Gyngell: “Bad sells better than good.”

There are some interesting remarks from Nine boss David Gyngell discussing the link between sport, media and social responsibility, made at a Bulldogs luncheon.

The Brisbane Times notes that during question time, a member of the audience put it to Gyngell that his network had a responsibility to promote more positive stories, to educate the public that the tawdry needn’t always dominate.

”I’d like to say yes but from a business point of view, the facts don’t stack up in the way you’re talking,” Gyngell replied.

”People don’t always want to read about good stories. They acknowledge good stories and all in this room are speaking about heart, warmth and all the good things that go on at football clubs.

”But the world is not like that. This is purely commercially driven. I’m not running the ABC, I’m not running a free website … Salacious, interesting, character-based stories sell newspapers and get people watching television.

”I’m not saying it’s right, I’m not saying it’s wrong. That’s the facts of the business. Seventy per cent of all one-hour television is made up of crime dramas. They’re based on murders. People are interested in solving who did what to whom. It’s the nature of the world we all live in. I’d like to say that it’s all going to be nice, but bad sells better than good.”


  1. This is probably because many people find bad to be more interesting than good. That seems to be the case in many instances, like how sappy songs and novels sell better than happy ones.

    I think this tells a lot about the current human psyche in society. Maybe it is because we force ourselves to put out a happy front all the time that we resort to mass media to vicariously experience our lower emotional state?

    Just a ramble.

  2. Eddie McGuire has had heaps of good shows, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and Hotseat to name a couple. It’s only the last few that have been turkeys.

  3. You just keep dishing up the the crap in your fruitless quest for ratings glory, Gyng. You’ll find yourself in Rupert Murdoch’s shoes before you know it.

  4. @ Armchair Analyst
    I agree with you and I don’t think anybody else disputes what you say , Arm’.
    The problem is that TV makers of Gyngell’s calibre lower the tone of society by giving ‘people’ what they want. To quote “Yes Minister”, its the ‘thin end of the wedge”.
    People also want snuff videos and love to watch school kids fistfighting on Utube, that doesn’t make it right tfor Channel Nine to air such shows.
    Surely FTA TV (as opposed to Pay TV where people can exercise some discretion) has a certain responsibility in this regard. IMO Gyngell and his ilk are no better than lowlife drug dealers. I’ve had a few Sunday night scotches, so I’m
    standing by to be disagreed with:-)

  5. The reason on why crime dramas rate is because on most TV stations that is the only thing that is on to watch other than reality shows, so if you want to watch TV you need to sort though which shows are good. Currently I like watching the Defenders and Breakout kings isn’t too bad either. I miss being able to see comedy shows, Nine doesn’t give things a chance half the time.

    I put recordings in for the week, currently I have one show that I am recording on channel nine because all they have on is reality or boring shows. Here’s hoping Hamish and Andy’s special might be a bit of a laugh but with channel 9 involved it is hard to say.

    I remember when I was a kid in the 80’s, reality shows did not exist, I grew up with quality shows or maybe I was too young to know what was crap. I thought Manimal was a good show even though now I heard it only lasted 9 episodes.

  6. Armchair Analyst

    As much as i dislike david gyngel, i do agree with him. the broader society has changed, it wants this sort of stuff. just look at the rise of reality tv people want shock value and instant gratification. i too want shows similar to a by gone era, which taught people positive things and shows which were different but those days are gone accept it, i mean i want Video hits to keep going by reverting to its old format and to be on 11 but i know that will not happen.

  7. @Matt

    I’m well aware of that. My point was that crime dramas aren’t doing that well across the board which goes against what Mr Gyngell claims.

  8. Sure

    Then explain why The Mentalist and all the CSI brands aren’t working for you Nine?
    As well as the cancellation of Cold Case (which was actually a good show)?

  9. People like him are what’s wrong with the world today.
    What he’s saying is that he’ll do anything to get ratings regardless of any ethical considerations. For him it’s all about money with no thought to other consequences.
    I hope he lives to rue those words.

  10. Ok Nine, stick to that, cos it’s working well for ya isn’t it? Underbelly’s going downhill (i never considered it good in the first place), but Rafters and Winners & Losers are doing great. Nine just can’t try anything new.

  11. Oh dear. What is that sporting homily – Never change a winning game, always change a losing game….? The problem with the short term salacious spike (Panic at Rock Island) is that is has lead to long term brand destruction. Nine is proudly sexist and salacious, when it used to be the home of quality news and drama. And sorry – but it ain’t a winning combination at all. So don’t you go floating……because no-one is buying.

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