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.
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