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More Than Half Of NZ Households Now Receive Digital TV

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
More Than Half Of NZ Households Now Receive Digital TV

20 November 2008 - The latest report on New Zealand's digital future finds that around 55% of the country's households are now receiving digital television services, and that the target of reaching 75% by 2012 is attainable.

The report, The Digital Future and Public Broadcasting, by Paul Norris and Brian Pauling, was commissioned by NZ On Air as an update to the authors' previous report in 2005. It charts the changes in technology and media use seen in the intervening three years, together with the implications for public broadcasting. Among key developments, both internationally and in New Zealand

The rapid growth of online video, video on demand, user-generated content and social networking sites since 2005. YouTube now streams over 100 million videos per day and receives 13 hours of video every minute.

The young are watching less television than they were before and spending more time on the internet than in 2005. Those with broadband now spend more time on the internet than watching television. Online advertising is growing faster than other sectors, but is still low relative to the amount of time consumers are online, meaning high potential for advertising competition.

With more and more viewer choices, audiences for television continue to fragment. Increasingly, free to air broadcasting will have to work harder to find an audience.

"We suggest that public broadcasters follow the fragmenting audience and disperse their programmes over as many platforms as possible," said Paul Norris, Head of the Broadcasting School at Christchurch Polytechnic. The take-up of digital television in New Zealand at 55% of households is made up of Sky subscribers 45% and Freeview 10%.

The current digital television policy is to set a switch-off date for analogue television services once the 75% threshold is reached or at 2012, whichever is earlier. "The growth in digital usage shows that this target is attainable," Paul Norris said.

NZ On Air has commissioned and produced wide-ranging research papers over the years, to inform policy development. The research ranges from short analyses of audience behaviour, to the annual Local Content Report, the only such quantitative measure of domestic television in the world, to in-depth work such as this new paper The Digital Future and Public Broadcasting. The report can be downloaded from www.nzonair.govt.nz

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