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Prime
Primenew-a2.png
Current Prime Logo
Launched 30 August 1998
Owned by Sky Network Television
Picture format 16:9 (SDTV)
Slogan Not Your Usual
Country  New Zealand
Website primetv.co.nz
Availability
Terrestrial
Analogue UHF Band
normally tuned to 5 or 9
Freeview|HD Channel 10
Satellite
Sky Network Television Channel 004
Freeview Channel 10
Cable
TelstraClear InHomeTV Channel 4

Prime is the seventh national free-to-air television station in New Zealand. The station airs a mixed group of programmes, largely imported from Australia, the UK and the United States, as well as free-to-air rugby union, cricket and rugby league matches.

It was originally owned by Prime Television Limited in Australia. Prime later entered into a joint-venture agreement with Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (Nine Network Australia). On 8 February 2006, the Commerce Commission gave Sky Television clearance to purchase the station for NZ$31 million.

Prime's analogue terrestrial signals cover 91% of the population. It is available via subscription through Sky Television and TelstraClear InHomeTV and free on Freeview.

Contents

History

In June 1998, Prime Television Limited in Australia purchased 34 licenses from United Christian Broadcasters for approximately A$3.6 million. The licenses covered all major cities and towns, mainly on UHF, except for the Gisborne area, which is served via a VHF signal. On 30 August 1998, Prime Television New Zealand began broadcasting at 6.30pm with Two Fat Ladies.

Originally the station broadcast classic British programming, documentaries, sports and dramas aimed at the 30 years and above age bracket. In Waikato and Christchurch, Prime produced a half-hour nightly news programme. Although these programmes rated well, they were unprofitable.

In February 2002, Prime New Zealand entered into an agreement with Australian media mogul Kerry Packer's PBL (parent of the Nine Network). Under this five year agreement, Nine agreed to provide the station with content it owned the rights to, expertise and an amount of cash. In return, Nine was given the right to acquire 54% of Prime New Zealand at the end of the contract. If Prime New Zealand continued to lose money, Nine could choose not to take this up.

After this deal, Prime took on a broader and more expensive programming mix and axed the local content to cut costs. This increased ratings and profits significantly. This new format was modeled closely on the Global Television Network in Canada, whose parent company Canwest happened to own TV3 at the time.

Almost immediately, some Australian programmes produced by Nine Network and shown on Prime NZ took on a slightly New Zealand flavour. For example, one New Zealander per week began to appear on the Australian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, and weather details for New Zealand cities appeared on the Australian Today breakfast programme. Localisation of Australian programmes increased, with New Zealander Charlotte Dawson becoming the presenter of a New Zealand version of Nine travel programmeGetaway (Dawson ended this position at the end of 2006). Many Australian programmes were simply broadcast on Prime without any adaptation for New Zealand audiences, however.

During 2003-04, the number of Australian programmes broadcast decreased. These were largely replaced with more expensive (and higher rated) British and American programmes, such as a Sunday evening British drama slot.

On 2 November 2004, TVNZ presenter Paul Holmes announced that he was resigning from his Holmes programme on the state broadcaster and beginning a new one on Prime in 2005. This new programme, called Paul Holmes, began on 7 February 2005. The arrival of Holmes was seen as a major sign of Prime's rise in status, from a small, second-tier network to a major player on the New Zealand scene, joining TVNZ and TV3 in this regard. The programme, however, did not rate well. In June 2005 Prime moved the show to 6pm, directly following Prime News in an attempt to increase ratings. This was ultimately unsuccessful and Prime TV cancelled the programme on 8 August 2005 due to poor ratings. Holmes returned to host a one-hour weekly current affairs/interview programme, which was still called Holmes, and screened on Thursday evenings. In 2006, the show was relaunced as a strictly entertainment-oriented talk show and screened on Wednesday evenings. It did not return in 2007, but two "specials" were filmed. For most of 2007, Holmes' work for Prime consisted solely of a weekly opinion segment, broadcast Sunday nights as part of Prime News .

In late December, 2004, Prime announced it had acquired New Zealand broadcast rights for the new series of Doctor Who, one of its highest-profile imported shows, which went on to screen in June 2005 to generally good ratings.

In 2005 Prime announced that it would broadcast a minimum of 5.5% of local programmes, following recommendations from NZ On Air.

From 6 October 2005, Prime showed a weekly programme called New Zealand's Top 100 History Makers, where a brief biography of notable New Zealanders was shown as ranked by a panel of experts. The final episode, screened on 17 November 2005, showed the rankings of these people as a result of votes collected from the public via text and internet.

In November 2005, Sky Television purchased Prime for NZ$30 million. The deal was subject to Commerce Commission approval and undisclosed conditions. On 8 February 2006, following receipt of Commerce Commission clearance, Sky Television purchased Prime New Zealand from Australian based Prime Television. The acquisition of Prime by Sky Television saw a range of shows screened on Sky channels now included on Prime, these shows included American Chopper and Mythbusters which screen on the Discovery Channel.

In December 2005, it was announced that Prime had secured the 2006 Free to Air delayed broadcast of Rugby Union from TV3.

On 4 September 2006, the network relaunched with a modified logo, already seen in print advertisements, and new on-air branding.

In April 2008, Prime began broadcasting in Widescreen 16:9 format.

Prime joined Freeview on 17 August 2009[1] and is broadcasting in the clear on both the satellite and terrestrial services.

Refusal to join Freeview

On 7 May 2007, a consortium of broadcasters including TVNZ, TVWorks (owners of TV3 and C4), Maori Television Service, and Radio New Zealand launched the non-profit, free-to-air Freeview service; the only digital free-to-air system in New Zealand. The service was initially broadcast via the Optus D2 satellite in standard definition only, but in April 2008 extended to a high definition digital terrestrial service which is broadcast in main centres only.

Prime was widely expected to be included in the initial group of Freeview channels, but Sky Television had consistently refused to take part, citing poor economics. Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman then asked officials to invite Sky, Freeview and state-owned transmission company Kordia to meet him to discuss the matter, but Sky TV spokesman Tony O'Brien was quoted as saying "It is not economic for Prime to be on Freeview at this time."

A public petition was then launched on the free petition site "www.gopetition.com" ([1]), requesting that Sky Television rethink its position regarding the inclusion of Prime Television on Freeview.

Prime was finally launched on Freeview on Channel 10 on 17 August 2009.

Programming

Prime's current line-up includes a mixture of local shows, news, sport and international shows.

TV Guide

Prime TV

Prime News

The Prime News opening titles

Prime airs a nightly news bulletin — Prime News - First at 5:30. The programme was launched in February 2004 and was initially presented on weeknights by former Getaway (TVNZ version) presenter and ABC (US) reporter Suzy Clarkson (née Aiken until 2006) and was produced in Sydney by Sky News Australia, using the resources of Sky News Australia and Newstalk ZB.

As part of Prime's parent corporation, News Corp rebranding process, Prime News - First at 5:30 was relaunched, and now uses the same graphics and music as Sky News, also owned by News Corp. Production of the show was moved to its studios in Albany, Auckland. This included more local content and a new weekday presenter, former TV3 and TVNZ presenter Eric Young. The role of sports newsreader is held by Suzy Clarkson (née Aiken), and newcomer Ross Karl, with Clarkson also reading the weekend news. Political coverage is headed by Newstalk ZB political editor Barry Soper, along with several other Wellington-based reporters. There are no full-time South Island based reporters for Prime News. A reduction in Australian-focused stories has been evident since the move to Auckland.

Prime News is affiliated with other news agencies owned by News Corporation, including Sky News and Fox News Channel.

Prime used to broadcast some Nine Network Australia news programmes such as Today and, until 6 February 2007, National Nine News: Morning Edition but these have since been dropped, much to the disappointment of many viewers. Overnight, and during important international news events such as the 2008 US Presidential Election, it relays the international feed of U.S. news channel Fox News.NOTE: Prime has axed Fox News from its schedule

Sport

Prime has the free-to-air rights to cricket, rugby union and National Rugby League (NRL), meaning Prime TV's schedule includes delayed coverage of New Zealand Warriors NRL games, Super 14 games, All Black tests and Black Caps cricket matches. Prime used to broadcast a weekly Sunday afternoon sports highlights show called Ultimate Sport Sunday, which included highlights of cricket, rugby union, NRL, Formula One, WRC and Moto GP. With Prime now 100% owned by SKY Network Television, (holder of the pay television rights for the above events), it is well placed to continue holding the rights indefinitely, as SKY is effectively selling them to itself. Prime was also granted the rights to broadcast the free to air screening of Euro 2008. It is likely that some coverage of the 2012 London Olympics will be viewed on Prime with SKY Network Television being the new rights holder.

Current Local programmes

  • Prime News: First At 5.30 - presented by Eric Young, Suzy Clarkson and Ross Karl.
  • Off the Ropes - Professional wrestling programme starring talent from Kiwi Pro Wrestling.
  • Wayne Anderson: Glory Days
  • Getaway: NZ Made
  • The Crowd Goes Wild - Andrew Mulligan and Mark Richardson present a daily sports and entertainment show on weeknights.
  • Toyota Grassroots Rugby - Club rugby highlights.

Prime also rebroadcasts some SKY Television sports based shows.

International programmes

References

External links


Prime
Current Prime TV Logo
Launched 30 August 1998
Owned by SKY Network Television
Picture format 16:9 (SDTV)
Slogan Not Your Usual
Country  New Zealand
Website primetv.co.nz
Availability
Terrestrial
Analogue UHF Band
normally tuned to 5 or 9
SKY Network Television UHF Channel 9
Satellite
SKY Network Television Channel 004
Cable
TelstraClear InHomeTV Channel 4

Prime Television is the seventh national free-to-air television station in New Zealand. The station airs a mixed group of programmes, largely imported from Australia, the UK and the United States, as well as free-to-air rugby union, cricket and rugby league matches.

It was originally owned by Prime Television Limited in Australia. Prime later entered into a joint-venture agreement with Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (Nine Network Australia). On February 8 2006, the Commerce Commission gave Sky Television clearance to purchase the station for NZ$31 million.

Prime's analogue terrestrial signals cover 91% of the population. It is also available via subscription through SKY Television and TelstraClear InHomeTV.

Contents

History

In June 1998, Prime Television Limited in Australia purchased 34 licenses from United Christian Broadcasters for approximately A$3.6 million. The licenses covered all major cities and towns, mainly on UHF, except for the Gisborne area, which is served via a VHF signal. On August 30 1998, Prime Television New Zealand began broadcasting at 6.30pm with Two Fat Ladies.

Originally the station broadcast classic British programming, documentaries, sports and dramas aimed at the 30 years and above age bracket. In Waikato and Christchurch, Prime produced a half-hour nightly news programme. Although these programmes rated well, they were unprofitable.

In February 2002, Prime New Zealand entered into an agreement with Australian media mogul Kerry Packer's PBL (parent of the Nine Network). Under this five year agreement, Nine agreed to provide the station with content it owned the rights to, expertise and an amount of cash. In return, Nine was given the right to acquire 54% of Prime New Zealand at the end of the contract. If Prime New Zealand continued to lose money, Nine could choose not to take this up.

After this deal, Prime took on a broader and more expensive programming mix and axed the local content to cut costs. This increased ratings and profits significantly. This new format was modeled closely on the Global Television Network in Canada, whose parent company Canwest happened to own TV3 at the time.

Almost immediately, some Australian programmes produced by Nine Network and shown on Prime NZ took on a slightly New Zealand flavour. For example, one New Zealander per week began to appear on the Australian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, and weather details for New Zealand cities appeared on the Australian Today breakfast programme. Localisation of Australian programmes increased, with New Zealander Charlotte Dawson becoming the presenter of a New Zealand version of Nine travel programmeGetaway (Dawson ended this position at the end of 2006). Many Australian programmes were simply broadcast on Prime without any adaptation for New Zealand audiences, however.

During 2003-04, the number of Australian programmes broadcast decreased. These were largely replaced with more expensive (and higher rated) British and American programmes, such as a Sunday evening British drama slot.

On November 2, 2004, TVNZ presenter Paul Holmes announced that he was resigning from his Holmes programme on the state broadcaster and beginning a new one on Prime in 2005. This new programme, called Paul Holmes, began on February 7, 2005. The arrival of Holmes was seen as a major sign of Prime's rise in status, from a small, second-tier network to a major player on the New Zealand scene, joining TVNZ and TV3 in this regard. The programme, however, did not rate well. In June 2005 Prime moved the show to 6 p.m., directly following Prime News in an attempt to increase ratings. This was ultimately unsuccessful and Prime TV cancelled the programme on August 8, 2005 due to poor ratings. Holmes returned to host a one-hour weekly current affairs/interview programme, which was still called Holmes, and screened on Thursday evenings. In 2006, the show was relaunced as a strictly entertainment-oriented talk show and screened on Wednesday evenings. It did not return in 2007, but two "specials" were filmed. For most of 2007, Holmes' work for Prime consisted solely of a weekly opinion segment, broadcast Sunday nights as part of Prime News .

In late December, 2004, Prime announced it had acquired New Zealand broadcast rights for the new series of Doctor Who, one of its highest-profile imported shows, which went on to screen in June 2005 to generally good ratings.

In 2005 Prime announced that it would broadcast a minimum of 5.5% of local programmes, following recommendations from NZ On Air.

From 6 October 2005, Prime showed a weekly programme called New Zealand's Top 100 History Makers, where a brief biography of notable New Zealanders was shown as ranked by a panel of experts. The final episode, screened on 17 November 2005, showed the rankings of these people as a result of votes collected from the public via text and internet.

In November 2005, SKY Television purchased Prime for NZ$30 million. The deal was subject to Commerce Commission approval and undisclosed conditions. On February 8 2006, following receipt of Commerce Commission clearance, SKY Television purchased Prime New Zealand from Australian based Prime Television. The acquisition of Prime by SKY Television saw a range of shows screened on SKY channels now included on Prime, these shows included American Chopper and Mythbusters which screen on the Discovery Channel.

In December 2005, it was announced that Prime had secured the 2006 Free to Air delayed broadcast of Rugby Union from TV3.

On 4 September 2006, the network relaunched with a modified logo, already seen in print advertisements, and new on-air branding.

In April 2008, Prime began broadcasting in Widescreen 16:9 format.

Refusal to join Freeview

On 7th May 2007, a consortium of broadcasters including TVNZ, TVWorks (owners of TV3 and C4), Maori Television Service, and Radio New Zealand launched the non-profit, free-to-air Freeview (New Zealand) service; the only digital free-to-air system in New Zealand. The service was initially broadcast via the Optus D2 satellite in standard definition only, but in April 2008 extended to a high definition digital terrestrial service which is broadcast in main centres only.

Prime was widely expected to be included in the initial group of FreeView channels, but SKY Television has consistently refused to take part, citing poor economics. Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman has asked officials to invite SKY, Freeview and state-owned transmission company Kordia to meet him to discuss the matter, but Sky TV spokesman Tony O'Brien has been quoted as saying "It is not economic for Prime to be on Freeview at this time."

A public petition was recently launched on the popular, free petition site www.gopetition.com[1], requesting that SKY Television rethinks its current position regarding the inclusion of Prime Television on Freeview.

On Air

Prime Television's current line-up includes a mixture of local shows, news, sport and international shows.

Prime News

Prime TV airs a nightly news bulletin — Prime News - First at 5:30. The programme was launched in February 2004 and was initially presented on weeknights by former Getaway (TVNZ version) presenter and ABC (US) reporter Suzy Clarkson (née Aiken until 2006) and was produced in Sydney by Sky News Australia, using the resources of Sky News Australia and Newstalk ZB.

As part of Prime TV's parent corporation, News Corp rebranding process, Prime News - First at 5:30 was relaunched, and now uses the same graphics and music as Sky News, also owned by News Corp. Production of the show was moved to its studios in Albany, Auckland. This included more local content and a new weekday presenter, former TV3 and TVNZ presenter Eric Young. The role of sports newsreader is held by Suzy Clarkson (née Aiken), and newcomer Ross Karl, with Clarkson also reading the weekend news. Political coverage is headed by Newstalk ZB political editor Barry Soper, along with several other Wellington-based reporters. There are no full-time South Island based reporters for Prime News. A reduction in Australian-focused stories has been evident since the move to Auckland.

Prime News is affiliated with other news agencies owned by News Corporation, including Sky News and Fox News Channel.

Prime used to broadcast some Nine Network Australia news programmes such as Today and, until 6 February2007, National Nine News: Morning Edition but these have since been dropped, much to the disappointment of many viewers. Overnight, and during important international news events such as the 2008 US Presidential Election, it relays the international feed of U.S. news channel Fox News.

Sport

Prime TV has the free-to-air rights to cricket, rugby union and National Rugby League (NRL), meaning Prime TV's schedule includes delayed coverage of New Zealand Warriors NRL games, Super 14 games, All Black tests and Black Caps cricket matches. Prime used to broadcast a weekly Sunday afternoon sports highlights show called Ultimate Sport Sunday, which included highlights of cricket, rugby union, NRL, Formula One, WRC and Moto GP. With Prime now 100% owned by SKY Network Television, (holder of the pay television rights for the above events), it is well placed to continue holding the rights indefinitely, as SKY is effectively selling them to itself. Prime TV was also granted the rights to broadcast the free to air screening of Euro 2008. It is likely that some coverage of the 2012 London Olympics will be viewed on Prime with SKY Network Television being the new rights holder.

Current Local programmes

  • PRIME News: First At 5.30 - presented by Eric Young, Suzy Clarkson and Ross Karl.
  • New Zealand's Got Talent - Presented by Jason Reeves & Andrew Mulligan
  • Wayne Anderson: Glory Days
  • Getaway: NZ Made
  • The Crowd Goes Wild - Andrew Mulligan and Mark Richardson present a daily sports and entertainment show on weeknights.
  • Toyota Grassroots Rugby - Club rugby highlights.

Prime also rebroadcasts some SKY Television sports based shows.

International programmes

References

External links








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