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Who Tunes in to Local TV?

Who Tunes in to Local TV?

New NZ On Air research shows that most regional television viewers are watching their local channel for local news and sport, but the majority of them consider the programmes to be of a lower standard than those on mainstream channels. The Regional TV Research Report prepared by Labett Research and Marketing has just been released.

"That finding is not necessarily a negative one, though," said NZ On Air Chief Executive, Jo Tyndall. "For instance, many people find that point of difference with the main networks the very reason they want to watch local television.

"There is a wide variety in the programming offered from channel to channel, and people in different regions are watching for different reasons," she said.

But despite its availability to almost two thirds of all New Zealanders, regional television does not seem to be attracting viewers in large numbers, according to the survey.

"Sixty per cent of the population can receive a signal from a regional channel, but only 20% watch it," said Ms Tyndall. "There seems to be a lack of awareness and interest, with 70% of those asked not being able to name a regional channel."

The Regional TV Research Report is the result of a survey of almost 1,000 respondents, conducted earlier this year in Auckland, Christchurch, New Plymouth, Hawkes Bay, Matamata, Nelson and Invercargill.

"Those who agree that a regional channel is important, with the exception of Aucklanders, think the value of the channel is in its potential to offer local information," she said. "Auckland bucked the trend a bit with its attitude to the significance of a local channel, with people there saying that the diverse ethnic groups in the area appreciate an alternative to mainstream television because of its ability to reflect different cultures.

"NZ On Air funds a range of special interest programmes, including programmes for ethnic minorities, for mainstream free-to-air television, which are available for rebroadcast at no cost to regional television channels," Ms Tyndall said. Ends

This media release and Regional TV Research Report are available on the NZ On Air website at

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