John Drinnan

Media writer for the New Zealand Herald

TVNZ switches focus to online content

Kevin Kenrick, chief executive of TVNZ in Auckland. Photo / Richard Robinson
Kevin Kenrick, chief executive of TVNZ in Auckland. Photo / Richard Robinson

Television New Zealand is putting faith in its news and current affairs operations as it launches a new strategy to turn the state TV network into a video content company.

Described by chief executive Kevin Kenrick as "a recommitment to content", the new strategy will be welcomed by independent production companies.

With continued ructions in the leaderless news and current affairs operation, it may also be a sign that Kenrick will recognise the challenges faced for news operations.

The implementation of the new strategy will be spelled out in TVNZ's statement of intent tabled in Parliament around June 30.

But with TVNZ run ragged by a series of disjointed management appointments and exits - along with lost independence for news - the strategy's makeover might be challenging.

While still the dominant player in Kiwi television through TV One and TV2, TVNZ says competition today is coming from YouTube and Google, not TV3, as consumers seek out online video content.

TVNZ is taking advantage of its expertise in content, especially news and current affairs.

Kenrick said that its news and current affairs infrastructure - "reporters, presenters, studios and camera people" - was as central to the growing online video market as sport was to Sky TV.

Under his predecessor Rick Ellis, TVNZ focused on distribution and technology in its five-year strategy, entitled "inspiring New Zealanders on every screen".

TVNZ needed to develop technology but, with bandwidth improvements and the consumer shift to tablets, the focus was back on video content.

Kenrick said additional investment may be needed for TVNZ to capitalise on news and current affairs, which was central to TVNZ's growth online.

- NZ Herald

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