NZ's mockumentary, The GC - A contrived brain-dead glimpse into the egotistical lives of tatted-up, gangsta Maori Australians (Mozzies) living on the Gold Coast.
On behalf of NZ taxpayers, NZ On Air generously handed over $420,000 to assist the show's production.
The howling that has ensued has been highly amusing and commentators have formed two distinct camps. The first camp take a "positive" view and believe the television series has its place - they either enjoy switching off their brains and watching eye-candy or celebrate the fact that young Maori are being portrayed as "successful" by not appearing on Crimewatch. The other camp have quickly written off the series as trashy and an embarrassment, but want to see taxpayer funds directed into more high-brow television production.
As usual I have formed my own camp. My observation is that love-it-or-hate-it, The GC is a successful show (assuming that the initial high viewer ratings continue). We get what we deserve and the TV3 viewer stats tell us that a hard-core of Kiwis enjoy to gazing at the contrived lives of narcissistic wannabes.
As the show appears to be successful, was the decision to provide corporate welfare justified? Er..no.
In fact NZ on Air should be disbanded immediately. Why should a parental NZ on Air board dictate and distribute welfare to producers of "a colourful range of local television, radio, music and new media content to extend choices for New Zealand audiences?"
But would have The GC been produced without taxpayer funding? Absolutely!. The well-proven formula that appeals to the lowest common denominator appears to work in the marketplace. However, success is not guaranteed as the the market will dictate that there is a limit to these type of shows.
If we don't fund it, will we just get an endless array trash media...I don't think so.
Instead of the producers of all types of media spending time and resource lobbying to tap into other-people's-money, maybe they should focus on what the rest of us do - stand up on their own feet and let the market decide.
The type of media consumers view is rapidly changing and a conveyor belt of talented folk have now got access to cost effective platforms that allow them to showcase their passion. It is also possible to expose your media project idea to a wide range of people and crowd source funding from willing buyers.
...Like this guy, that is creating a multi-media project on The Motels of Route 66. Luckily, America doesn't appear to have a government broadcast funding agency that is stifling the market.