WBD NZ Unveils New Streaming Services


2023 Upfront ‘Welcome to Our World’ reveals ThreeNow expansion with FAST channels, new titles and a return to long-form current affairs with new show Paddy Gower Has Issues

3 November 2022 – Warner Bros. Discovery ANZ has revealed its 2023 plans for New Zealand audiences, building on the company’s world-class reputation across global media, news, sports and entertainment to offer Kiwis the most diverse portfolio of content, brands and franchises across television, film and streaming.

“We are an organisation with global scale, assets and franchises, that also values local expertise and the need for local investment. At the heart of that remains a commitment to trusted news and current affairs and local content, for both our valued audiences in New Zealand, and new audiences who want to hear New Zealand stories told around the world,” says Glen Kyne, Warner Bros. Discovery Senior Vice President and Head of Networks, ANZ and Japan.

“Investment and growth in ThreeNow, its audience and its content proposition has been our top priority this year, and will continue in 2023 as we further drive its expansion and build increasing scale. This means growing audiences further with the best mix of locally produced and internationally acquired content across multiple screens, maximising our entire portfolio.”

In 2023 a selection of 24/7 FAST Channels will be introduced into the ThreeNow universe, each with exciting new content for ThreeNow and a portfolio of channels that will grow over time. FAST Channels or Free Ad-Supported Streaming Television are a whole new emerging class of video streaming . The channels will offer a curated, lean-back experience for viewers and another opportunity to unlock the depth and breadth of the Warner Bros. Discovery content catalogue in New Zealand.

This year, we saw leading news talent extend into prime time shows that brought a fresh perspective and insight to topical events, and we’re delighted to announce an expansion of long-form current affairs in 2023. Hosted by award-winning journalist Patrick Gower, brand new regular series Paddy Gower Has Issues is the new home for factual content on Three and ThreeNow. It’ll offer a fresh take on current affairs, all brought to life with Paddy’s trademark edge and will appeal to digital and linear audiences. This show is for information-seeking audiences who crave real and relevant issues-driven content that captures the zeitgeist.

Building on our core news offerings including Newshub Live at 6PM, AM and The Project, 2023 will also be about driving digital growth ambition further on newshub.co.nz and our social channels, to help bring Newshub’s award-winning journalism to New Zealanders, however they choose to access their news. A new virtual set will support delivering news in an environment that will resonate with online audiences. With digital and social audiences being a key focus of expansion, Newshub will prioritise amplifying premium video content for online audiences as well as growing the relationship it has with Warner Bros. Discovery’s global news provider CNN.

Across a huge range of content, 2023 on ThreeNow and Three will bring the most compelling lineup of loved high performers and fresh new shows – the very best of New Zealand and the world.

“Our local content is the key differentiator in an ever fragmenting market.  It’s bold, has attitude, and it creates an emotional connection with the audience,” says Juliet Peterson, Warner Bros. Discovery Senior Director Content, ANZ. 

“Next year, there will be even more cut through NZ content across ThreeNow and Three.  After a massive increase in NZ content this year across ThreeNow and Three, we’re boosting that again with 30 per cent more local hours. Viewers can look forward to a bold lineup across the key genres of factual, reality, drama, comedy, movies and sport.”

New local titles include The Traitors NZ – an addictive, whodunnit reality series where contestants work with and against each other using lies, deception and betrayal to win this nail biting game of elimination. Hosted by Jaquie Brown, the colourful new series Blow Up will see Aotearoa’s best balloon artists compete by turning ordinary balloons into extraordinary works of art. And from the critically acclaimed global hit Couples Therapy, comes Couples Therapy New Zealand – a unique, “in the room” documentary series with couples revealing real-life struggles in sessions with a leading therapist to try and save their relationship. Vinnie Jones presents TRACKED, the ultimate game of hide and seek. Played in extreme environments across New Zealand’s South Island, it will test the teams’ physical capabilities and strategic mental skills as they race to evade being caught by the terrifying elite tracker force.

There’s also new premium factual content including the riveting true crime documentary series Black Coast Vanishings where we explore the disappearance of six people at Piha Beach. On eden, British TV Presenter and pig farmer Jimmy Doherty is traveling Aotearoa – from south to north – exploring the extraordinary beauty New Zealand has to offer, and meeting locals on the way to try to uncover just what constitutes the true Kiwi spirit in Jimmy Doherty’s NZ Escape.

The drama slate features breakthrough drama Far North which tells the extraordinary true story of how an everyday couple foiled an international crime ring’s largest ever deal in the Pacific, starring NZ’s very own Robyn Malcom and Temuera Morrison. Full of quintessential Kiwi optimism, Friends Like Her is set in post earthquake Kaikoura. The series explores a friendship that goes sour when a surrogacy deal goes wrong. Madame Mom is a dramedy centered around the true story of a tough, all American, pregnant Mom who divorces her husband and starts an ethical brothel in Whangarei, New Zealand to provide for her family.

Three will cement its position as the home of local comedy, with 2023 bringing even more laughs, with support from NZ On Air. Double Parked, written by Chris Parker and Alice Snedden, features a young lesbian couple who both end up pregnant after a botched home insemination job. Homebound 3.0 tells the story of a struggling 30-something unpublished writer forced to move back home and deal with the disappointment of his Chinese parents.
Guy Montgomery’s Guy Mont Spelling Bee puts Kiwi comedians through their paces as they attempt to be crowned best speller in front of a live audience. There’s also the return of local favourites 7 Days, David Lomas Investigates, The Block NZ and Match Fit Season 3 which sees the introduction of a new code; Rugby League.

New international titles include Gordon Ramsay’s Next Level Chef, experts assess deception and lies in Faking It, including featured crime case – the murder of Grace Millane, Celebs Go Dating: The Mansion, Singletown, Byron Bay’s Dream Listings, jewellery design series All That Glitters and floristry competition Full Bloom. Returning international titles include The Real Housewives franchises, Million Dollar Listing, Below Deck, Married At First Sight Australia, Married At First Sight USA, The Block Australia, Love It or List It Australia, Couples Therapy, The Graham Norton Show, The Newsreader, The Great Pottery Throwdown and Celebrity Gogglebox.

Warner Bros. Discovery ANZ acknowledges support from NZ On Air for David Lomas Investigates, 7 Days, Match Fit 3, Far North, Friends Like Her, Madam Momand Black Coast Vanishings and also acknowledges support from the New Zealand Film Commission for Tracked, Far North, Jimmy Doherty’s NZ Escape and Black Coast Vanishings.

The format rights for Couples Therapy New Zealand are distributed by Paramount Global Content Distribution.

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14 Responses to “WBD NZ Unveils New Streaming Services”

  1. So is 2023 the beginning of the new Warner Bros. Discovery streaming service ?

  2. FAST channels (hopefully including news and kids) sound interesting, although I’ve never actually used the branded channels over on TVNZ+. Always happy to hear about improvements and investments into NEWSHUB!

  3. I hope they have a FAST channel for sci-fi/fantasy shows ?

  4. I’ve asked for the genres they’re curating, Trevor. Doubt if they’ll reveal that just yet but here’s hoping …

  5. Hey Philip, what day and time this week is TVNZ’s upfront? Also, am looking forward to the new reality show Blow Up. Thanks, Jack.

  6. It’s on Thursday, Jack. I don’t know the time it starts as I’m not on the guest list but usually they kick off late afternoon.

  7. You’re not on the guest list for the TVNZ Upfronts? That’s just criminal Philip, you should be on the list considering this is the only screen blog in NZ. I hope TVNZ announce some FAST channels as well.

  8. Thanks for the endorsement, Leo, but I’ve been off the TVNZ Christmas card list for at least 10 years. Moreover, because of greater priorities than ScreenScribe, I couldn’t afford the time to fly from Wellington to Auckland and give up a full day for what is essentially an exercise in messaging, anyway. WBD did invite me to theirs and I had to decline for the same reason.

  9. Fair enough Philip, that’s understandable. We all appreciate the time you take out from your busy schedule to update this blog. Looking forward to your analysis on TVNZ’s Upfronts in the coming week.

  10. Cheers, Leo. I enjoy providing a unique service and just wish I had more time to devote to it. If I could do it full-time, the site would be 10 times better! The feedback from readers like you is invaluable and often leads to posts about topics or developments that missed my scrutiny.

  11. People looking forward to ads?

  12. Yes, the more things change, the more they stay the same … We risk entering an era where you pay for some services and have to suffer ads on others because they hoover up the content that otherwise would have gone to the SVODs (ie. Star Trek Discovery in 4K on Netflix winds up in 720p with ads on TVNZ+). Advertising’s tolerable if done properly but TVNZ+ interrupt their content far too often with often the same ads. And sometimes there are glitches: I was watching A Friend of the Family yesterday and it went into a permanent loop of ads that I had to exit the app to clear.

  13. Not sure if anyone saw it on BusinessDesk but WBD has pumped another $40m into DiscoNZ in October this year. That’s on top of the $10m capital injection in 2021 and $15m in 2020. A lot of cash into a loss making business – sooner or later it’ll want a return on that investment.

  14. Cheers Philip, I hope sooner rather than later you are able to commit to this full time. On the topic of Discovery NZ, that is a heck of alot of money to be putting in, they must see something long term but in the short term the cuts have already started with Newshub Live at 4.30pm ending for good this Friday. Hoping that TVNZ announces a 4.30 bulletin at their Upfronts.

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