds towards it.
For me the question is a little more general, Why is the government involved in funding TV at all? I mean government funding gave us Shortland Street, need I say more.

Eric Crampton argues,
You can make a merit good case for subsidising local content (note that merit good just mean “Nice stuff we think you should watch more of than you’d choose to do on your own, just ’cause we think it’s nice); you can make an external benefits market failure case for subsidising more local news content than would otherwise be provided, and especially in the categories of news programming that would not otherwise be provided (external benefit here works through increased voter knowledge as voting input).
Now I'm not sure how this argument applies to crap like Shortland Street.

As to local news what are the "external benefits"? How does funding stuff no one watches increase "voter knowledge"? Whatever that may be. Are there not better ways to increase "voter knowledge"?

1 comment:

Eric Crampton said...

I didn't say I thought the argument *held*, just that it could be made.

It would not surprise me if optimum involved some funding of news content. But, as you say, the problem is getting people to watch. News orgs have figured that out too, though. That's why they bundle the human interest crap we hate with the real news.