Freeview

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

After nearly three years of providing Kiwis free digital TV and radio with no monthly subscription, Freeview this week celebrated by launching the first annual Freeview Awards.

The awards, which include the best digital only TV channel and best digital only TV show as well as best Freeview approved product, best retailer and best installer, are designed to highlight the significant contribution that a range of partners and stakeholders have made in making Freeview the success that it is today.

“At the end of 2009 Freeview was available in over 20% of Kiwi homes which is a great result and well above where we envisaged we’d be when we launched,” says Sam Irvine, Freeview General Manager.

“The feedback we get from New Zealanders who have moved from analogue TV to Freeview, is that they are rapt with the improved picture and sound quality, the range of new channels and programs and all without a monthly subscription. Kiwis are accessing the new channels and content via all the different services that Freeview offers. That’s Freeview|HD® and MyFreeview|HD®  (with 11 to 12 TV and three radio channels), and Freeview satellite® (with 13 TV and four radio channels),” he adds.

“So as people are becoming more and more aware of the benefits of migrating from analogue TV to Freeview digital TV and radio, we wanted to provide them with a simple and efficient way to highlight what they consider to be the ‘best of the best’ elements of Freeview, and the Awards we’ve launched are designed to do just that,” he concludes.

To vote in the Annual Freeview Awards click here. Those who vote have the chance to win one of three MyFreeview|HD®digital television recorders. Entries close 6th April 2010 and the winners will be announced on April 12th.

Freeview Awards Categories:

  1. Best Freeview accredited retail partner
  2. Best Freeview accredited retail web site
  3. Best installer experience
  4. Best Freeview-approved HD® receiver
  5. Best Freeview-approved satellite® receiver
  6. Best Freeview approved digital television recorder (MyFreeview|HD®)
  7. Best Freeview|HD® approved iDTV brand
  8. Best digital only Freeview channel
  9. Best free-to-air digital only TV show channel
  10. Best TV show
  11. Best HD TV show
  12. Best Freeview radio station

TiVo FailThere’s more bad news for TVNZ today, the parent company of the TiVo technology it’s purchased in partnership with Kerry Stoke’s ‘7 Media Group’ reported it lost 730,000 consumers during the past year (a 22% decline).

Despite this, shareholders were happy with the company’s profit results because they managed to increase revenue in “Services and Tech” to $45.3 million, this is the revenue sourced from companies like the TVNZ partnership, that license TiVo technology. With speculation TVNZ spent about $19 million for the rights, no doubt this helped TiVo’s bottom line. The Herald says they’ve only managed to sell about 2,000 units (and we know, one of those is at Regan’s place), whatsmore after TVNZ soiled the user experience with its ‘CASPA’ most people who’ve tried them, don’t like them anyway.

With all this in mind, it really comes as no surprise that TVNZ would go ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ on its joint venture Freeview platform and start developing deals with the Sky Network, for its new ‘Heartland’ channel. It’s easy to be critical of this, but TVNZ (unlike TV3) typically keeps its Pay-TV rights to programming so it makes sense that it monetizes this, especially with a new National government that has never been cozier with SkyTV.

These days TVNZ feels like a SEO desperate to regain relevance (thnk txt lang in stn promos) in the digital world by spending hoards of the Taxpayer’s cash on flash-in-the-pan acquisitions and partnership deals that go nowhere. It seems every time it ties its cart to a horse, that horse drops dead. (Bebo, TVNZ Sports Extra, TelstraSaturnDTV, the FAILs feel endless, and it’s all on the taxpayer dime.

Don’t get me wrong TVNZ does some great things… in Television. ‘Shortland St, Marcus Lush’s train show, Go Girls and TVNZ News, are typically things we’re all a little proud of. But it is time they sort out their Digital Strategy, and just for once, stick to it.

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.

MyFreeview|HDWe’re currently looking for three people to review one of three new MyFreeview|HD Digital Television Recorders.

If you don’t already have Freeview or MySky, live in the Freeview HD coverage area and have an HD TV that’s at least 37″ then we’d like to hear from you.

Please email regan@throng.co.nz with your name and town/city for more details.

Freeview Limited and SKY Television announce that an agreement has been reached regarding Prime Television being made available on Freeview satellite® and Freeview |HD® platforms from Monday 17th August, 2009.

Having launched a little over two years ago, the availability of Prime on Freeview now brings the total number of channels to 13 on Freeview satellite® and 12 on Freeview|HD®. This is yet another compelling reason for Kiwis to switch from analogue TV to free-to-air digital TV.

More than a quarter of a million homes have already done so, as was signalled by Freeview in July 2009.

Freeview was created to provide consumer choice in digital TV access and this latest exciting development means New Zealanders can now choose to watch all national free-to-air channels in digital quality.

“All you need is a Freeview approved digital receiver and your existing TV and you can enjoy Prime’s programmes in digital quality for free” says Sam Irvine, General Manager, Freeview.

Current Prime viewers may also be able to take advantage of their UHF aerials which could provide them with access to the Freeview |HD® platform. All viewers need to do is to visit www.freeviewnz.tv to see if they are in a Freeview |HD® coverage area.

Last week John Drinnan wrote in the New Zealand Herald that there was an expectation that Prime would be joining the Freeview platform within the next six to eight weeks.

Since TVNZ gave their two digital channels, TVNZ6 and TVNZ7, to Sky, it has been greatly anticipated that Prime would hopefully and finally make its way onto the Freeview platform.

When asked for comment on Sky’s position on having Prime on Freeview we were told

We want PRIME to be on Freeview, we are platform agnostic and want PRIME to reach consumers in as many ways as we can, however the cost of PRIME being carried on Freeview must be matched by the extra revenue that we generate by being on the platform.

Sure. And we’ve heard that before. Sky is a commercial operation and the costs vs benefits have to be weighed up. And…

When the audience is large enough to justify the carriage cost, PRIME will be on Freeview.

What a fantastic analogy of chicken and egg if ever we needed one. Sky must know that putting Prime onto the Freeview platform will provide it with a nice wee boost that will impact greatly on the audience size. But requiring that audience first when it seems fairly obvious that many wont make that jump to digital until Prime joins the party?

However…

We are currently negotiating with Freeview to determine the breakeven point.

The fact that negotiations are actually taking place must be a good thing. I’d like to think that in 5-7 weeks we’ll have Prime on Freeview but I’m not going to hold my breath just yet.


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.

Rupert Murdoch-controlled Sky Television is negotiating a special deal to get its free channel Prime on to Freeview.

After long delays that have hampered Freeview, Sky says it is “looking at whether Kordia can cut some sort of entry-level deal”.

Sky Television chief executive John Fellet says that as it stands putting Prime, whose programmes include True Blood and Flight of the Conchords, on to Freeview does not make financial sense.

“The cost… is greater than the advertising revenue we would gain from the greater coverage,” he said.

The cost is believed to be less than $400,000 a year.

Source: NZ Herald. Read more »