TVNZ to launch new 100% local content channel on Sky

TVNZ and SKY will launch a new TV channel on the pay operator’s platform in June.

The new channel, named TVNZ Heartland, will be New Zealand’s first channel with 100% local content and will be available to all subscribers to the SKY basic package.

Chief Executive Rick Ellis said TVNZ Heartland would be a showcase of New Zealand’s best home-grown television.

“Heartland will be a celebration of New Zealand and New Zealanders through some of our finest TV shows – some classics and some more recent shows.”

Mr Ellis said the move to include pay TV in the company’s portfolio of platforms was a logical extension of TVNZ’s strategy “Inspiring New Zealanders on Every Screen”, which began in 2006.

“We’re delighted to be entering the pay TV market in partnership with SKY TV, as a complement to our free-to-air business,” he said.

“SKY’s enthusiasm for the idea has given us an opportunity to build a commercially-viable channel that will bring first class New Zealand content to a big audience. Without the SKY pay platform, this project would not have gone ahead.”

John Fellet, CEO of SKY Television, is equally delighted.

“This vault of content which includes some of New Zealand’s most beloved shows is the biggest untapped resource since the Maui oil fields,” he said.

The Heartland programme schedule will be released in May.

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  • frenzy

    Why isn’t this on Freeview?

  • regan

    I am seeking clarification atm

  • regan

    TVNZ’s response to why the new channel wont be on Freeview:

    no it won’t be on Freeview. This had to be a pay platform or nothing. It costs money and resources to build and maintain a new channel and in this economic environment we cannot contemplate a new venture that doesn’t pay its way, and there’s no mechanism to do that with free to air tv. If you’re asking why isn’t it on Freeview as well, the answer is that then there is clearly no commercial incentive for a pay network to carry it. Which puts us back to square one regarding the channel paying its way. We’ve got masses of excellent material that we would like to get to as many people as possible – that’s a key plank of our strategy. A pay channel is the only way we can do it. We already have four channels on Freeview and we totally support it as a means to achieve the eventual switchover to Digital transmission.

    Putting programming on a pay platform is another string to our bow and as I’m sure you know we have been actively pursuing new revenue streams and new screens for our content to ensure tvnz’s long term position. If we don,t do this, we will not be able to afford to buy and make all the new local content we are known for. Just as UKTV screens the best of British, we want to be in a position to screen the best of NZ on Heartland, well into the future.

  • Rachel

    1. Seems strange since TVNZ is a shareholder in Freeview and is now supporting “the competition”.

    2. Seems strange since TVNZ is a shareholder in TIVO and was promoting that heavily in NZ but it won’t be available to TIVO users.

  • reece_555

    -So this may be an excuse to raise the price of sky subscriptions for a channel of NZ repeats, isnt this what TVNZ6 is for??

    -For a company thats meant to be sheddding more staff a channel with this genre should be scrapped in favour of a FTA & Digital channel that will be a dumping ground for shows from TV1 & 2 much like C4.

  • IN The Know

    Can somebody remind me why TVNZ paid out all that money for Tivo, what’s on Tivo and how TVNZ is working to improve the Tivo product ot make me want to buy it…



  • aaronimpact

    double post

  • aaronimpact

    If it means they will play classic episodes of What Now then I’m all for it.

    When have TVNZ actually embraced our culture?

    I always got the impression that TVNZ never played old NZ tv shows because they would have to pay royalty fees.

  • Miles Lacey

    The question isn’t so much whether or not a Sky channel dedicated solely to New Zealand content is a good idea in itself but whether or not there is enough New Zealand content to fill it up without endless repeats.

    Even more scary, is this simply going to be an endless re-run of cooking, DIY and sporting shows?


  • DaMo

    Did anyone notice that when Rick Ellis announced it this morning on NZI Business that he said New Zealand television celebrates 50 years next year.

    As an enthusiast of New Zealand television in the 70s and 80s I found this to be a major faux pas on his part as everyone knows New Zealand television celebrates 50 years this year.

    And whenever TVNZ makes mistakes I always email them to correct them and it was no different on this occasion either I can assure you of that.

    But anyway I’m hoping they show A Week Of It (pre-McPhail & Gadsby) or they do a special with the best moments from all the Telethon’s.

    I did see someone mention What Now and I would love to see the whacky days of Frank Flash (Alistair Kincaid).

  • interestedfromlambtonquay

    Regan – who’s your source at TVNZ for those quotes you made above?

  • regan

    @interestedfromlambtonquay Megan Richards (TVNZ Corporate Affairs) in this instance

  • fbdfhb

    So what did Rick Ellis say?? ”INspiring NZ’s on every screen”???? What about everyone on Freeview? Is Sky preventing TVNZ to broadcast the new channel on Freeview??

  • rob

    Yes it does sound like sky is preventing them putting it on freeview, as it appears to be a commerical arrangement. People have to remember that sky is a monopoly in NZ, and is expensive compared to pay TV where they have competition.

    The thing is that the programs that it is selling, were paid by  tax payers, so as tax payers we shouldn’t have to pay twice to see those programs. They should be freely available to everyone. Perhaps they should put them all online, to download. They have the infrastructure to do this already in place, and probably wouldn’t be too expensive to do.

    As sky TV appear to be acting as a monopoly in this case, I would love to see the commerce commission ‘unbundle’ them in some form, to open them up to competition, so other companies can broadcast through their network, like they did with telecom.

  • fbdfhb

    Yes, very controversial and it seems rather ironic considering TVNZ only recently agreed to broadcast TVNZ 6 & 7 on Sky. How come TVNZ is suddenly ”buddying” up with SKY? Is TVNZ ‘golddigging’ SKY?