The Country Channel, a dedicated farming news, information and lifestyle television channel, is to be launched on SKY’s digital satellite network on October 1, this year.
The Country Channel (Channel 99), targets New Zealand’s rural community and will feature daily updates on new products and systems as well as rural based news and lifestyle shows. The channel will be available free to customers with SKY digital’s start up package for the month of October.
The Country Channel when launched will be accompanied by a sophisticated website (http://www.thecountrychannel.co.nz) as part of the communication package.
Colin Harvey, Chairman, The Country Channel Limited says, the vagaries of New Zealand’s communications networks and New Zealand’s topography mean that until now the written word has remained the most effective way to reach the rural sector.
“Through SKY’s 100% coverage, businesses and farm organisations will be able to reach their highly specialised target audiences quickly and efficiently” says Harvey.
Country Channel producer Andy Tyler says a one-hour daily news and information show, FARMGATE, will be the centrepiece of programming on the channel with 20-minute sponsored slots available to businesses and organisations which need or want to reach a dedicated rural audience.
“For example fertiliser companies will have a great forum to discuss the benefits of nutrient management programmes or the pressure on world prices while an organisation like Dairy NZ can quickly reach a wide audience with new information designed to improve on-farm productivity,” says Tyler.
“Rural lenders and farm advisors have an ideal channel to their audiences and there is a huge range of rural sector service providers who can more effectively get their message to farmers. Those on lifestyle blocks will also have an information source that can help with their animal management.”
SKY Director of Communications, Tony O’Brien said The Country Channel is another example of SKY partnering with local entrepreneurs to deliver new and innovative channels and programmes to service niche or specialist television markets.
“Farming and agri-business remains the backbone of New Zealand’s economy, but is not well served by mainstream television media,” said O’Brien. “The Country Channel adds television to the mix of specialist rural communications publications and has the potential to fill a major information gap in the rural sector and showcase just what our farmers achieve on a daily basis.”
Mr Tyler said content on the channel would be shown in rotating blocks throughout the day to cater for varied outdoor schedules with the schedule centred on FARMGATE.
“This show will be our focus with an experienced and dedicated production team fronted by a credible rural commentator or identity. It will include segments on farming news, long range weather and market reports.
“It will also be shown four times a day and we see the programme as giving in-depth analysis and coverage of issues in the rural sector as well as providing a showcase for farming technology and processes.”
Mr Tyler said FARMGATE would be supported by local content as well as relevant content produced in Australia and the United Kingdom.
“We’re also currently developing a local programme based on a rural vet service that we see as being very helpful to both farm and lifestyle block owners. In addition to locally made programmes, the channel will include relevant overseas content, as New Zealand farmers face many of the same pressures and issues that are developing overseas.”
The Country Channel will be on SKY digital channel number 99, launching October 1 this year.