TVNZ to create ‘yoof’ channel, merges 6 and 7
The two commercial-free digital channels run by TVNZ are to merge with TVNZ6 being converted to a youth-oriented channel in March and TVNZ 7 taking over preschoolers’ programmes.
TVNZ says the government has accepted the proposal to commercialise one of the frequencies and fund it from advertising while continuing the other as a public broadcasting channel at least until the end of the current funding.
TVNZ6 and TVNZ7 have both been Crown funded to encourage Freeview uptake and New Zealanders to move to digital television.
The $79 million over five years for the channels is due to expire in the 2011-12 financial year.
TVNZ chief executive Rick Ellis said as well as a two hour pre-school children’s block, TVNZ7 would have family-skewed information programmes and a commitment to arts and cultural programmes. The hourly news updates and the hour long “News At 8” would continue, along with programmes such as like Back Benches and Media7.
TVNZ’s head of digital channels, Eric Kearley, said the new youth channel would be a first for New Zealand broadcasting, focusing on “social television” for 15-24 year olds.
This would be a combination of reality and factual entertainment. But the channel would exist both on air and online with the opportunity for new kinds of interactivity so audiences could use it to connect and socialise with each other, he said.
The youth channel would be broadcast from midday to midnight. It was likely to have a daily live hosted show and themed nights such as extreme sports and concerts. Eight hours in the schedule would be first run content.