It's official: TiVo expands to NZ

Written by Rose Major

The TiVo personal video recorder will launch in New Zealand, following confirmation of a deal, reported here earlier this month between TVNZ and TiVo’s Australian licensee, Seven Media Group’s Hybrid Television Services. TVNZ has acquired 33% of Hybrid and the venture will launch TiVo in New Zealand later this year.

TVNZ is New Zealand’s public broadcaster operating two terrestrial channels, TV One and TV2 and two digital-only channels, TVNZ6 and TVNZ7 (both of which, it was also announced today, will join the pay-TV Sky TV platform). TVNZ also runs an online catch-up TV service, TVNZ Ondemand. Around 90% of the broadcaster’s revenue comes from commercial activity, with the remainder from government.

Rick Ellis, CEO of TVNZ said: “The TiVo media device is a global leader and our investment in Hybrid Television Services is an investment in the future commercial success of TVNZ. It marks a further step in our transition from a traditional broadcaster to a multi-platform digital media company with diverse income streams, operating in the Australasian market.”

TVNZ’s investment will, said the companies, “support the launch of the media device in New Zealand, scheduled for later this year.” TiVo will launch in conjunction with the Freeview platform in New Zealand, of which TVNZ is a key part. But it will only be compatible with the Freeview HD digital-terrestrial version of the platform, and not the satellite-delivered platform, a key plank of New Zealand’s Freeview strategy in the mountainous and often-remote country.

Freeview NZ welcomed the TiVo deal. Steve Browning, GM of Freeview, said: “From day one Freeview has encouraged as many digital receiver products into the market as possible. By launching our MyFreeview HD service in December last year we showed we wanted people to be able to easily record their favourite programmes with no monthly fees. The TiVo media device will receive the Freeview HD service and provide other services over broadband. This is an exciting development.”

At the end of 2008, 198,938 Freeview receivers had been sold, or 12.6% of New Zealand homes already equipped with the service. Of these, 53,522 are for the Freeview HD DTT platform.