It will be a new television channel and it will compete for an audience which is already enduring compounding fractures which add up to countless such channels from at home and abroad.
The budget mooted appears to be in the $80 million category and with the inevitable invisible costs, especially the human ones, attendant upon the launch of a new state broadcasting channel this sounds modest.
The actual cost including launch and the below-the-line contingencies will be at least 20 percent higher judging by previous such launch experiences.
The state already controls the nation’s two main television channels TV1 and TV 2 and also the national public broadcasting station, RNZ.
The doctrinal underpinning of the scheduled television channel which is said to be in the “conversation” stage is that both the state controlled broadcasters TV 1 and TV 2 are considered to be giving their audience too much of what they want instead of what they need.
This amounts to the two state channels broadcasting in their fight for audience share too much entertainment especially of the violent and shock-horror variety.
RNZ with its emphasis on what people need to know has become the model for the new state broadcasting venture.
The extent to which the proposed channel will evolve as an identity one is still in the melting pot it seems.
The government already controls the Maori TV channel which has earned high marks across audiences for its exhibition of the more high minded English-language productions from the northern hemisphere, especially those in the classical mould.
So there is a degree of concern even in the Maori tv channel that they too will find their audience split by the intervention of the new government television channel which is now so determinedly under consideration, if in fact, a decision has not already been made to launch it.
The Labour governmental zeal to enter the television channel business can be traced back several generations to the launch of TV 2 on the back of the existing TV1.
The Labour cabinet of this era was surprised when two sets of competing state television news crews would turn up to record their utterances.
The result was that the news side was consolidated into TV1.
These mainstream television stations in turn compete with the independent TV 3.
TV 3 which also owns Radio Live has been conscious of this new state sponsored launch, especially of one with an identity underpinning.
TV 3 along with its state television channel competitors has shared for exampling an embarrassing grappling with Maori language vowel sounds as its seeks to publicly demonstrate its consciousness of diversity.
In fact Maori language and its correct pronunciation, from those who spoke it as a first language, was an area of strong emphasis by the preceding New Zealand Broadcasting Service.
The mainstream television channels meanwhile co-exist with numerous independent television and radio channels dedicated to district audiences.