TVNZ OnDemand to Split From Freeview

The same day MediaWorks finalised the sale of its TV assets to Discovery, TVNZ announced it would be pulling TVNZ OnDemand from the Freeview On Demand platform.

From June next year you’ll no longer be able to watch TVNZ OnDemand shows through Freeview On Demand.

Instead, you’ll need to access the content from Smart TV and mobile apps, Chromecast, Apple TV, Vodafone TV, SmartVU and gaming consoles.

You’ll still be able to watch TVNZ 1, 2 and Duke live through Freeview (or through the Live TV section of TVNZ OnDemand).

The move clearly signals TVNZ’s on-demand ambitions in the face of Discovery’s terrestrial and digital expansion in the market and the inroads already made by the likes of Netflix and Disney+.

“TVNZ is committed to Freeview as a distribution platform for our TV channels in New Zealand,” TVNZ spokeswoman Rachel Howard says.

“However, we see TVNZ OnDemand as the best home for our online content offering.

“Placing our investment in TVNZ OnDemand puts us in the best position to compete against global streaming giants.

“It means we can ensure a consistent user experience across endpoints and we can better utilise our data to make content decisions.”

Freeview chief Jason Foden told ScreenScribe: “While it is disappointing for us not to be aggregating TVNZ OnDemand from June next year, TVNZ is a commercial organisation who own their content and, as such, they can determine what they feel is best for them.

“In terms of implications for Freeview, we will still aggregate 3Now, Maori Television and RNZ VOD content.

“We’re also excited for the arrival of Discovery who will bring with them a wealth of new content which we hope to bring to Freeview On Demand.

“The core of Freeview, however, is the aggregation and promotion of free-to-air broadcast TV which all shareholders – including TVNZ – are committed to.”

Here’s the Freeview media release:

          Changes coming to Freeview On Demand content 

Changes are coming to Freeview On Demand, with TVNZ OnDemand content to be accessed via its own app rather than the Freeview aggregated platform from June 2021.

Freeview broadcast TV channels are not impacted by this change. Viewers will still be able to enjoy all the same TV channels they know and love, and this includes the live streaming of TV channels available on selected devices.  Freeview features also remain unchanged by this move, including helpful tools like the Freeview TV Guide and recording of TV programmes.

Freeview On Demand currently brings together programmes from all its shareholders (TVNZ, Three, Māori Television and RNZ) into one streaming service. From June 2021, viewers will still be able to enjoy all their content, but they’ll use two apps to do so.

Freeview On Demand will continue to offer content from ThreeNow, Māori Television On Demand and RNZ, all available via the combined Freeview On Demand service.

For most viewers, this is a simple change.  Their favourite local and international shows will still be available on demand, just accessed on two different apps – Freeview On Demand and TVNZ OnDemand.

Freeview On Demand is built into all Freeview-approved Smart TVs and connected set-top boxes and recorders sold in New Zealand.  TVNZ OnDemand is available on many of the same products, ensuring an easy adjustment for most viewers going forward.  Support from both organisations will be provided over the coming months so viewers can keep watching their favourite programmes on demand.

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2 Responses to “TVNZ OnDemand to Split From Freeview”

  1. TVNZ is going against the whole purpose of Freeview to combine each broadcasters offering into one rather than multiple apps. I thought a collaborative approach from all parties would best position them to challenge the might of Netflix and Amazon. Time will tell if this approach is successful.

  2. You would think so, Leo, but Discovery’s purchase of MediaWorks TV would have muddied the waters given it’s a global giant rather than a local minnow. Moreover, TVNZ’s huge investment in its OnDemand library has outstripped its FTA rivals for years and clearly has been driven as much by a commercial agenda as self-preservation in the face of Hollywood heavyweights launching their own direct-to-consumer apps. In the early days of Freeview, the networks were mostly concerned with catch-up programming to help drive viewers back to their linear schedules for the latest episodes. But now it’s becoming more like the tail wagging the dog, with online poised to overtake on-air as the preferred viewing medium.

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