Key Points:

Sky TV's local news bulletins are struggling to pull viewers but the public still appear keen for more television news.

Ratings figures showed just 1500 people nationally aged 5 or more tuned in to the Sky News NZ Evening News debut at 7pm on Monday - or 0.1 per cent of viewers.

Critics called the half-hour bulletin, fronted by newsreader Eric Young, "shoestring" and the "poor relation" of free-to-air TV news programmes One News and 3 News.

But Sky News Australia chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos said the company was committed to New Zealand news for the long term and would increase its staff of 14, based at the pay TV company's free-to-air arm Prime TV.

It is understood the company will announce the appointment of a senior New Zealand journalist to lead the news team on Monday.

"This is just the starting point," said Mr Frangopoulos.

He said the company wanted to offer an alternative to current news and would appeal to those who did not want to watch news at 6pm.

Across the Tasman, staff almost tripled in 11 years and similar growth was expected here.

"The Sky News service [in New Zealand] was initially a UK-based service, and then it was replaced by an AU news service," said Mr Frangopoulos.

"It's a logical step forward for us to introduce more NZ news content and make it even more relevant to the NZ market."

On Auckland streets this week, few people said they had watched the new bulletin.

Many told the Herald they wanted more in-depth reports rather than the same content on a different channel.

Mt Albert student Aurelie Rivalant said she could not tell the difference between One News and 3 News some nights.

"They are all quite similar," said the 18-year-old.

Unitec School of Communication senior lecturer Peter Thompson said Sky did not appear to be bringing a broader range of reports to the market.

"It's entirely possible to run something that looks like news on a shoestring," he said.

"I think [audiences] will detect fairly quickly whether Sky's news production is backed by a significant team of journalists and researchers and editors or whether they are just trying to put a programme together that pays lip service to journalistic and news conventions."

Sky TV was considered a clever competitor and this week's move was seen as a spoiler ahead of the launch of TVNZ's 24-hour news and information channel, planned for early next year.

TV3 news and current affairs director Mark Jennings said small audiences made running 24-hour news in New Zealand difficult. He said TVNZ's model relied on Government support.

"It's hard to make the numbers stack up from a commercial perspective."

Mr Jennings said Sky's screening of its own bulletin instead of repeated 3 News at 8.30pm was "disappointing" for its regular viewers.