Sky Television bosses will be using "Spidercam" overhead shots for the Rugby World Cup and hope to access the costly new technical cameras for future sports events.

Sky is host broadcaster for the cup, providing coverage for all the games worldwide - including those shown on TVNZ, TV3, Maori TV and in full on the Sky platform.

Sky sports boss Kevin Cameron said the camera, which is suspended on wires, would allow aerial tracking of 12 games.

The first will be the All Blacks versus France on September 24.

"We are quite excited about it, especially that one of our 410 people working on the cup will be used to operate the Spidercam," said Kevin Cameron who is Rugby World Cup project director at Sky.

There are hopes a Spidercam unit will soon be based in Australia so it can be rented out and erected across fields.

Cameron said the AFL (the ruling body for Aussie Rules football ) was already in discussions with owners of the rights and was "very keen".

But even if one was based in Australia it would be very expensive and Sky would need sponsorship to cover the costs, he said.

Spidercam was used at the final of the 2007 Rugby World Cup in Paris and for the Fifa World Cup in South Africa.

SEEING TRIPLE

Sky TV will also be screening the last four games - the final, two semifinals and the bronze final to decide third place - in 3D even though only about 7000 people have 3D capable TV sets.

The 3D coverage on Sky will be filmed by local media technology firm 3D Live which is also showing the games live at nine arena venues in New Zealand, cinemas in this country and in Australia.

Tickets to a 3D screening of the final cost about $80. 3D Live managing director Ronel Shodt said public liability insurance costs made arena venues unviable across the Tasman. On the face of it, the rights deal appears to be a good one for the International Rugby Board, with 3D Live offering assurances that it will not be out of pocket through unexpected events.

3D Live is providing pictures to the IRB's sports rights company IMG to sell online around the world. In return 3D Live has the theatre rights in Australia and New Zealand.

SKY ON 3DConventional coverage broadcast here and overseas will all be in high definition, with 24 cameras at matches between two top teams, 19 cameras for games between top prospects and lower-ranked teams and 13 cameras between what Sky's Cameron calls "minnow" teams.

3D Live will use nine cameras for its coverage. Which makes you wonder - why fewer cameras for a more intricate image?

Cameron says it comes down to context.

3D pictures offer a fantastic image but they need background, so more wide shots are used rather than close-up images of players.

It is understood the costs of picking up 3D rights was compensated by technology firms producing 3D TV sets.

Consumer demand for 3D has been patchy, but broadcasters and sports event organisers are under pressure to provide content.

Organisers of the London Olympics next year had initially planned to have no 3D coverage but are now promising up to 12 hours a day, featuring track and field, aquatic sports, and gymnastics.

SPRECHEN SIE DEUTSCH?

New Zealand book publishers are hoping to to sell German language rights for 100 books - capitalising on being selected as Guest of Honour country at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage is using its status to promote New Zealand in the run-up to the 2012 event, linking New Zealand culture with a wide range of German events such as the Berlin Film Festival and other European events.

Publishers Association of New Zealand spokesman Kevin Chapman, of Hachette New Zealand, said the association had asked the Government to be involved in the project, as a generic promotion for New Zealand.

It would also focus on selling books, especially German language rights. Chapman said some writers - among them Dame Ngaio Marsh, Katherine Mansfield, Keri Hulme, Patricia Grace and Witi Ihimaera - were already published in Germany and there was already a relationship between the two countries, in part through the regular influx of German backpackers.

But there was even greater demand that was still untapped in the market, he said.

A publishing source said the financial payout might not be large.

German language rights to a piece of New Zealand literature might net just $10,000 - with around 80 per cent going to authors and publishers.

THERESA AND BIGGSY

Ministry for Culture and Heritage chief executive Lewis Holden has high hopes for the wider promotional campaign linked to New Zealand's special status in Frankfurt.

Holden - a former Treasury official - appointed former Telecom New Zealand chief executive Theresa Gattung to chair the advisory panel running the promotion.

Other notables include Peter Biggs (aka Biggsy), the former adman about Wellington who now heads Clemenger BBDO in Melbourne, Carol Hirschfeld, the Maori Television executive, and former Wellington mayor Kerry Prendergast.

Holden said one of Gattung's qualifications for the chairwoman's role included writing her own book - Bird On a Wire.

NEXT PLEASE

Christina Sayers Wickstead is stepping down as editor of Next magazine.

The former publisher of Citymix Magazine was handed the job two years ago as part of ACP New Zealand's purchase of the title.

She said her departure after two years was prearranged.

She would be spending more time with her family but would be available to consult.

Sayers Wickstead said she had brought the magazine back towards the younger end of its target demographic readership.

Audit Bureau of Circulation figures show circulation dropped 12.7 per cent in the 12 months to December 21.

Results for the first six months of this year are expected soon.

Supporters of the brand say it has held its own as a hybrid magazine for New Zealand women that stood up against overseas glossies.

The magazine has been inconsistent with its choices for covers - a key factor in the success of glossy magazines.

ACP is looking for a replacement as Sayers Wickstead eases out, with two names mentioned in dispatches - Wendyl Nissen and Fiona Fraser.

BLOG STANDARD

Media-academic Donald Matheson has castigated the general quality of debates on blogs where he says dissenting views are often met by vitriolic reactions.

Matheson is a senior lecturer in communications and media at Canterbury University.

He says that unlike in the US, where blog audiences are large and start to merge in with mainstream media, Kiwi blogland has developed into mostly small groups of people sharing common views.

That is exacerbated by the so-called "echo chamber effect", where people tune into blogs that reflect their own viewpoint, he says.

Rather than tolerance, debates are often about "having a go" at people who do not follow the correct ideological line.

Matheson mentioned the right-of-centre Kiwiblog, which he said dominated blogland due to its hit rate. He said bloggers on Public Address maintained a strong moderating presence on its blogs.

The left-wing blog The Standard, used for strategic public relations by the Labour Party, was a major offender and a victim of the trend to squash opposing views.

In this column, Matheson recently criticised mainstream media for not questioning the source of comments quoted from social media like Twitter.

He was also critical of people who had overestimated the importance of citizen journalists in the new media landscape. He said academics were often looking for the next big revolution in media, so were inclined to focus on such trends, but blog rhetoric on the issue had got out of hand.