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Steve Maharey

14 November, 2006

Government backs TVNZ's move into digital

Steve Maharey launches Free-to-Air Digital TV
Steve Maharey launches Free-to-Air Digital TV

The government will support TVNZ's proposal to move into the digital era with funding of $79 million over the next six years, Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey announced today.

"The government is backing TVNZ's plans to strengthen its public broadcast offering as it makes the transition to free-to-air digital," Steve Maharey said.

"Digital television provides a major opportunity to re-assert the role of public broadcast television, and boost the quality and range of programmes available to New Zealanders.

"Our investment is aimed at strengthening TVNZ's position as our flagship public television broadcaster through two new commercial-free channels.

"As well as an increase in local content hours, we will see new content commissioned by TVNZ, more in-depth programmes and opportunities for a wider range of audiences to view programmes at more accessible times.

"The government is committed to ensuring high-quality public broadcasting is part of the digital mix. As well enriching our culture, supporting the move to digital will benefit our economy and ensure New Zealand is not left behind in the worldwide shift to this technology.

"At 3.5 percent of TVNZ's total operating costs, this is a cost-effective option for bringing our public broadcasting services into line with other OECD nations."

The government announced in June that it would support the establishment of Freeview, a consortium of New Zealand's free to air broadcasters, including:

  • Television New Zealand,
  • CanWest,
  • Maori TV and
  • Radio New Zealand.

An independent cost-benefit report has estimated a net national benefit of around $230 million if analogue switch off is achieved by 2015.

Funding for TVNZ's digital content proposal will be released to TVNZ over the next six years, with the intention that the services become self-sustaining over time.

Details of TVNZ's digital content proposal are available at www.tvnz.co.nz. Click for the video.

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