Sup­ply and De­mand:

TVNZ is con­tin­u­ing to beef up its On­De­mand ser­vice. TVNZ’s di­rec­tor of con­tent Cate Slater tells Sarah Nealon about the net­work’s ap­proach to streamed con­tent.

The TV Guide - - CONTENTS -

Why in­creas­ing num­bers of TVNZ shows are ap­pear­ing first on On­De­mand.

Once upon a time, TVNZ would have screened all its qual­ity dra­mas and come­dies on reg­u­lar TV – on what peo­ple in the in­dus­try call lin­ear tele­vi­sion.

But times have changed. These days there are some ex­cel­lent shows which, at this stage, can be viewed only on the net­work’s On­De­mand plat­form.

These in­clude Bri­tish come­dies like Idris Elba’s In The Long Run and Hang Ups, which stars Stephen Man­gan. On the drama front there are Aussie shows such as Sis­ters, which stars Kiwi An­to­nia Preb­ble, and Sun­shine, in which Me­lanie Lynskey ap­pears.

Then there are en­gag­ing Bri­tish dra­mas such as Girl­friends, In­former and Come Home.

So what ex­actly is go­ing on at TVNZ? TVNZ’s di­rec­tor of con­tent Cate Slater tries to shed some light on the sit­u­a­tion.

“Au­di­ences are chang­ing where they watch con­tent,” says Slater, “and we’re find­ing it more and more with drama, in par­tic­u­lar, au­di­ences are want­ing to watch on their own timeta­bles so some of those shows we are pick­ing up for On­De­mand.” Here at TV Guide we were sur­prised when The Last Post, a Bri­tish pe­riod drama star­ring ex-Call The Mid­wife ac­tress Jes­sica Raine, was avail­able only On­De­mand. “Dra­mas like that we are still pick­ing up for the chan­nels but with that par­tic­u­lar show we didn’t,” says Slater. “So it was an On­De­mand ex­clu­sive show. So it’s just about ‘Do we think there is enough of an au­di­ence for the chan­nel?’ or ‘Do we think it’s more of an On­De­mand propo­si­tion in terms of the type of au­di­ence who will want to watch that show?’ ” When it comes to de­cid­ing which shows will play only via the On­De­mand plat­form and which will screen on tele­vi­sion and pos­si­bly

On­De­mand as well, Slater says “it’s all about the con­tent”.

“De­pend­ing on what sort of show it is and the type of viewer that the show will ap­peal to would de­pend on what our strat­egy is for that show,” she says.

“So some­thing like Doc­tor Who (which is) a huge fam­ily show and it’s ab­so­lutely a huge show for the chan­nels but we wanted to have it on a Fri­day night when fam­i­lies are able to watch to­gether.”

How­ever, it is avail­able first On­De­mand be­cause then “view­ers have a choice in how they would like to watch”.

Fast-track­ing shows like Doc­tor Who is also one way to try to stomp out piracy.

But for any­one who isn’t tech-savvy, is there enough in­for­ma­tion avail­able to peo­ple about how to ac­cess the On­De­mand plat­form?

“Well I think we make it as easy as pos­si­ble,” says Slater. “My fa­ther got in touch re­cently to get my in­struc­tions on how to get TVNZ On­De­mand on to his tele­vi­sion. He found it very straight­for­ward to do it and he’s now watch­ing a lot more con­tent On­De­mand.

“Look, I still think we pro­vide con­tent through our chan­nels to cater for the au­di­ence who doesn’t want to watch in an on­line fash­ion. But cer­tainly our aim is to make it as easy as pos­si­ble for those who do want to view On­De­mand.”

While there is no doubt that stream­ing ser­vices are grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity, tra­di­tional or lin­ear tele­vi­sion isn’t about to dis­ap­pear.

“The fu­ture is there is an ab­so­lute place for both,” says Slater.

“I think that not ev­ery­one wants to make a de­ci­sion about what they are go­ing to watch that night. They want some­body else to do the hard work for them ... There will be a place for On­De­mand con­tent as well be­cause view­ers want choice so some­times they will want to de­cide what they are go­ing to watch and how they are go­ing to watch it.”

Cate Slater, TVNZ’s di­rec­tor of con­tent

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