Freeview's blog

The number of households with Freeview has increased significantly over the last four months, according to the latest figures.

The Digital Tracker, funded by Going Digital, shows 47% of all households with a working television now have Freeview, up from 41% last quarter.  The percentage of homes with Sky TV or TelstraClear dropped from 57% to 55% over the same period.

Freeview General Manager Sam Irvine said the figures show free to air digital television is becoming more popular in New Zealand, and he expects the trend to continue as digital switch over gets closer. Continue reading »

After a successful first awards season in 2010, the second annual Freeview awards have garnered a record number of votes – 6,346 votes were cast to determine the winners in 12 categories of digital media and related services.

The awards celebrate all aspects of Freeview, from the channels and programmes provided by Freeview broadcasters, to the first-rate work of retailers and installers and the top-quality Freeview-approved products around New Zealand.

Freeview General Manager Sam Irvine says, “After the success of last year’s awards and the boost that the wins gave to many broadcast partners and suppliers, we expected a high level of engagement and were thrilled that the awards generated such a high number of votes.

“We would like to thank the many Freeviewers who voted and gave their feedback, and to congratulate the winners of this year’s awards. As an open platform we have many contributors to our success, and these awards allow viewers to pick their favourites of these high-performing individuals and organizations.”

Russell Brown of double-winner Media7 says, “This is wonderful news for the week of Media7′s 150th episode.”

“We’re especially delighted to be named not only best digital-only programme, but the best programme available on Freeview. And, of course, TVNZ 7, the home of Media7, has deservedly been voted the best digital-only channel.”

The awards recognise Freeview’s growing popularity and acknowledge the broadcast, retail and technology partners and suppliers who collectively underpin the success of the enterprise. Over the past 12 months, record numbers of Freeview-approved products have been sold by retailers and a significant rise has been recorded in the popularity of shows on digital-only channels.

 

Voting closed on 6 April, and the winners are as follows:

 

Best in-store retail experience

Winner: Noel Leeming

Runner-up: Dick Smith Electronics

 

Best online retail experience

Winner: Dick Smith Electronics

Runner-up: Noel Leeming

 

Best installation experience

Winner: Alf from AV1.co.nz

 

Best Freeview-approved HD receiver

Winner: Dish TV UHF aerial

Runner-up: Zinwell

 

Best Freeview-approved satellite receiver

Winner: Dish TV

Runners-up: Zinwell

 

Best Freeview-approved digital television recorder

Winner: Panasonic

Runners-up: Magic

 

Best Freeview-approved iDTV brand

Winner: Panasonic

Runner-up: Samsung

 

Best digital-only TV channel available on Freeview

Winner: TVNZ 7

Runner-up: TV3 Plus 1

 

Best digital-only TV show available on Freeview

Winner: Media7, TVNZ 7

Runner-up: Back benches, TVNZ 7

 

Best TV show on a channel on Freeview

Winner: Media7, TVNZ 7

Runner-up: Back benches, TVNZ 7

 

Best high-definition TV show on a channel on Freeview

Winner: CSI, TV3, TV3 Plus 1

Runners-up: Criminal Minds, TV ONE

 

Best radio station on Freeview

Winner: Radio New Zealand National

Runner-up: George FM

The Government has announced it is extending the existing Freeview|HD® (high definition) service to more regions throughout the country including Whangarei, New Plymouth, Rotorua, Taupo, Gisborne, Masterton, Whanganui, Nelson, Timaru and Invercagill making Freeview|HD® available to an extra 160,000 homes nationwide. Viewers can check whether they are in coverage by going to the Freeview website and using the Coverage checker www.freeviewnz.tv 

The extension supports the Government’s decision to switch over to digital only broadcasting by making it easier for more New Zealanders to make the change from free reception of analogue television to free reception of digital television with Freeview.  DSO (digital switch over), begins in September 2012 in Hawke’s Bay and West Coast and finishes in the upper North Island in November 2013. 

Increased access to the Freeview|HD® service provides an easy way for households, many of which have opted for in-home entertainment since the start of the recession, to budget more efficiently. Avoiding a double-dip recession shows New Zealanders’ resilience and adaptability to the changing environment. The initiative will ensure viewers can enjoy more channels and a better picture quality without a monthly cost, giving consumers a much-needed break. 

“The largest benefit of Freeview is that it’s just a one-off cost to set up, and then the service is free,” says Freeview general manager Sam Irvine. “Some  people in these areas are likely to already have a TV with a Freeview|HD®  receiver built in and will only need to hook up to a UHF aerial (already common on many New Zealand houses) to be able to access High Definition digital TV for free. Also, anyone with a TV can benefit from Freeview|HD®, by simply purchasing a Freeview|HD® receiver from their local stockist and connecting that to their existing TV via a UHF aerial.” 

The Extension of the Freeview|HD®    service will also enable more homes to easily watch all of the Rugby World Cup (RWC) games, which will be screened on Freeview channels .without the need to pay a subscription. 

“RWC viewing will be high on many people’s agenda and MyFreeview® is a product that allows viewers to pause the live action as well as record, with one touch, all the games. So while the key RWC and All Black games will be screened live, many of the pool matches will be screened late in the evening and with MyFreeview viewers can record games to ensure they don’t miss any of the action making it a popular product choice for rugby fans,” Mr Irvine says. 

 

A combination of additional content and technological innovation has contributed to the strong continued growth of Freeview, the free-to-air digital broadcasting platform.

Freeview sales from retailers for the three months ended 30th September 2010 totalled 58,417 units, up from 54,456 in the previous quarter. This means that even more Kiwis are enjoying crystal-clear pictures, new channels, popular content and world-class digital technology for free.

And today, New Zealand Racing Board’s Trackside Channel will join the Freeview|HD® line up providing viewers with detailed, extensive coverage of New Zealand, Australian and international races, as well as a range of racing inspired programmes. 

The launch of Trackside increases the number of channels available to New Zealanders on Freeview|HD® to at least 13 TV and three radio channels. In addition, Kiwis now have the ability to watch, pause, and record Freeview|HD ® with PlayStation® PlayTV®, launched last week. PlayTV® is a new device that connects via USB to PS3®, instantly adding DTR and Freeview |HD ® digital TV functions to the PS3® entertainment suite. In so doing it gives consumers yet another option for making the switch to digital television. 

“As the year draws to a close we’re thrilled with the rate that viewers around the country are continuing to connect with the subscription free digital television proposition that Freeview offers. These latest developments are further evidence of our efforts to make it even more accessible,” says Sam Irvine, General Manager, Freeview.

Growth of the free-to-air digital broadcasting platform, Freeview, continues to track upwards, according to its latest enabled household figures which illustrate that as of 30th June, 2010, it has broken a significant milestone and is now being enjoyed by viewers in more than a quarter of New Zealand homes.

A total of 419,945 Kiwi households (26.1%) are now enjoying the benefits of crystal clear pictures, new channels, popular content and world-class digital technology for free. The increase in Freeview enabled homes for the last 12 months to June 30, 2010, was 65% from 255,048 homes to 419,945 homes, or a further 10.3% of the population. More specifically, for the second quarter of this year, Freeview satellite and Freeview|HD®. numbers have increased again. An additional 9,639 homes were enabled with Freeview satellite and 33,947 with Freeview|HD®.

“It’s yet another strong result, indicative of the appeal Freeview has and the way in which free-to-air, digital TV and radio is proving so popular with New Zealand consumers. The anecdotal feedback we’ve had from retailers suggests the All Whites performance at the Fifa Football World Cup (screened live on TV One in HD, with alternate live games plus replays on TVNZ 7) played a part in this very good result for Freeview|HD®. And prices for integrated digital TVs, which have built-in Freeview|HD® tuners, and MyFreeview|HD® Digital television recorders, are consistently falling, which helps too,” says Sam Irvine, Freeview General Manager.

“One thing won’t be changing and that’s our firm commitment to providing great TV and radio, both mainstream, popular content and niche channels, all via a free-to-air model,” he adds.

Nearly three years after launching, Freeview continues to connect with Kiwis thanks to increases in the number of channels, the imminent prospect of the FIFA Football World Cup being available free-to-air in HD® and continued free-to-air digital technology innovation.

“We’ve moved fairly quickly from five channels to 16 and with the arrival of the MediaWorks alternative music channel, C42 on May the 1st, that number will increase yet again. As well as the new channel, the Football World Cup is now less than 50 days away and some of the games are scheduled to screen live on TV One in HD® while TVNZ 7 will broadcast selected alternative live games plus replays.  So clearly the content that’s not available on analogue TV is proving to be a big part of a really attractive proposition for TV viewers,” says Sam Irvine, Freeview General Manager.

“We are also continuing to work with manufacturers and broadcasters  to enable  them to develop applications and products that will allow viewers to copy and distribute  High Definition content and access video content, direct to their TV’s,  over the internet”, he adds.

Sales figures for the first quarter of 2010 show that nearly a  quarter (23.5%) of New Zealand homes can now access free-to-air, digital TV and radio through  Freeview.

The total number of households able to receive Freeview is now 376,389 (up from 346,116 in December 2009), which consists of both Freeview satellite® homes and Freeview|HD® homes. The number of Freeview enabled satellite® households has grown to 12% whilst the number of Freeview|HD® enabled homes also grew to 11.5%.

“Freeview is committed to offering the best digital free-to-air viewing experience possible and new channels, popular content and world-class technology are compelling evidence of that,” concludes Sam Irvine.

2010 is not only the start of a new decade; it is also the first year of the Freeview Awards.

Launched in March on www.freeviewnz.tv, the Freeview Awards were created to recognise Freeview’s growing popularity and continued success and to acknowledge Freeview broadcasters, manufacturers and retail and technology partners.

The awards celebrate everything from the fantastic programmes and channels provided by Freeview broadcasters to the hard-working retailers and top quality Freeview approved products available to Kiwis throughout the country. And the awards proved extremely popular with over 5000 votes received.

Dick Smith Electronics successfully took out both the best in-store retail experience and best online retail experience categories.  Media 7 (TVNZ 7) claimed two trophies for both the best digital-only TV show and the best show on a channel on Freeview categories. TVNZ 7 led the way in the best digital-only TV channel on Freeview category, bringing the channel’s silverware total to three. TV3 picked up the award for best High Definition TV show on a channel on Freeview with CSI the clear winner.

Voting for the Freeview Awards closed on Tuesday, 6 April, 2010. The winners are as follows:

2010 Freeview Digital TV and Radio Awards Winners

Best in-store retail experience
Winner: Dick Smith Electronics
Runner up: Harvey Norman

Best online retail experience
Winner: Dick Smith Electronics
Runner up: Noel Leeming

Best installation experience
Winner: Alf from AV1.co.nz
Runner up: Phil from CPC Electronics

Best Freeview approved HD receiver
Winner: Zinwell ZMT-620HD receiver
Runner up: DSE HD DVB-T

Best Freeview approved satellite receiver
Winner: Dish TV S7070
Runners up: DSE (G7500,G7502) AND Zinwell ZMX-7500

Best Freeview approved digital television recorder
Winner: Magic MTV3600TD
Runners up: Zinwell ZMT-640PVR AND Homecast HT9200DTR

Best Freeview approved iDTV brand
Winner: Sony
Runner up: Samsung

Best digital only TV channel available on Freeview
Winner: TVNZ 7
Runner up: TVNZ 6

Best digital only TV show available on Freeview
Winner: Media 7, TVNZ 7
Runner up: Back benches, TVNZ 7

Best TV show on a channel on Freeview
Winner: Media 7, TVNZ 7
Runner up: Top Gear, Prime

Best High Definition TV show on a channel on Freeview
Winner: CSI, TV3
Runners up: Bones, TV3 AND Lost, TV2

Best radio station on Freeview
Winner: Radio New Zealand National
Runner up: George FM

In a year that will most likely be remembered for the economic downturn, Freeview has achieved its highest performing quarter since it launched in 2007.

The sales figures for the final three months of 2009 put the total number of households able to receive Freeview at 346,116. This figure combines the 189,708 Freeview satellite® homes (an increase of 11,791 from the last quarter) and 156,408 Freeview|HD® homes (an increase of 42,354 from the last quarter).

Freeview is now available in 21.6% of homes in New Zealand, an increase of 3.4% on the previous quarter, and can be attributed, in part, to the boost in sales of Freeview|HD® receivers, MyFreeview|HD® digital television recorders and Freeview|HD® integrated digital televisions.

“These impressive quarterly figures, our best ever, indicate that New Zealanders are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of moving their viewing from analogue TV to Freeview-enabled digital TV,” says Sam Irvine, Freeview General Manager.

“We are also very pleased to announce the addition of Shine TV to Freeview. Shine TV will launch on April 1st on the Freeview satellite® platform. As always, we are committed to offering the best digital, free-to-air, viewing experience possible and this adds to our already exciting and diverse selection of channels,” adds Sam Irvine.

“Another example of the benefit of digital television is the recent launch of a dual audio option for Parliament TV. This enables the viewer to select an English interpretation when Maori is spoken from the floor of Parliament. The dual audio option is also available on CTV8 where you can choose either a Cantonese or Mandarin language option for most programmes. ”

The latest batch of quarterly Freeview figures illustrate that Kiwis are continuing to connect with more free-to-air channels, such as recent addition Prime, improved picture quality, an Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) and no ongoing costs.

The appeal of such features has meant that the Freeview digital and radio broadcast platform continues to increase in popularity, so much so that it is now available in nearly 300,000 Kiwi homes around the country. This is well above forecast and at a quicker rate per capita than the majority of countries which have made the switch to digital television.

Latest sales figures for the three months ending September 2009 show that the total number of households able to receive Freeview is 291,853. This figure consists of 177,917 Freeview satellite® homes and 113,936 Freeview|HD® homes.

“The availability and popularity of Prime seems to have contributed to our growth and has brought the total number of channels on Freeview satellite® to 13 and 12 on Freeview|HD®.” says Sam Irvine, General Manager, Freeview.

The availability of Prime on Freeview will also have an impact on driving New Zealand transition towards digital switch over as all national free-to-air channels are now on the platform.

A final decision on the official switch over date, as indicated by Minister of Broadcasting Dr Coleman, will be made when digital television up-take reaches 75 percent of households, or in 2012, whichever occurs first.

“We know that Kiwis are benefiting from the proliferation of impressive retail deals available on Freeview approved products, as the latest take up figures indicate they perceive Freeview as a good value home entertainment option,” adds Sam Irvine.

“Retailers around the country continue to provide us with feedback that Kiwis are really attracted to the sort of priceless entertainment that Freeview provides, that is a one-off cost and no monthly subscription. With all of that in mind, our continued growth prospects look very positive,” he concludes.

Tightened consumer spending, an increase in TV viewing habits and the improved affordability of Freeview|HD® receivers are all paying dividends for Freeview, with its latest round of quarterly figures confirming it is now available in more than a quarter of a million Kiwi homes.

The latest sales figures for the three months ending June 2009 indicate that the total number of households able to receive Freeview is 255,048.

This figure consists of 167,328 Freeview satellite homes (an increase of 11,846 from the last quarter) and 87,720 Freeview|HD® homes (an increase of 17,061 from the last quarter).

“There’s never been a better time to start planning how you change from analogue to digital TV than now by buying either a Freeview|HD® or Freeview satellite receiver ,” says Sam Irvine, General Manager, Freeview.

“One of the key drivers for our growth in the last quarter has been the sharp deals available in retail, which is partly due to new brands coming into the market with Freeview approved products. These include well known consumer favourites such as Sanyo and LG television. These brands complement the existing large number of Freeview approved brands and models already proving popular,” he adds.

“It’s now possible to buy a Freeview approved Freeview|HD® receiver for as little as $199.00, making free high definition viewing more attractive for Kiwis than ever before. And with the vast majority of High Definition panels now including Freeview|HD® built-in tuners, we expect the number of homes with access to free-to-air digital television and subscription free high definition programming, to keep growing rapidly,” he concludes.

The uptake of Freeview in the last quarter closely mirrors the increase in overall TV viewing habits throughout the country, with data released recently by AGB NMR illustrating that viewership is up nearly 10% in certain key time zones.