TVNZ will expand its public broadcasting channel TVNZ 7 and launch a new commercial free-to-air youth-targeted channel in March 2011.

TVNZ CEO Rick Ellis said today the expanded TVNZ 7 channel would add a number of viewer favourites including pre-school children’s programmes from the current TVNZ 6 channel to its schedule.

Mr Ellis said TVNZ 6 would be discontinued in March and the transmission frequency used for the new commercial advertiser-supported youth channel.
Unlike TVNZ’s other channels and operations, TVNZ 6 and TVNZ 7 have been Crown funded. The $79 million over five years for the channels is due to expire in the 2011-12 financial year. Both were funded to encourage Freeview uptake and New Zealanders to move to digital television.
The Government had asked TVNZ for a plan to continue two channels on Freeview past the expiry of the funding. The accepted proposal is that one of the frequencies be commercialised and funded from advertising and the other continue to be publicly funded as a public broadcasting channel at least until the end of the current funding.
He said as well as a two hour pre-school children’s block, the expanded TVNZ 7 would have family-skewed information programmes and a commitment to arts and cultural programmes. The hourly news updates and the hour long “News At 8” would continue, along with popular programmes like Back Benches and Media7.
“The expanded TVNZ 7 is the best of both existing channels and will continue to offer advertising free television with programmes that are often difficult to see on commercial channels.”
TVNZ Head of Digital Channels, Eric Kearley said the new youth channel would be a first for New Zealand broadcasting, focussing on “social television” for 15 to 24 year olds.
The programmes on the youth channel would be a combination of reality and factual entertainment. But, importantly, the channel would exist both on air and online with the opportunity for new kinds of interactivity so audiences could use it to connect and socialise with each other.
The youth channel would be broadcast from midday to midnight. It was likely to have a daily live hosted show and themed nights such as extreme sports and concerts. Eight hours in the schedule would be first run content.
“There’s a group of young New Zealanders not being served by traditional free to air television and we believe a well conceived youth channel will be able to connect with them. 

“MTV has closed its New Zealand operations and C4 is changing to an older skewed channel so there is an audience and advertisers who want to talk with them.”
Mr Kearley said the announcements on the details of the channel, including its name, would be made early next year.

Last week, John Drinnan suggested in the NZ Herald that TVNZ6 would be dumping Kidzone in favour of raunchy rock videos in a repositioning of the channel.  This has, of course, upset many parents who have enjoyed four years of free to air children’s programming to the point where they’ve started a group.


Typically, anything Drinnan writes should be viewed as being about 10% fact and 90% speculation so we asked TVNZ if there was any truth to his comments.  

Megan Richards told us that they felt the comments were a little premature considering the government is still only looking at options.  However, until the government has made a decision about what they’re wanting to do with the digital channels, TVNZ didn’t feel it was appropriate to make any other comments.

Both TVNZ 6 and 7 have been pivotal in many peoples decisions in purchasing a Freeview set top box.  Now that we have an analog switch off on the cards, the incentive of additional channels doesn’t necessarily apply.  Repositioning the channels to be fiscally responsible might be required but whether it’s realistic is a completely different question.

Both TVNZ’s digital channels have funding until the end of 2011 but changes are inevitable.  What that means for kidzone will depend on how commercially viable the decision makers in Wellington feel it can be.  Unfortunately, parents wanting a free babysitter probably don’t have too much sway in that conversation.

I read in one of yesterday’s papers that Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman had asked TVNZ chairman Sir John Anderson to prepare a plan to potentially separate the commercial and public broadcasting roles of the state broadcaster.

The Government is moving to set up TVNZ 7 as a public service broadcaster, leaving TV One and the other TVNZ channels to focus on making money.

Coleman yesterday confirmed his preference was to turn TVNZ 7 – and possibly TVNZ 6 – into public service-style channels.

Um. Isn’t that already the case?  TVNZ 6 and TVNZ 7 are already publicly funded, non-commercial channels aren’t they?

TVNZ6 has just achieved a great milestone in forging a three party partnership between Te Papa, Vero and TVNZ 6 to create a new way of presenting some of the nation’s treasures to the people to whom they belong.

Tales from Te Papa is a new TVNZ 6 series of two to five minute programmes leading the viewers on an insider’s tour of significant treasures from the vast collections held by Te Papa and other museums, not normally on display. Each object tells a unique story about culture, history, science and exploration. These national treasures will now be documented in a fashion which will be accessible to generations of New Zealanders to come, on every screen, online, and in schools.

This is a great step forward for our young channel because TVNZ 6 is now partnering with yet another New Zealand institution, Te Papa, building on the special relationship TVNZ and Te Papa already enjoy. Significantly, this is also the first time that TVNZ 6 is seen as a partner with an organisation from the private sector, thanks to the foresight of Vero in offering the project support.

Sustainability film challenge asks the hard questions.

Are we on the verge of something huge? Can small actions by lots of people create positive change? What does sustainability really mean? Those are the questions young New Zealanders up to the age of 24 are being asked to consider this year, when they enter the sustainability film challenge, TVNZ 6 Presents The Outlook for Someday.

Now in its third year, the challenge is to make a short sustainability-related film of any length up to 5 minutes. The entry deadline is 18 September and information and an entry form are on the project website at

TVNZ 6 is pleased to partner with this project for a third year. “Sustainability is an issue which has serious implications across our society, on the environment, on the economy, on health and so on,” says Eric Kearley, TVNZ’s Head of Digital Services. “Through TVNZ 6 we focus on these core issues that really have an impact on people’s lives. We feel we are in very good company with this partnership.”

Entrants are encouraged to choose any genre they like, to film with any camera they like, and to interpret ‘sustainability’ in the way that makes best sense to them.

“It’s an opportunity for young people to contribute big visions and fresh ideas to their rapidly changing world,” explains Project Director, David Jacobs. “We don’t mind if their focus is global or local – what we are asking for is their take on what’s happening around them.”

This year the age limit for entries has been increased to 24 to align it with international definitions of ‘youth’.

“We’re hoping for some entries by talented tertiary-age film-makers but we also want to keep encouraging younger entrants,” says David Jacobs.

Last year the 20 winning films came from throughout New Zealand from film-makers aged 6 to 20, telling stories in a wide range of genres including dramas, documentaries and animations.

This year, as well as the 20 winning films, there will be seven special awards, including a Primary / Intermediate School Film-makers Award and a Secondary School Film-makers Award.

The winning films will be announced at TVNZ 6 Presents The Outlook for Someday Awards towards the end of the year. They will then be broadcast on TVNZ 6 on both Freeview (channel 6) and SKY Television (channel 16). A television special is also planned, featuring some of the winning films.

So with TVNZ 6 debuting on SKY next Wednesday, will we see the Goodnight Kiwi at closedown?

Has any heard that TVNZ is changing the structure and programing of TVNZ 6’s kidzone, family and showcase services? Ive heard something about Showcase will be available on weekends and kidzone will run from 6am to 6pm and Family; from 6pm to midnight on weekdays. (Correct me if Im wrong). Also ‘Talk Talk’, a former TVNZ 6 show on showcase, has moved to TVNZ 7’s NZ Views slots. These changes will be put into effect at the end of June 2009 (Just before the SKY launch).

And will TVNZ Sport Extra cease to exist? Well it has been confirmed that the occasional sports channel will remain on freeview hd (terrestrial) until the wimbeldon tennis tournaments at july, this year.

About Two new digital channels are soon to be available on Freeview. Although Freeview NZ has said that these channels are in the planning stages, only little information and detail have been given. (Possibly PRIME might be one of the channels about to launch on Freeview, along with the launch of TVNZ 6 and 7 on SKY).

When is Stratos going to be avaiable on Freeview hd?

…And whats up with the US spelling, TVNZ!??

While TVNZ and Sky have announced a new partnership that will see HD broadcasts of TV One and TV2 on MySkyHDi from June 1st and TVNZ 6 and TVNZ 7 being made available to pay TV subscribers from July 1st, Sky is not reciprocating with its free to air channel Prime on Freeview.

Sky Television’s Tony O’Brien told Throng that it made no economic sense for Prime to be on Freeview at the current point in time as the costs outweighed any benefits from ad revenue.  Sky aren’t convinced that the Freeview audience would justify those costs and, of course, noted that Prime is available already on Sky and free to air on UHF (analog).

What are your thoughts on this decision?

During the discussions I had with various people at the Freeview presentation last night, the usual topic of why TVNZ 6 and 7 weren’t on the Sky platform and how frustrating it is having multiple boxes just to watch television.

While it is ultimately a TVNZ decision and one that Freeview can’t really comment on (as they’re building a digital platform of their own and leave the individual broadcasters to decide where they distribute their content) it is a valid question and one that definitely needs asking.

By all accounts, the issue lies around Sky getting TVNZ’s channels for free. Sky pays other channels for the rights to broadcast so why should TVNZ be any different? Currently TV One and 2 are provided free which happened during the period when TVNZ were stakeholders in Sky but when that agreement runs out, rest assured, TVNZ will be looking for payment.

Failure to negotiate a deal could see TV One and 2 pulled from Sky but I imagine that would be a worse case scenario with both parties blaming the other.

The way I see it, things are going to come to a head when this current agreement reaches term. At this point, you would expect that negotiations will be made bringing TVNZ 6 and 7 onto Sky and Prime onto Freeview. So the question I have is, why wait?

I guess the issue is that Sky have more to lose out of this as they would be forced to either pay a royalty or forfeit the TVNZ channels for sky subscribers. Considering the overwhelming majority of viewed content on Sky is from the free to air channels, I can just imagine how well that would go down with the punters and would be something Sky would be wanting to avoid at all costs. It’s all in finding the balance. Can that be found early in order to provide a better service to all viewers or will we have to wait until they’re forced to sort it out?

I told Damian about this last night and he uploaded it so thanks Damian 😀
This is a schedule menu that plays from midnight – 6am on TVNZ 6. It shows the weeks listings, day by day, for TV One, TV2, TVNZ 6 Kidzone, TVNZ 6 Family and TVNZ 6 Showcase.