I just received another press release with the official announcement of TVNZ 7, tvCentral and Te Reo. Also the confirmation of 14th April as the official launch date/event:
Freeview Content Offer Continues to Grow;
Freeview|HDTM official launch event to acknowledge arrival of HDTV, three new channels and successful take-up figures.
Freeview, New Zealand’s free-to-air digital television and radio platform, continues to gain momentum with the addition of three new television channels.
TVNZ 7, tvCentral in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, and New Zealand’s first 100 per cent Maori language service, Te Reo – will supplement the diverse selection of existing channels and content it currently offers with no subscription fees.
This brings the total number of television channels on the Freeview satellite service to 12, including an additional seven channels since the service was first launched in May 2007.
The three latest additions will be added to the service prior to the official launch of the Freeview|HDTM service on Monday, 14 April 2008 at a Wellington function attended by the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Helen Clark. It is also expected the Prime Minister will use her attendance at the Freeview|HDTM launch to update media and guests on the latest take up data for the Freeview service.
“These new channels are a significant milestone not only for Freeview but, more importantly, broadcasting in New Zealand. Te Reo cements Maori Television’s pivotal role in revitalising language and culture and TVNZ 7 will also have a distinctive local flavour. They will further strengthen our ever increasing content offering and we look forward to broadcasters adding more free-to-air channels to the service in the near future,” says Steve Browning, GM Freeview.
TVNZ 7 is New Zealand’s first advertising free factual channel, screening a range of news, current affairs, documentary and commentary shows with a particular focus on fresh and engaging local content in prime time. Significantly, around 70% of the channel’s content is locally-produced, including Back Benches, a weekly political review show hosted by Wallace Chapman, and Media7, a multi-media news and commentary series hosted by Russell Brown. In addition, it will feature TVNZ News Now, live on the hour, every hour, coupled with a one hour news bulletin at 8pm, TVNZ News at 8. It launched on Sunday 30th March.
Te Reo (in English ‘the language’) will initially broadcast three hours a day, seven days a week, during the primetime hours of 8:00pm to 11:00pm on Freeview satellite channel 24. It launched on Friday 28th March.
tvCentral will be available on Freeview|HDTM connecting the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty with coast to coast regional television that is local, entertaining and informative. Its schedule is made up of over 30% local content, alongside national, regional and international programming. As a 'family safe' channel it aims to cater to all age groups and genres. It launches on Wednesday 2nd April.
The Freeview|HDTM service will be launched with the broadcast of a HD showcase documentary to demonstrate to media and guests the stunning visual experience characterised by HDTV. Freeview|HDTM digital terrestrial receivers can be purchased from New Zealand's leading appliance retailers from the 2nd April.