The New Zealand Racing Board will launch a new TV channel in time for the summer racing season, with the working title "TAB TV", Chief Executive Officer Andrew Brown said today.
"Our decision to launch TAB TV is a direct response to customer demand and will help grow revenues for the three racing codes - greyhounds, harness racing and thoroughbreds," he said.
TAB TV is expected to generate $4 million in annual profit within three years, which will be distributed among the racing codes.
The new channel will be shown in all TAB outlets and will also be broadcast on Sky Digital, from December. The new channel will complement the existing Trackside channel which has a home viewership of 300,000 people per month. As a result, Trackside will now be able to offer more in-depth coverage of New Zealand racing.
Mr Brown said customer research showed people watched Trackside for two different reasons: entertainment and betting.
"Having two racing channels will enable us to give our customers more of the content they want to see. This is great news for punters, racing fans, and the sport of racing."
"TAB TV will be perfect for punters who want more racing events to bet on.
"At the same time, Trackside will now be able to provide more coverage of the build-up to all NZ races, highlight the results and prize presentations, and show more replays and analysis to satisfy New Zealand racing fans. Trackside will also broadcast a selection of high quality Australian racing, depending on the schedule of New Zealand racing."
"The new format for Trackside will also showcase racing sponsors and other commercial partners to greater effect, and TAB TV will generate more profits for the TAB which we will pass on directly to the racing clubs."
TAB TV will broadcast approximately 12 races per hour, including local races and overseas races from Australia, France, Hong Kong, North America, Singapore, South Africa and the UK.
Racing Board Head of Broadcasting Glen Broomhall said UHF viewers of Trackside will continue to see the best of NZ racing.
"We will broadcast the new Trackside programming on UHF including 'First Call' on Saturday mornings to preview the afternoon's action," Mr Broomhall said.
The new TAB TV channel will be broadcast largely using existing resources.
"The new channel will be highly cost efficient and will require a modest capital investment of approximately $800,000 to deliver significant additional revenues for racing clubs across New Zealand. We expect it to generate profits within the current financial year," Mr Broomhall said.
Mr Brown said the NZ Racing Board is investing in the development of the racing industry which contributes 1.3 per cent of Gross Domestic Product and supports the livelihoods of 40,000 New Zealanders.
"We're very excited about TAB TV which will help deliver greater entertainment for the 300,000 people who currently watch Trackside each month from their homes.
"There's a growing demand for racing entertainment in New Zealand and we're meeting that demand with innovations such as this," Mr Brown said.
this a smart move. I was chatting to someone who is far more into racing than I am (I merely have a passing interest), he was lamenting that too often Trackside will jump from one race to another without any build up or post race. Especially when there are a number of big meets on in NZ and Australia.
I guess this new channel will allow them to show more races from overseas (they still only show a portion of the meets actually taking place in Australia).
The upside from this from the NZRB's point of view, is the more races shown, the more to bet on, the more money to be made.
cyril7: Hi Brunzy trust the US was good, any more details on this
All Ok,hope you picked up some business
Interesting comment paragraph three,although I will wait to see that confirmed.
Racing television viewers are set to get the best of both worlds from December.
The New Zealand Racing Board will launch a second racing-dedicated channel before Christmas which should redress the balance between races needed to drive turnover and racing as an entertainment product.
And the second channel - with the working title TAB TV - will, like Trackside, be free to air.
With the massive increase in Australian and international racing being shown on Trackside television in the last five years many racing fans have complained about the lack of time given to major races, particularly post race.
But the new channel will help ease that pressure, with basically a back-to-back racing format, similar to Sky Channel's racing-only channel shown predominantly in pubs in Australia.
That will free up time on the normal Trackside channel to show more build-up and on occasions more post-race atmosphere from major domestic and Australian meetings.
TAB TV will also be used for the further internationalisation of racing coverage in this country, being filled with racing from Europe and eventually North America until the small hours of the morning.
NZ Racing Board bosses envisage a situation when TAB TV screens live racing with betting opportunities from possibly 7am to 3am daily.
NZRB chief executive Andrew Brown says the development of the new channel will have near-instant benefits for the racing industry without great further expense.
"We expect inside a few years the extra turnover opportunities created will result in another $4 million generated for the racing industry," said Brown.
"And we can achieve that using mainly the same resources we use for Trackside now.
"We expect the initial set-up costs of TAB TV to be quickly paid back and we believe we can provide the best possible service for our customers."
At the moment Trackside can "squeeze" 10 races into an hour at its busiest times, but without the restrictions of guaranteed domestic lead-up times to races, TAB TV will be able to show up to 12 races every hour.
"I think it is a very exciting development for the industry because we will be able to showcase major race meetings better, as well as providing the constant racing coverage betters want."
The announcement of the second channel comes just weeks after Trackside made several staff redundant in line with overall New Zealand Racing Board cuts in spending.
And Brown says that will not be reversed.
"The new channel will be using resources as they exist now and it is not our plan to go back on recent cuts because we have a commitment to maintain savings for the industry."
That means most domestic meetings will still be covered by studio-based presenters, rather than on-course presenters as was the norm before the September 1 change of policy.
Trackside is still available free to air on the UHF platform, and will continue to be until Analogue switch off. UHF will broadcast combination of both Trackside and TAB TV...most television are still sold with a UHF tuner I expect
Testerpot: Trackside is still available free to air on the UHF platform, and will continue to be until Analogue switch off. UHF will broadcast combination of both Trackside and TAB TV...most television are still sold with a UHF tuner I expect
And what happens after the analog switch off, Sky only??