NHNZ slams 'archaic' TV networks

Kyle Murdoch
Kyle Murdoch
NHNZ managing director Kyle Murdoch has slammed New Zealand television networks as ''archaic'' after they declined to take content from its new children's TV channel.

This comes as the Dunedin-based firm's ZooMoo channel, aimed at 3- to 6-year-olds, launches in Latin America today after partnering with the United States' largest satellite service provider, DirecTV.

Mr Murdoch said it was disappointing the company had not had comparable success trying to get content from the educational animal-based channel on New Zealand television.

''We have tried really hard to get inside New Zealand TV. We have been turned down by pretty much everyone.

''We have pitched it to TVNZ, we have pitched to to TV3, we have pitched it to Maori TV, we have pitched it to Sky,'' he said.

He put this partly down to New Zealand's strict rules on the amount of advertising allowed during children's TV, but also due to the lack of vision at the networks.

''When you are dealing with traditional New Zealand broadcasters, they are so archaic.

''The people in the commissioning positions ... have been in the same positions for the last 20 years.''

He did not see a bright future for traditional broadcast television, going as far as saying ''TV is kind of dead, really''.

''[New Zealand TV networks] are completely going to be in decline, because they are just not up to date.''

The networks had given ''some ridiculous feedback, like saying that our programmes aren't innovative enough''.

This was ''rubbish'' as the channel, which had an associated app, was at the ''leading edge'' of ''trans-media productions''.

It was still in discussion with both Spark's subscription internet TV service, Lightbox, and Sky about having some of its content available online as video on demand.

However, he felt the best course of action would likely be to go it alone in New Zealand and launch an online video on demand channel.

Despite not making it on to New Zealand TV, it was an ''exciting time'' at NHNZ as it sought ''global domination'' for its children's channelToday's launch in Latin America involved partnering with the largest US satellite TV company, DirecTV - which had global revenue of $US31.7 billion last year - potentially opening the way to the lucrative US market.

''It's like getting to bed with Sky on steroids. They are just that much bigger than anything in the New Zealand market.''

The Latin America launch came after the channel was already on the air in Brazil and Singapore and ahead of a launch in Indonesia next month.

He expected it would take three to five years to really ''grow the brand''.

The company also hoped to ''roll out another few channels'', but he was unsure when this might happen.

''We want to make more channels, but we would have to do market research to determine what those actual channels would be.''

A spokeswoman for Mediaworks, which owns TV3, declined to comment, apart from saying the channel selected content based on viewer demand.

A TVNZ spokeswoman also declined to comment on the criticism, only commenting on the funding situation for children's TV.

''There's a limited amount of local production funding to go around and that means some kids' shows will get made while others won't, despite having a lot going for them.''


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