TVNZ ondemand and due to be launched later this month. It will have a mix of free (ad supported) and premium content; the latter may only be viewed for 7 days, after which the user's rights to it expires.Today I was invited to TVNZ's headquarters in Auckland, along with several other local bloggers, to check out their new web-based television on demand service - called
Even though Read/WriteWeb has a global focus, it's worthwhile talking a little about how a national state-owned television network is adjusting to the IPTV revolution. Remember that earlier this week Josh Catone wrote a fantastic article for Read/WriteWeb entitled Internet Killed The Television Star: Reviews of Joost, Babelgum, Zattoo, and More. I mentioned this post to the TVNZ honchos, but actually they are well aware of what is happening in the IPTV world - and indeed they're already talking to Joost and others, to try and make deals for their content. The local NZ market is their first priority, but over time they will market their TV programs to worldwide IPTV services such as Joost.
I was most struck by one thing TVNZ said in our meeting (which btw we were told was public and bloggable). Part of its digital strategy involves TVNZ promoting and positioning its website, including the on demand service, as their third channel. To put this in perspective, TVNZ has two major TV channels (networks in US parlance) - imaginatively called TV1 and TV2. Being national TV channels/networks, TV1 and TV2 are the prime assets of TVNZ. So to raise the website, tvnz.co.nz, up to the same level as their TV channels... well that is great for the Web and goes to show that IPTV is seen as a critical component of television networks going forward.
And just to bring this back to a global perspective, TVNZ's strategy and zeal for IPTV is fairly similar to the BBC's - which has also invested a lot into Internet TV solutions. Although TVNZ isn't anywhere as well funded as the BBC, the two are both supported by their respective taxpayers. Also like BBC, and Google/YouTube for that matter, copyright is a major issue for TVNZ and something they need to figure out.
So TVNZ's website will, in time, become "the third channel". That's like NBC in America saying that their website will become equal in status to their television network! As well as some existing TV content, TVNZ plans to have unique content on their website (including extended footage, behind the scenes, also new programs either acquired or made for the web -- in fact I pointed out Revision3's latest music show as a good example of unique made-for-Web TV). Also they will of course utilize a range of platforms - gaming machines, mobile, browsers, etc. Their ultimate goal is to be the destination for online video content in NZ.
If you want to check out a sneak peak of TVNZ ondemand, this week a 14-year old boy discovered the "secret" URL for the service and posted a detailed review onto Throng - a local "TV watching community" run by Regan and Rachel Cunliffe (both of whom I met today for the first time). The screenshot and logo in this post are courtesy of that review, because TVNZ ondemand is back behind closed doors for now.