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Canterbury TV, NZ's most watched regional station

Canterbury TV the most watched regional station in NZ

“Growing”, is how Liz Whiteford, manager of Canterbury’s regional television station, CTV, describes its local audience.

“Recent survey figures show up to a five-fold growth in audiences on some evenings – particularly around sports ‘supremo’ Pete Smith. It’s really encouraging,” she says.

Ms. Whiteford has welcomed the release of NZ on Air's Regional TV Research Report, which shows Canterbury has more people watching local television than any other region surveyed.

“We know that Cantabrians are proud of their history, culture and people. That is one of the reasons why CTV is bucking the trend when it comes to local television viewing figures versus the national stats,” she says. “Over half the people in Auckland and Wellington don’t believe they have a regional television station. But in Christchurch 90% know they do.”

“Over the past 8 months the new owners and management have focused on improving production standards and diversifying local programming. Expanding local sports coverage, presenting a regular, quality news programme three times each week night, seeing more Cantabrians in their homes, at work and at play – that’s what our viewers want and that’s what we’re working on”, says Ms Whiteford.

Liz Whiteford says anything that helps regional television to improve its focus and further develop the type of programming local audiences want, is a good thing and the NZOA report is definitely helpful in planning for the future.

“We have exciting plans in the pipeline for CTV audiences, and hope to reveal some of those in the next few months”, she says.

The Regional TV Research Report noted that the most popular types of programme on regional television include local news and current affairs, followed by sport and international programmes.

“CTV runs an international news programme, Deutsche Welle, which is hugely popular with our audience. Viewers can catch up on the international news straight after the latest CTV news, at 5.35pm each weeknight. Sports programming brings the highly respected sporting sons and daughters from all over the region right into local living rooms. They may not be important to the networks but they’re important to us and our viewers.”

“Regional TV is not only about bringing local people to local people, but we believe it is about doing it well,” says Ms Whiteford.

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