Some highlights from John Drinnan’s column this morning:

How much longer will MediaWorks cover financial losses for the TV3 breakfast show, Sunrise? C4 boss Andrew Szusterman has been given the job of increasing dismal audiences. Expect to see a less newsy, more entertainment-focused show.

What is behind the two-month break TVNZ has given Breakfast host Paul Henry? We hear that Henry has made it clear that he would like a permanent place in prime time and that the break is part of an offer intended to prevent his departure and that he will be moved to prime time.

TVNZ head of news and current affairs Anthony Flannery got a lot of flak when he was named as Bill Ralston’s replacement. The Aussie with a background in tabloid TV was derided as a lightweight at a time TVNZ was downgrading the influence of its news division. But Flannery has overseen a ratings turnaround at One News.

Sky Television’s introduction of the My Sky 2 second-generation personal video recorder (PVR) has extended its lead over digital service offered by Freeview.

But the consortium of free-to-air broadcasters is planning its own accredited PVR later. And TV manufacturers’ moves this month to install Freeview tuners in new TV sets will give it an advantage.

Tony Veitch’s mea culpa for lashing out at his partner Kristin Dunne-Powell sounded very similar to Paul Holmes’ explanation of his infamous “cheeky darkie” remark. Perhaps that is because Holmes helped his Radio Network workmate to write it.

Source: NZ Herald. Read more »

TVNZ Proves BBC Model Can Be Boring – Even when No One’s Watching.

The BBC-esque model is in full-swing over on the Platform of Death (Freeview).
Never more so than on TVNZ’s New News Missive ‘TVNZ7’.
The BBC’s objectives to Inform, Educate & Entertain are destined to govern the Channel.
So, with former Shorty St non-english speaking Actors like this Knox in place of seasoned journalists, and Programmes like ‘Alien Investigation’, or (for those with a strong stomach) ‘Afternoon Breakfast with Paul Henry’ one wonders, how can it fail?

Indeed, during prime time 3 of the 4 Freeview exclusive channels present Maori-only content.
Given less than 4% of the population speak Maori and only 100,000 Freeview boxes exist, it’d be conservative to assume a turnout of roughly, nobody per channel.

Regardless, Informing? No.
Educating? Well probably not.
Entertaining? What are you kidding me – I could watch this for hours.
There’s just something I have to do first

– Everything else in my life.

More @

TAB Trackside just started testing on the DTT Kordia multiplex. No sign of them on the DTH satellite service at present, or any official announcements.

Freeview, the free-to-air digital television and radio platform, today announced the launch of the first suite of integrated digital TV’s, in conjunction with leading manufacturer Sony.

The arrival of the Sony BRAVIA V and W series marks a stunning start to the new line-up of products due to enter the market between now and Christmas 2008 that will have Freeview|HDTM built-in.

Along with integrated digital TV’s (iDTV’s), a number of new (stand-alone) digital receivers, including those with recording capability, are set to arrive in 2008.

In addition to the increasing choice in digital receivers, from the 8th of August Freeview will enable its viewers to experience this year’s biggest TV event, the Olympics, in high definition* on TV One plus 24/7 coverage on Freeview channel 20 – TVNZ Sport Extra.

Steve Browning, GM of Freeview, comments: “Freeview is undoubtedly the best way to experience the Beijing Olympic Games with TV One and TVNZ Sports Extra, a whole extra channel of Olympic coverage only available via Freeview”.

“The integrated digital TV’s provide the best solution for Kiwi’s who are yet to upgrade to a high definition TV as there’s no longer a requirement for a separate digital receiver, you get the superb quality that is synonymous with Freeview and there’s no fuss when it comes to installation or set up,” he adds.

“The compelling combination of a growing list of great products, your favourite shows in digital quality and no monthly subscription means there’s never been a better time to embrace Freeview and go digital,” he concludes.

The Freeview|HDTM service is currently available to around 75 per cent of New Zealand homes via UHF transmission. Homes outside these areas can still enjoy the benefits of an integrated digital TV with the additional purchase of a Freeview satellite receiver, and satellite dish if required.

There has been a lot of reporting in the New Zealand press over the last week over calls by a number of our local broadcasters for additional controls on Sky TV, including some calls for the break up of Sky TV.

OpenMedia takes a look at the relationship between our broadcasters and our broadcast platforms, and makes some suggestions on how we can promote a vibrant digital free to air market

They have also made a formal submission to NZ On Air on this matter.

See Platform Wars? for all of the details

Is it True??

Ive heard some rumours recently that TV ONe and TV2 are no longer residing in the SKY Digital platform, well that is until the SKY-TVNZ contract ends at 2011.

That means that All of TVNZ’s 5 channels will screen only on the Freeview digital platform (TV One, TV2, TVNZ 6, TVNZ 7 and TVNZ Sport Extra), then SKY will be left without one of the cool-entertainment channels like, TV2. Then what will happen to the SKY Channels 1 and 2 slots???

And it goes onto the TVNZ 6 and 7 debate. SKY and TVNZ are still fighting about whether TVNZ should broadcast their channels: TVNZ 6 and 7 onto SKY. In Vice-versa, (I Think) SKY is doing the same technique, that is to decide whether to put PRIME onto Freeview. But, why was it screened onto Free to air analogue at the first place and also on the Pay-TV satellite service??

> Is it ture that, TV ONe and 2 will no longer be available on SKY by 2011??
> What will happen to the 1 and 2 slots on SKY?
> Is it likely that PRIME will be on Freeview and why is it on both pay-tv and analogue while calling itself a ‘Free to air channel’?


Paul Norris, head of Christchurch Polytechnic’s broadcasting school, blogs that it’s simply not good enough that TVNZ6 and TVNZ7, largely funded from public money, are not available on Sky:

Public broadcasting, and publicly-funded programmes should be available to as wide an audience as possible. You might argue that TVNZ is in breach of its Charter by not ensuring that these channels are available to Sky viewers. How can TVNZ possibly be serious about its mission to “inspire New Zealanders on every screen” when its programming is denied to the 45% of householders who have Sky?

For its part the Government has been notably silent. How can it tolerate the spending all this public money for a mere handful of viewers? Why has it not threatened to impose “must carry” rules requiring Sky to carry the new channels? It should use its power to bring Sky and TVNZ to the negotiating table. That would be acting in the public interest.

Read more »

Freeview, the free-to-air digital television and radio platform, today announced that more than 100,000 Freeview capable receivers have been purchased.

Speaking at the Freeview|HDTM launch celebration at Te Papa in Wellington this afternoon, the Prime Minister outlined that the figure represents more than 6% of Kiwi homes – a remarkable achievement and one that not only places Freeview right at the forefront of global broadcasting capability but ahead of most countries in terms of rate of take-up for a free-to-air digital television and radio service.

With the recent addition of TVNZ 7, Te Reo and tvCentral the total number of channels broadcasting on Freeview is now 15. In addition, Freeview is set to welcome radio station George FM to the Freeview satellite service.

“Like the other broadcast partners who have joined the Freeview service, George FM recognises that we are a great way to deliver compelling free-to-air content into the home.

“We are also delighted to welcome The Warehouse, one of New Zealand’s largest retailers, as a retail partner for Freeview approved receivers,” says Steve Browning, GM Freeview.

“Now the availability of Freeview satellite and Freeview|HDTM will provide 100% national coverage, different cost options and a growing channel offering. It means more choice for New Zealanders who wish to receive crystal clear television and radio services, with no monthly subscription,” he adds.

After a solid start, Freeview expects the momentum will continue with Freeview|HDTM offering a growing selection of high definition programming.

Steve Browning, General Manager, Freeview, today announced that Kiwis can look forward to HD capable Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) courtesy of the Freeview|HD(TM) service from 2nd April 2008.

“Freeview|HD(TM) is New Zealand’s first high definition capable digital service and has the potential to dramatically alter the way in which Kiwis access and then enjoy television and radio programmes. It will provide crystal clear digital quality pictures and sounds on all channels with the added bonus of TVOne, TV2, and TV3 broadcast in a high definition format,” he says.

“The Freeview satellite service made bad reception a thing of the past, delivering crystal clear standard definition pictures to over 80,000 homes since its launch in May 2007. The addition of the Freeview|HDTM service provides the option to access free-to-air digital television and radio via UHF aerial,” he adds.

The Freeview|HDTM service will be available in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Palmerston North, Napier, Hastings, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin, or approximately 75% of New Zealand homes.

An official launch event for media and invited guests will take place in Wellington on Monday, 14th April, to mark this significant step in New Zealand broadcasting history.

The launch event will feature a HD broadcast of programmes kindly provided by Natural History New Zealand so those in attendance can experience, first hand, the digital experience that is Freeview|HDTM.

Freeview|HDTM digital terrestrial receivers can be purchased from New Zealand’s leading appliance retailers from 2nd April 2008.

Freeview today announced the name, and unveiled the logo, of its new HD capable digital terrestrial service. It will be known as the Freeview|HD™ service.

“We want consumers to know what their choices are for digital television and radio access. The name we’ve chosen clearly does that. It’ll enable consumers to clearly identify the consumer electronics devises that include a Freeview HD capable receiver and provides broadcasters with a platform to showcase high definition programming. The Freeview|HD™ platform will be operating at the cutting edge of broadcasting innovation,” says Steve Browning, General Manager, Freeview.

Full details can be found in their Press Release.