Gov't attempting to make TVNZ public service b'caster
AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Commercial-free children’s TV viewing may soon be a reality if New Zealand’s new Centre-Left government has its way.Broadcasting minister Marian Hobbs is meeting with the advertising industry over the issue — a sensitive one for the television industry, which exists almost entirely on advertising. Hobbs and the Labor-led Government are promoting the move through pubcaster TVNZ. The Government is fine-tuning the web, removing its current profit priorities with the intention of making TVNZ more of a public service broadcaster. At the moment it operates like a private company, though it is owned by the government. Hobbs hopes to influence other broadcasters, by discussing the issue with advertisers and by seeking a wider ban. “It would then apply to other channels as well” said a spokesman for Hobbs’ office. TVNZ has reacted by saying broadcasters already followed a voluntary code restricting advertising to 10 minutes an hour during programs for preschoolers, and from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., when after-school shows screen.