New Zealand's FreeView to launch next year

New Zealand is to adopt the UK's Freeview model, with a similar brand name, for digital terrestrial television (DTT). Free-to-air broadcaster TVNZ is teaming up with CanWest, Maori TV, The New Zealand Racing Board, and Radio New Zealand to provide a free-to-air DTT service from early next year called FreeView.

FreeView will be distributed via DTT to major towns and cities. Satellite transmission will be used to reach 25% of the population outside those areas. Transmission services will be provided by Broadcast Communications Limited, part of the THL Group.

The New Zealand government will spend NZ$25m to get FreeView established, but as in the UK, most of the cost in setting up FreeView will be met by broadcasters.

THL Group CEO Geoff Hunt said: "For a small up-front investment, viewers will soon have access to free-to-air, quality programming, interactive TV guides, wide-screen format and multi-camera viewing.

"As a company, we are pleased with the government's decision to go ahead with DTT, but we are also excited about the technological and lifestyle leap this represents for New Zealand."