Discovery are broadcasting Nik Wallenda’s latest tightrope walk live right now but if you can’t get to a TV, Discovery are streaming the event here with six different cameras you can choose from.

skyscraperlive Continue reading »

NIKDaredevil or freak (you decide) Nik Wallenda will bid to become the first man to walk across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope today, LIVE at 12pm on The Discovery Channel, admitting failure will make great TV.

The record-breaker has said he will wear no harness for the stunt, but he will be rigged up with multiple cameras and microphones.
There will be a seven to 10-second delay on a live broadcast by the Discovery Channel but Wallenda, a seventh generation member of the Flying Wallendas circus family, admits a mishap would doubtless boost ratings. Continue reading »

Today MTV Networks (Owned by Viacom) announced it
was closing its office in New Zealand. The company is Sky Network Television’s
largest external content contributor representing the MTV, Comedy Central,
Nickelodeon, and Nick Jr Brands.


Upwards of 23 staff will lose their jobs in the decision to
consolidate the company’s New Zealand operations with its Sydney Australia
. This closure is just the latest in a string of offshoreing by Sky
associated Brands. The Discovery Channel’s operations are also to be merged
with Australia in the coming months, and Prime (also owned by Sky) laid-off a
number of employees after sending the majority of its Prime News operation back
to Sydney.


With all these moves to consolidate and migrate
our Kiwi networks to Australia it does raise the question. ‘Can New Zealand
based channels make a profit on the Sky, and Telstra Platforms, and if not,
does pushing jobs overseas have an effect on how kiwis are seen on screen, at
home. And finally, could sending these jobs overseas actually be better for Sky
Subscribers in NZ.


The trouble for NZ pay networks is that most
don’t handle their own advertising and are paid by Sky for how many, or what
percentage of audiences their Channel attracts. Now this was all good back when
Sky had about 5 Channels and most of them were fairly nasty, but with the
proliferation of new channels to the platform (not to mention the different way
of viewing content – iSky is another classic example), audiences have become
more and more fragmented so even if you are fortunate enough to control your
own advertising, advertisers will want to pay less because you have less
eyeballs on your programming.


With Sky running what is largely considered a
monopoly, most non-Sky owned channels operate in an environment of fear, Sky is
their largest source of Revenue, and in some cases their only source. Some
channels like TLC and Bloomberg have survived outside the Sky Nest on Telstra,
but this is somewhat a moot point given they aren’t NZ based anyway, and with
only 40,000ish subscribers TelstraTV is hardly a bread winner
(and let’s not mention with TiVo).


Sky TV’s argument will no doubt be that any job
and Kiwi content losses are negated by the addition of new channels and more
niche content, but they might just be cutting of their nose to spite their
face. By removing more and more of the Kiwi look and feel the Network is
leaving little defining factors to persuade subscribers to pay their monthly
subscription fees when it is becoming more and more easy to download overseas
content for free, and this is before the rollout of ADSL2+ and the National
Broadband Scheme.


Speaking of government, you might argue that with
the Current one in a more harmonious relationship with Sky than any other before
it, Sky is beginning to take the proverbial P($$ a bit.’  Sky it seems has
never been in better shape, with Profits up almost 17% for the year ending June
2010. People are even spending more with average revenue per subscriber up
5.6%. Still it seems like many of the Company’s non-owned and operated content
providers have never been more under the gun. With that in mind you can’t help
but wonder if the likes of Julie Christie and her partners in ‘Food TV’ and
‘The Living Channel’ are looking to offload their interests to Australia’s ‘XYZ
Networks’, particularly given the similarities between the Kiwi offering and
‘LifestyleYou’ and ‘Lifestyle Food’ channels in Aus.


Sky V Hulu? 


There has been a long running discussion (we’re
talking years) of the possibility of Sky New Zealand merging with its
Australian counterpart FOXTEL. FOXTEL is 25% owned by Rupert Murdoch’s ‘News
Corporation’, which also owns over 40% of Sky in New Zealand, if this were to
happen it would no doubt be a serious blow for the New Zealand Television
Industry. Except for the job cuts, and small tidbits of original NZ
programming, the dropping of MTVNZ is probably no huge loss, MTV is if nothing
else, a network that prides itself on its homogeneity of content that can be
beamed into almost any country inexpensively, with a potentially huge financial
return. I’m more interested in the dialogue though. Firstly, do you care that
these channels are being fed in from Sydney, and secondly do you think people
will start asking the question ‘What am I getting here, and is it not better to
cancel my Sky Subscription and upgrade my Broadband connection?’

Channel Premiere: True Heroes

Discovery – Monday 7 January, 7.30pm

It’s the moment when an everyday situation turns to catastrophe – an unsuspecting bystander becomes a superhuman saviour and normal life takes a backseat to the “hero instinct.” These remarkable and gripping tales of bravery delve deep into the psyche of the hero, examining the split seconds making the difference between taking a chance and dropping the ball among life and death. One wrong move and everyone could die, what will they do? What would you do? Do you have what it takes to be a True Hero?

Christmas Eve Marathon: American Chopper

Discovery – Monday 24 December, 3.30pm – 8.30pm

Spend Christmas Eve with the Teutuls and watch the father and son antics of building a Christmas Sleigh for the holiday season. Also during the marathon, viewers can catch the guys in a repeat of their Australian adventures in the three-part Australian Chopper episodes.

Channel Premiere: The Complete (2 Episodes Back-To-Back)

Discovery – Sunday 16 September, 7.30pm

Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali have shaped history, inspired change, and encouraged massive transformations. The two episodes take a unique approach in telling the stories of these great leaders through the eyes of ordinary individuals whose own lives have been deeply touched, transformed or challenged by Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali.