Choice TV pledges to move beyond imported shows

RIGHT: NBR readers may be interested in Around the World in 80 Trades, which will run on Choice TV on Monday nights. The show, made by the UK's Channel 4, features economist Conor Woodman, who uses £25,000 from the sale of his flat to travel to various countries around the world to buy products, which he tries to sell in other countries for a profit.

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Choice TV launches this Saturday with a line-up of imported lifestyle and entertainment shows, but says it has ambitions to commission original local content.

The new channel will be carried by Freeview and, after it launches mid-year, the Sky TV-TVNZ joint venture igloo (but not Sky TV itself).

General manager Alex Breingan told NBR ONLINE that during “phase one” all shows would be bought, and most of them from overseas – which was simply a far cheaper option.

Broadcast will be in standard rather than high definition. Mr Breingan said much of the content Choice TV was sourcing was in standard definition anyway, and licensing fees for HD shows are more expensive.

An on-demand service will be added through Choice TV’s website within a few weeks.

Choice TV would receive nothing directly from being on igloo (which will feature a mix of free and paid channels), but would indirectly by dint of being exposed to a wider audience.

During “phase two” Choice TV will commission shows.  Mr Breingan would not give a time-frame, but said the channel would make money within two years.

It was likely local shows would be in the lifestyle area, given drama and other genres were a lot more expensive, the general manager said.

Top Shelf Productions, responsible for a string of shows screening on TVNZ and TV3 including Target, What’s Really In Our Food? Immigrant Nation, Frontier of Dreams and Media 7, is a major shareholder.

And Choice TV is housed at Top Shelf's Mt Eden, Auckland, headquarters. However, it will operate independently and not feature any shows created by its owner.

It is already in advanced talks with a production company about a new series. There were also two or three lifestyle shows in the early stages of inhouse development.

For now, most Choice TV content consists of lifestyle shows imported from the US, UK and Australia.

Each week night is themed, with Monday evenings devoted to travel shows, Tuesday to property, Wednesday to outdoors and motoring, Thursday home and garden and Friday to food.

Weekends will offer more general entertainment fare.

Choice TV's hero weekend show is The Deep a BBC aciton drama starring Minnie Driver and James Nesbitt that the channel says attracted 5 million viewers when it screened in the UK.

Weekends will also feature UK panel show Celebrity Juice, made by ITV, and N2K, hosted by local radio personality Dom Harvey, who will offer entertainment news plus a trawl around Twitter and YouTube.

BELOW: Choice TV's show reel:

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