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Sky picks up state TV channels

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Wednesday 31st October 2001

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State-owned television broadcaster TVNZ has joined the satellite services of pay TV-operator Sky Network Television (NZSE: SKY).

Both TVNZ's channels - TV One and TV2 - will appear in Sky's broadcasting offering from the beginning of December.

Sky says the additional channels will now be able to offer its customers all national free-to-air channels, including TV3, TV4, Prime and Trackside.

"For the first time, viewers will be able to watch all the national free-to-air channels in crystal clear digital quality picture and sound no matter where they live in New Zealand," says Sky boss John Fellet.

"I am also pleased that now all the national broadcasters will be able to work together to develop interactive television applications."

TVNZ was a former shareholder in Sky but sold its shares two years ago. Most of the shares were purchased by the current majority owner of the company, media group Independent Newspapers (NZSE: INL).

The state broadcaster had explored setting up its own digital service but chairman Dr Ross Armstrong says the agreement with Sky provides a low cost digital expansion option.

Dr Ellis says an important aspect of the agreement will see TV One and TV2 occupy positions 1 and 2 on the Sky electronic programme guide and the Sky remote

As part of the agreement, Sky will continue to make its set top boxes available for rental to those viewers only requiring free to air services.

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