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TV3 New Zealand logo.svg
Current TV3 logo, its second since launch, introduced in 2003.
Launched 26 November 1989
Owned by MediaWorks New Zealand
Picture format 576i 16:9 (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Country New Zealand
Timeshift service TV3 Plus 1
Analogue VHF band
normally tuned to 3
Freeview|HD Channel 3
Freeview Channel 3
SKY Network Television Channel 003
TelstraClear InHomeTV Channel 3

TV3 is a commercial television station in New Zealand broadcasting via analogue to most of the country, and on Sky Network Television's and Freeview's satellite & terrestrial platforms. It began broadcasting on 26 November 1989, the first privately owned television network in the country. The station is part of the MediaWorks New Zealand group, which also operates C4 and numerous radio stations within New Zealand.



Original TV3 logo.
Later version logo.

Applications to apply for a warrant to operate New Zealand’s third national television network opened in 1985. The Broadcasting Tribunal announced in 1987 that TV3 had won the warrant. TV3 initially aimed to provide a regionally based television service, with linked studios based in each of the four areas (Auckland, Wellington, Regional North Island, and South Island).

There were numerous delays to the launch date of TV3. Litigation surrounded the granting of the warrant, as did the share market crash in October 1987, which wiped out a large proportion of the capital that TV3 required to establish the channel. The then Minister of Broadcasting, Richard Prebble, announced in late 1987 that much of the UHF spectrum in New Zealand was to be auctioned to allow for an increased number of television channels, resulting in a reduction in the value of TV3’s warrant due to the increased competition. The drawn-out tribunal process of frequency allocation that TV3 had just won would be replaced by a bidding process that would allocate frequencies in weeks rather than months or even years.

These problems resulted in the ambitious regional plans being rationalised before being shelved completely. The network was to be based in Auckland with limited studios and news and sales teams in the other main centres.

Broadcasting started on 26 November 1989 with a preview of what viewers could expect to see. Its first broadcast was a two-hour special previewing the network's programmes and featuring comedians David McPhail and Jon Gadsby playing cameramen. The TV3 slogan proclaimed, 'Come home to the feeling'. The following day about 60 percent of New Zealand "came home" to TV3's regular broadcasts.

Early in TV3's life, financial supporters of the network included ABC and NBC as a minority shareholding, who later sold their interest.

TV3 failed to gain ground against a recently revitalised TVNZ and was placed into receivership on 2 May 1990. It has been claimed that the receiver was called in too early and that advertising, which had been weak, was starting to improve. TV3 continued to broadcast, with the major creditor, Westpac Banking Corporation, supporting the network by taking a large shareholding.

In hindsight, much of TV3's initial failure stemmed from trying to be everything to everyone, attempting to match the state broadcaster show-for-show, rather than finding niche areas where it could flourish. It also was difficult to break the habits of TV viewers, especially launching at summer, and with the main advertising medium for programmes (TVNZ) heavily promoting its own lineup. High hopes were placed on domestically produced TV shows such as The Billy T. James Show, Issues, and Letter to Blanchy (only the pilot was aired at first, though subsequent episodes were made). TV3 news anchorwoman Joanna Paul was one of the highest paid in the country at the time. It became apparent that the broad schedule meant that TV3 had used up its programmes too quickly. The state broadcaster, Television New Zealand, had been ready to take on the challenge. One early triumph was TV3's free-to-air coverage of the Gulf War, which was regarded as superior to that sourced by the state broadcaster on TV One.

As TV3 badly needed investment during a climate of economic recession, the Government liberalised the rules on foreign ownership of television stations (lifting the 15 percent cap to 49 percent and later removing all restrictions), allowing TV3 to search for an investor overseas. In December 1991, CanWest took a 20 percent shareholding in TV3 and secured a management agreement allowing it full control to operate the station. CanWest introduced tighter controls on budgets while targeting the lucrative 18-49 year old audience. TV3’s audience share and advertising revenue steadily increased, leading to significant profits. TV3 also steadily increased its coverage of New Zealand, adding dozens of transmitters and translators, often with the assistance of New Zealand on Air. By 1998 about 97 percent of the population could receive the channel.

Eventually, TV3's success came from defining itself through its flagship news programmes, its domestically produced current affairs programmes, and its entertainment programming.

On 2 October 1996, TV3 announced a reshuffling of its broadcast frequencies to enable it to launch a new network, to be called TV4 Network Limited, on the VHF band. TV4, which started on 29 June 1997, is a free to air network aimed at a younger audience than TV3. The launch was considered successful, with high brand recognition and ratings significantly higher than MTV, TV4’s television rival. TV4's opening broadcast was the controversial Tyson-Holyfield boxing rematch. [1]

In April 1997 CanWest purchased Westpac’s 48 percent shareholding in TV3, taking CanWest’s stake to 68 percent. In June CanWest picked up the More FM Radio network, followed in November with the purchase of the remaining 32 percent of TV3. In April 1998, CanWest announced that it had made C$22m in the six months to February 1998 in New Zealand, up a third on the same period the year before. TV4 contributed positively to the result, with some of the increase due to the inclusion of More FM, while TV3 was continuing to experience strong revenue growth.

Canwest's investments in New Zealand have developed considerably in New Zealand over the period that it has had interests in the country. TV4 continued to be a source of concern for the broadcaster the position of TV3 has been strengthened by alliances with SKY Television for sport and a series of high profile mistakes by TVNZ as it dealt with the dominance of SKY in pay television. The election of the Labour Government in 1999 refocussed TVNZ as a semi-non-commercial broadcaster, meaning its focus on driving ratings and dominating the free to air television market would stumble. TV3 took advantage of this, steadily working on ensuring a friendly public image.

During 2004 the station was transferred into the ownership of Canwest MediaWorks New Zealand as a way of listing 30 percent of the Canadian company's New Zealand assets on the New Zealand share market. TV3's parent company TVWorks announced its annual revenue at $124 million in October 2004 which were $13 million up from the previous financial year.

In May 2007 it was announced that Ironbridge Capital, an Australian private equity firm, was paying $386 million or $2.43 a share for the 70 percent of CanWest MediaWorks New Zealand owned by CanWest Global Communications. It was also offering the same price to minority shareholders under a full takeover bid.



TV Guide

Schedule - TV3


TV3 operates a significant news and current affairs department, responsible for over nine hours of peak programming weekly. News and current affairs programming is in constant high demand by advertisers and attracts premium rates. TV3's flagship one-hour bulletin, 3 News is aired nightly at 6pm, consistently outrating state television's ONE News in the key 18-49 demographic.(AGB Nielsen Ratings Survey)TV3 also has a number of other news and current affair programmes including Sunrise, a weekday breakfast news and information programme, which launched on October 2, 2007.


TV3 currently holds the free-to-air rights to the A1GP. It previously held the free-to-air rights to New Zealand cricket tests and one day internationals from 1999 to 2004, All Blacks rugby tests, Super 12 and the National Provincial Championship from 2000 to 2005 as well as the NRL from 1998 to 2002, but lost these when SKY Network Television bought Prime Television. It also holds the broadcast rights for the 2009 V8 Supercar series, which is based in Australia, and the NZ PGA Golf Championships. TV3 held the exclusive rights to the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

Local entertainment

TV3 screens a variety of locally-made programming, produced by outside companies.

Local programming includes:

Imported entertainment

TV3 has a long term agreement with 20th Century Fox Television to purchase programing. TV3 also has programming deals with CBS Paramount Television & NBC Universal. TV3 broadcasts entertainment programming targeted at the 18 – 49 age demographic, the most attractive audience group to New Zealand advertisers and their agencies. TV3 broadcasts mainly American shows, though it also features several locally produced shows, and some imported from Australia and Britain.

TV3's international shows include:

Moved shows

These shows have been moved to C4, TV3's sister channel, and are now screening on C4.

Upcoming shows

Digital TV

TV3 is a member broadcaster of the Freeview platform as well as broadcasting on SKY Digital. TV3 began screening widescreen transmissions on both platforms on 11 April 2007, although TelstraClear InHomeTV, which gets most of its content from SKY Digital, switched back to screening the cropped version of TV3 for a couple of months due to non-widescreen customer complaints. TelstraClear resumed broadcasting the widescreen version of TV3 on 24 July 2007. In April 2008 TV3 commenced 1080i high definition broadcasts on the Freeview|HD terrestrial platform and on SKY Network Television's HD satellite platform.

TV3 Plus 1

The TV3 Plus 1 logo

TV3 launched a new service to Freeview customers from 30 March 2009. It is another channel with a 1-hour time shift of the present TV3 programme. TV3 Plus 1 is available on both Freeview|HD and Freeview satellite on channel 8. [1]

See also


  • TV3 Website 2006 [2] Retrieved January 5, 2006

External links


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