It’s been a big year for TVNZ 1, with the Commonwealth Games action, an election coverage boost, some major personnel changes to flagship shows and acquiring of big sports rights. TVNZ content director Cate Slater updates us on how the channel is tracking
What have been some of the highlights/success stories for TVNZ 1 over the last year? What are some of its new programmes in the past year?
1 brings us together. Seven Sharp’s Hilary Barry and Jeremy Wells, The Caskeeter’s Frances and Kaiora, Jools and Lynda Topp, the farms of Country Calendar – it’s New Zealand’s characters, places and stories that are the life force of the channel. TVNZ 1 is a powerhouse brand. It’s the home of local content and New Zealand’s most watched channel. We’re proud more than half of our line up consists of local shows and talent. This gives 1 a distinct point of difference in the TV landscape. 1’s Sunday Theatre season is the gold standard of premium New Zealand drama. Loved by viewers, this season’s always got more power than the Manapouri hydro station. Last year we brought the unforgettable story of Chris Crean’s bravery in Resolve, which was a massive hit. This year, I’m picking In Dark Places as the one to watch. It’s the story of Teina Pora and his main supporter Tim Mckinnel. Pora is played by Richard Mcdonald, a young Wellington actor straight out of Toi Whakaari, and he gives an electrifying performance. The Commonwealth Games was a major event for us. We set out to create a shared national viewing experience and we reached over 3 million New Zealanders with our coverage. Sport is playing an increasing role on 1 – with Rugby World Cup and America’s Cup sailing to look forward to. News anchors TVNZ 1 – it starts and finishes the day. New Zealand’s best known faces are from our newsroom and there’s a lot of trust placed in the work they do. Our Election 2017 coverage again brought viewers to 1 in huge numbers. When big events happen, the country turns to us – and we know that’s a special privilege and responsibility.
What have been some of the challenges?
We do a really good job of holding our audience’s attention across our nightly news and current affairs offering. And it’s a line up that offers viewers something to watch together with their family, flatmates and friends. Later on, we know viewers seek out individual viewing experiences – that shows up post 8.30pm where audiences are fragmenting across various viewing options. The challenge is to retain these audiences in our TVNZ family, whether that’s transitioning them on to TVNZ Ondemand, or switching them to something on DUKE or 2. Our focus is all about offering viewers a great range and choice of compelling content to keep them watching with us.
What’s New Zealand’s favourite programme on the channel?
New Zealand’s a nation of news junkies and wannabe farmers! 1 News at 6pm is New Zealand’s top rating show, closely followed by Hyundai Country Calendar – 52 years young and still a huge drawcard.
TVNZ 1 is known for its pulling power to the older generation, has its audience evolved over the years?
TVNZ 1 is the most watched channel in New Zealand – it draws audiences from every stage of life and we’re really proud of that. TVNZ 1’s built this huge momentum off the back of the Commonwealth Games in its 2554 target demo. People probably don’t know this about 1 but it’s the number one channel in 25-54 in 2018 to date.
How does TVNZ’S Ondemand platform support its linear broadcast content?
We complement 1’s local content offering with the best in international content from around the world. We’re making premium content available to audiences with online first premieres. We’re using the platform to drive word of mouth among early adopters to increase sampling of tentpole TVNZ 1 content. Killing Eve has gone off on TVNZ Ondemand – that’s coming to 1 soon. We’re all about giving viewer’s choice and control. We’re less concerned these days about whether viewers watch our content on broadcast TV or online – what matters is that they watch with TVNZ.
What is the focus for TVNZ 1 heading into the future?
Local is hardwired into 1’s DNA. That’s not changing anytime soon. Looking to the future, we’ll continue to offer viewers a varied slate of New Zealand best news and entertainment stories. And there’s an increasing role for big event sport in our local line up. We want all eyes on us and the stories we tell. Expect bold and brave programming choices from TVNZ. We’re focused on remaining the most-watched - and to do that we need to keep in step with our audiences, to be relevant and a big part of their daily lives.
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