TVNZ OnDemand Rebranded TVNZ+

Ahead of today’s announcement about key changes to TVNZ OnDemand, the broadcaster’s streaming service has changed its name to TVNZ+.

It’s not clear what the big reveal will focus on — a new content deal, improved audio and video specs, more digital channels — but OnDemand already has been rebranded.

TVNZ has been working on this “replatforming” for more than a year so it can offer essentially a TV+ on steroids that can compete with not only behemoths like Netflix, Prime Video and Disney+ but also ThreeNow’s pending transformation from an undistinguished streaming service to a Warner Bros Discovery powerhouse that could wind up a mix of Discovery+ and HBO Max.

Discovery NZ isn’t commenting on its uprade plans for ThreeNow, which will depend on how the WBD revamp will work in this part of the world given the WarnerMedia legacy deal sees the lion’s share of HBO content still exclusive to Sky until at least next year.

But the new entity’s clout in this market may lead to that pact unwinding earlier and already we’re starting to see how WBD will structure itself globally, with last week’s announcement that Discovery NZ’s general manager Glen Kyne has been appointed head of networks in Japan and Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) as part of a broader management restructuring.

With the biggest global players already well entrenched here, along with smaller streamers like Acorn TV and Shudder, it’s hard to see where TVNZ can mine new content that would be exclusive to TVNZ+.

The biggest likelihoods are a NZ Britbox and Starzplay.

Britbox Is a BBC-ITV collaboration that focuses on streaming vintage and classic UK series but also commissions original content; Starz is owned by Hollywood studio Lionsgate, which wants to expand globally its Starzplay service via a mix of initiatives and partnerships – which a pact with TVNZ would enable.

“We are engaged in a robust and productive process with our bankers and a number of potential strategic and financial partners,” studio CEO Jon Feltheimer told analysts on a post-earnings call.

It’s also possible TVNZ+ could break out its NBCUniversal and Paramount offerings to offer distinctive services like the Peacock and Paramount+ operations that run in the US and other strategic markets (P+ is launching this month in the UK).

But that seems less likely given how these heavyweights already spread their content across various platforms here, with the most recent — and surprising — deals being the licensing of Paramount’s 1883 and Mayor of Kingstown to Prime Video rather than TVNZ.

Another possibility is beefing up TVNZ+ with news and sport content. A 24-hour HD digital news channel outside of Sky’s SD monopoly is well overdue while more streamers internationally are focusing on acquiring sports rights as the key to growth.

Then again, today’s announcement may have more to do with TVNZ at last upgrading the capabilities of TVNZ+ to offer full HD if not 4K streaming, complete with 5.1 audio.

NZ streaming services compare poorly with international platforms, where 4K is becoming, if not the norm, much more widespread and surround sound is standard.

On the one hand, Kiwis have been lucky to be able access so much pay- or subscription-TV content for free on TVNZ OnDemand but on the other hand they pay a high price in PQ, with native 4K series being downgraded to 720p for streaming here.

If any or most of these become a reality under the new-look TVNZ+, expect some to be exclusive subscription options. For instance, you may be able to choose between a free smorgasbord of general fare or opt for niche, premium, express and/or higher-spec content for a monthly fee.

Little more than a year ago TVNZ ruled out a subscription option because a free ad-funded service was viewed as being more viable. “Different studies show different maximum amounts or maximum numbers of subscription services viewers will have each month – they don’t tend to be that high and viewers will chop and change what they pay for,” one executive said.

“We believe our model can sit nicely alongside those big players every single month as the free addition.”

But indicative of how quickly things can change in this accelerated streaming market was only a few weeks later TVNZ’s replatforming ambitions were revealed, along with a review of different payment options, the outcome of which will be made public today.

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6 Responses to “TVNZ OnDemand Rebranded TVNZ+”

  1. Warning: preg_replace(): Unknown modifier '/' in /home/customer/www/ on line 66
    June 13, 2022 at 11:12 am

    I wonder if Warner Bros. Discovery will have shows and movies from other places to tide them over until the deal with Sky expires, that is a possibility if they can’t finish it earlier ?

  2. If they don’t upgrade picture and audio I will still be forced to find my content elsewhere. Same with all local services including broadcast and satellite television.

  3. After reading this post and seeing what was announced, I’m quite disappointed with just a + being added. The points you raised in this post Philip could of elevated the OnDemand platform worthy of a plus but alas it wasn’t meant to be. The only glimmer of hope with one of your ideas is the 24 hour HD News channel that could be a possibility with the impending TVNZ/RNZ merger. They didn’t even use this to announce a new content deal, Britbox would of been a great addition along with the Starz content. Just when you get your hopes up that something truly exciting is happening, you get left brutally disappointed.

  4. I share your frustration and disappointment, Leo, but given TVNZ’s big bash for A-listers is tonight, chances are there may be a bigger announcement to come, with Monday’s rebrand merely paving the way. If the glitzy knees-up is going to be as flash as the NZ Herald suggests, you would think there would be much more to celebrate than just a new name that’s scarcely a point of difference in the streaming marketplace. ?

  5. I have the TVNZ and ThreeNow apps on an Android TV stick. No 5.1 surround sound. Have I misconfigured something? Or do the apps not support surround sound at all? I was sure that both channels on my TiVo Freeview provided surround sound.

  6. I’m afraid they’re 2.0-channel only, Paul. The channels broadcast in 5.1 but stream in 2.0.

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