TVNZ eyes digital expansion as more viewers go online
Television New Zealand, the state-owned broadcaster, wants to boost its digital footprint as more people go online to access their favourite programmes.
The broadcaster’s head of TV One and TV2, Jeff Latch, told Parliament’s commerce committee consumers are now accessing content from multiple platforms, with 83 percent of New Zealand homes now viewing content online, and TVNZ wants to boost its share of those eyeballs.
“In terms of consumers wishing to access content we have had a significant uptake” online, Latch said. “We are in the process of re-launching and refreshing these in the September quarter this year.”
The broadcaster’s multimedia strategy will target smartphones and tablets as a delivery platform for its video content, he said.
TVNZ joins media companies including Sky Network Television and MediaWorks in looking at ways to diversify their earnings streams as viewers change their habits. TVNZ has been clawing back its share of advertising revenue, which rose 6.5 percent to $302.7 million in the year ended June 30, but is still short of the peak $334.8 million in 2006.
The broadcaster said it won’t turn its back on free-to-air digital platform Freeview, having signed a deal with Sky TV, the nation’s dominant pay-TV company, to set up a rival set-top box offering. The platform, known as Igloo, will offer user-pays and free-to-air content over Sky TV’s spectrum and may be open to using ultra-fast broadband in the future.
Latch’s appearance followed the Commerce Commission’s officials, who appeared in front of the same committee and touched on the regulatory environment for content delivered over the internet.
Telecommunications Commissioner Ross Patterson told the committee that the antitrust regulator is looking at video on demand content delivered over the internet, and in his view it should already be covered by the Telecommunications Act.
Sky TV was riled by the decision of the Commerce Commission to widen its study into the drivers for ultra-fast broadband uptake to include content. Sky unsuccessfully argued it would turn into a quasi-regulatory inquiry into broadcasting.
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