INDEPENDENT NEWS

TVNZ Response To Sky-TV3 Rugby Deal

Published: Fri 17 Sep 1999 07:45 AM
The Chief Executive of TVNZ, Rick Ellis says the announcement today by Sky and TV3 that they are joining together to share rugby and a digital platform is a response to continued poor financial performance by both broadcasters.
The statement by SKY's Chief Executive that the agreement has been made because of Television New Zealand's reported intention to develop its own digital service is the other reason for the deal, says Mr Ellis.
"As far as TVNZ is concerned, this is an agreement between a couple of foreign owned media companies and pays no heed to the interests of New Zealand viewers."
The amount of rugby which TV3 plans to screen will be hugely reduced and will be at a level that TVNZ would never have accepted, says Mr Ellis.
"Quite frankly, we would have considered only one replay a weekend to be an insult to viewers," he says.
Moreover, Rick Ellis believes the deal flies in the face of assurances given to TVNZ when it sold its SKY shares to the existing SKY shareholders.
He adds, "as recently as last Friday TVNZ received and relied on assurances from SKY's leading shareholder of their continued desire to work together."
TVNZ has acted in good faith throughout its dealings.
"We are taking legal counsel " says Rick Ellis. "We will be exploring all our options."
In the meantime TV ONE and TV2 will continue to provide New Zealand viewers with the best news, current affairs, documentaries, information programmes and dramas and looks forward to an exciting few months with the Rugby World cup, the Netball World Cup and the America's Cup, all live and exclusive.
Ends

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