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Television New Zealand (TVNZ)
Type Broadcast television
Country New Zealand New Zealand
Availability Nationally (New Zealand) and some Pacific Island nations such as the Cook Islands, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands.
Founded 1980
Slogan Our Nation Our Voice.
Key people Rick Ellis
Official Website

Television New Zealand, more commonly referred to, and stylized as TVNZ, is a government-owned corporation television network broadcasting in New Zealand and parts of the Pacific. It operates TV1, TV2, TVNZ6, TVNZ7 and new media services.



TVNZ was established in 1980, through the merger of Television One and TV2 (formerly South Pacific Television). Until 1988 it was paired with Radio New Zealand as the Broadcasting Corporation of New Zealand (BCNZ).

Approximately 90% of TVNZ's revenue is from commercial activity (such as advertising and merchandising). The remainder of its funding comes from government funding agencies.

The Labour-led governments since 1999 have pursued a programme of public broadcasting reforms. New Zealand’s wide-ranging adoption of neoliberal policies in the mid-1980s and 1990s had large sections of the state sector privatised. As a state owned enterprise, TVNZ enjoyed enormous commercial success (sustaining two thirds of the overall audience share) and paid the Crown substantial dividends (over $250 million between 1989 and 1999). However, the commercial success had been achieved through an unabashed pursuit of ratings through populist and tabloid content, and prior to the 1999 election the National-led government was evidently positioning TVNZ for privatisation Labour-led administrations since 1999 explicitly recognised the market failures of a wholly commercial broadcasting sector (e.g. saturation-level advertising, low levels of local content, heavy reliance on cheap imports and a disregard for quality genres and in-depth news and current affairs) and re-emphasised television’s cultural and democratic functions in their policy thinking.

The government’s highest profile broadcasting reform to date was the restructuring of TVNZ as a Crown Entity in 2003. This introduced a dual remit whereby the broadcaster had to maintain its commercial performance (continuing dividend payments to the Crown) while simultaneously implementing a new public service Charter.

The TVNZ Charter would require the negotiation and reconciliation of potentially contradictory commercial and public service imperatives. The final version of the TVNZ Charter included a range of public service objectives and expectations.

However, this dual remit precluded any transformation of TVNZ into fully-fledged public service broadcaster, and TVNZ’s efforts to balance its pursuit of commercial performance and Charter objectives were soon being criticised. Despite some investment in local content, including new documentaries and discussion programmes, the content on TV One and TV2 remained similar to the pre-charter schedules, with a continuing high proportion of light entertainment and reality-TV shows.

TVNZ continues to pay dividends to the Crown. However from 2006 until 2009 TVNZ received $15.11 million each year from Government to assist it with fulfilling Charter obligations. There was much debate about the initial secrecy surrounding funding allocations and the programmes supported. The allocation of $5 million toward coverage of the 2008 Olympics, the rights for which are secured by a competitive tender between broadcasters, was possibly the most controversial. In 2009 the Government gave control of that funding to funding agency NZ On Air. NZ On Air announced the creation of the contestable "Platinum Fund" in April 2009, setting aside the $15.11 million for high quality drama, documentary and other programme types.

There is much debate on the future of TVNZ, which focuses on the nature of public service broadcasting and its commercial role. An example was in a memo called A More Public Broadcaster [1] written by outgoing Chief Executive Ian Fraser to the board of TVNZ in October 2005, was obtained and released by Green MP Sue Kedgley. The memo outlined three options

These were:

  • TV One as a fully non-commercial network, like ABC in Australia, charged with delivering Charter values, and possibly merging with Radio New Zealand and Maori Television
  • TV One a semi-commercial broadcaster with no more than six minutes of advertisements an hour like SBS in Australia
  • TV One and TV2 remaining unchanged, but two new public service channels being broadcast via digital television. [2]
  • TV One and TV2 are now fully commercial with 15 - 20 minutes of ads per hour, plus ads overplayed over programs.

On 15 February 2006, a group of 31 prominent New Zealanders signed an open letter [3], published as a full-page newspaper advertisement, calling for better quality programmes and less advertising on TVNZ. These included mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary, and former Governors-General Sir Michael Hardie Boys and Dame Catherine Tizard. However, they were accused of being out of touch and nostalgic for local programmes from the 1970s, when New Zealand had only one or two TV channels.

While the Broadcasting Minister, Steve Maharey ruled out turning TVNZ into an entirely non-commercial broadcaster, on 25 February, he stated that the Labour Government was "pretty much settled" on the introduction of two new free-to-air, non-commercial channels available via digital television. One channel could show high-end international documentaries, re-runs of One News and minority programmes with a high local content, and another, primarily for children, screening serious drama and arts at night. [4]

On November 14, 2006, TVNZ announced plans to launch two commercial-free digital channels. The first, with the working title TVNZ News 24, would feature news, sport and special interest content, and be launched in late 2007. This would be followed by a channel featuring children's, families', arts and documentary programming, with the working title of TVNZ Home, in early 2008. [5] While 80 per cent of the programming would be local content, 70 per cent of this would consist of repeats from TVNZ's existing channels or its archive.

The proposal was criticised by TV3, which accused the Government of "bailing out" TVNZ and argued that the money would be better spent on new programming [6] Although Sue Kedgely welcomed the decision to make the channels (including children's programming) commercial-free, she accused the Government of tight-fistedness.[7]




TV One is targeted at an older audience compared to other major television channels in New Zealand. It has a broad range of programming including ONE News and Current Affairs and ONE Sport, with overnight news coverage provided with BBC World News.

The channel also has rights to screen sporting events live such as the Olympics (until 2008), the Commonwealth Games and the America's Cup. A notable exception is All Blacks test matches, where they were out-bid by TV3 and Sky Television.


TV2 targets a younger audience than TV One. TV2's line up consists of dramas, sitcoms, and reality shows, most of which are produced in New Zealand or imported from the United States.

Locally-produced content includes: Shortland Street and Mitre 10 Dream Home, and international shows (which are predominantly American) include: Lost, Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty.


TVNZ 6 is TVNZ's first digital-only television channel. It is commercial-free, and is available on the Freeview and Sky platforms. TVNZ 6 broadcasts TVNZ Kidzone, which is preschool programming between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm. It also family orientated programming from 6:00pm until closedown at midnight.


TVNZ 7, launched in March 2008, is a commercial-free 24-hour news and information channel. It is available via the Freeview and Sky platforms

TVNZ ondemand

TVNZ have a large variety of both New Zealand and international shows on TVNZ ondemand, however they are unavailable to watch three months after airing, and the service is not suited for dialup use (which still has a large proportion of Internet users in New Zealand).

TVNZ ondemand is Television New Zealand's online television viewing and downloading website, launched in March 2007. Although the content on this site is only available from within New Zealand, a selection is made available to an international audience via their YouTube channel.

Other services

Internationally, TVNZ has helped provide television services in Pacific Island nations such as the Cook Islands, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands. While TVNZ provides much of the programming, scheduling and continuity are done locally.

Because of its history TVNZ has inherited and developed its own services in the production and broadcasting services area. These include The New Zealand Television Archive, production facilities, television school.

TVNZ also operated the website for a number of years. The site was an internet portal with news purchased from Radio New Zealand its own content and also content produced by its own staff. It was rebranded in 2004 as


On 26 March 2009 TVNZ announced that it had acquired a 33% stake in Hybrid Television Services (67% owned by Australia's Seven Media Group). Hybrid TV is the exclusive licensee of TiVo products in Australia and New Zealand. On the same day it was announced that TiVo would be arriving in New Zealand by Christmas 2009 (Hybrid launched it in Australia in July 2008). [1]

Discontinued services

Between 1995 and 1997, TVNZ operated a network of regional TV stations under the 'Horizon Pacific' name and through a subsidiary called Horizon Pacific Television. Its broadcasted content included BBC World and NZ documentary programming. The network consisted of newly formed stations in Hamilton, Wellington and Dunedin and CTV, a station they purchased based in Christchurch. CTV is still broadcasting, but is no longer owned by TVNZ.

Horizon Pacific was replaced by a local 'free to air' version of the music video channel MTV, based on MTV's UK service and local programming, although the channel was dropped in 1998. Prior to MTV's demise, TVNZ had bought the channel's competitor, MaxTV.[2]

TVNZ also operated a satellite services division organising and downlink facilities and across the globe, but this service was wound down in 2005.

Transmission network

Technical notes

New Zealand uses PAL B (7MHz channel spacing) on VHF, and PAL G (8MHz channel spacing) on UHF.

  • While Australia also uses PAL B on VHF, the frequency allocations of NZ differ somewhat from Australia.
  • Australia uses PAL B (7MHz channel spacing) for UHF, so most UHF channels are on different frequencies.
  • For stereo sound New Zealand uses NICAM, but Australia uses Zweiton
  • Because of these differences, some Australian TV sets (when taken to NZ) are only be capable of mono sound reproduction, and many VHF channels may not be received (properly) or come in at all.
  • TVNZ (for historical and technical reasons) uses the greatest number of VHF frequencies in New Zealand.

NICAM stereo

New Zealand has a near nationwide implementation of NICAM stereo sound for TV One and TV2. NICAM stereo was first made available on TV2 in the Auckland region in 1989, also during the early 1990s Simulated Stereo was available in Wellington on TV2. NICAM stereo was not rolled out to the rest of the country or onto TV One until 1996 and for some regions (such as Southland) NICAM was not available until 2001. Rival networks TV3 has offered NICAM stereo in all available regions since its launch in 1989 this is also the case with Prime TV. Stereo sound is available on TV One and TV2 if accessed through Sky Digital.

High Definition

TVNZ has offered HD broadcasts since July/August 2008, when the 2008 Summer Olympics were broadcast in High Definition. The service is offered on the Freeview|HD platform, using DVB-T transmission. Only TV One and TV2 are offered in HD, and the majority of programming is still up-converted from Standard Definition. From July 1 2009 the HD versions of TV1 and TV2 became available to Sky TV subscribers who have the MySky HDi decoders. Content on the HD versions of TV One and 2 are the same as the Standard Definition versions however when watching certain shows that broadcast in High Definition the HD logo is displayed next to the channel logo, this logo is not seen when watching the same show on the Standard Definition versions of TV1 and 2.

TVNZ has adopted 720p as their HD broadcast format.

Kordia, formerly BCL, TVNZ's transmission partner

TVNZ's transmission network is operated by Kordia, formerly a subsidiary of TVNZ known as Broadcast Communications Limited until 2006. The company owns and operates the terrestrial transmission network used for broadcast of all major terrestrial television networks in New Zealand, including TV3 and Prime Television - TVNZ's major competitors, along with other voice and data telecommunications services.


Along with TV3 both of TVNZ's current television networks TV1 and TV2 are fed as distinct feeds to viewers based on defined regions though this is only for the purpose of targeted regional advertising as the company discontinued regional news programming in the late 1980s. TVNZ's predecessor, NZBC started as distinct stations in the major metropolitan centres. Nationwide networked services were first introduced in 1969 to broadcast a tape of the moon landing flown specially from Australia simultaneously across all stations. TVNZ also used to run Telethons up until 1990 at locations around the country, viewers would be shown full coverage of the Telethon nearest their location. Originally when TVNZ began broadcasting TV1 and TV2 on Sky Digital at the end of 2001 viewers would see only nationwide or Auckland advertisements when watching these channels through the Sky Digital service. In 2004 this was changed to show advertisements from either Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch with viewers outside of these regions seeing advertisements from the closest region. This was again dropped in March 2007 with a return to only nationwide advertising on TVNZ channels on Sky Digital. Today TVNZ only produces regional advertising for TV One, TV2 shows the same advertising across all of New Zealand. Regional advertising is shown on TV One on both Digital and Analogue platforms however those that receive the HD version of TV One through mySky HD will see Auckland advertisements.

DVB-S availability

TV One, TV2, TVNZ 6 and TVNZ Sport Extra are available "in the clear" over DVB-S on Optus D1. A SKY set-top box is not required, any satellite set-top box or tuner will work.

Civil Defence

TVNZ's functions are subject to lifeline utility requirements under NZ civil defence legislation. In practice, this status as a lifeline utility requires TVNZ to be able to function at least to a reduced level after an emergency, and to provide advice to civil defence authorities when requested.


TVNZ's major competitors in the television market are

New Zealand shows

See also

General topic

TVNZ specific


  • Chief outlines 'major problem at TVNZ The New Zealand Herald, December 13 2005, retrieved January 3, 2006.
  • TVNZ Annual Report for 2005 [8] Retrieved January 3, 2006
  • TVNZ Charter 2003 [9] Retrieved January 4, 2006
  • TVNZ Corporate Brochure 2005 [10] Retrieved January 3, 2006

External links


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