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Homegrown Documentary Channel To Launch On Sky

Homegrown Documentary Channel To Launch On Sky

SKY Television and Richard Driver - the driving force behind Visionary TV - are pleased to announce that the Documentary Channel will launch in November 2006. The new channel will be available to all SKY digital subscribers, representing 43% of all television homes nationwide. The New Zealand produced Documentary Channel aims to provide discerning SKY viewers with the very best of home-grown and international documentaries.

Content for the Documentary Channel will be sourced from the existing substantial library of New Zealand documentaries as well as established and respected international and festival sources. The channel will also provide a welcome platform for local documentary makers, many of whom now have a substantial back-catalogue of previously well-received documentaries that viewers will be delighted to have the opportunity to see again, alongside quality documentaries sourced internationally that in many cases have seldom been seen in New Zealand outside of the festival circuit.

The Documentary Channel will offer viewers a choice of programming that is distinct from SKY's established factual channels by offering content with a strong contemporary focus on people and popular culture. The channel will also focus on broadly themed, critically acclaimed, and award winning works from established master documentary makers.

“We are delighted to welcome the Documentary Channel to the SKY platform,” said SKY’s CEO, John Fellet. “As a locally constructed channel, programmed with the knowledge of what documentary programming works for New Zealand viewers, we believe this new factual channel will find resonance with our audience.”

The Documentary Channel Managing Director Richard Driver explains, “The Documentary Channel’s overriding criteria for content is to provide rich and rewarding, relevant and informative programming. We want to provide viewers with more substantial and satisfying fare instead of the snack-foods offered by some of the reality TV genre. Quality documentaries offer genuine reality television”.

“Documentary programmes and films are enjoying a new popularity with viewers worldwide. The truth really can be stranger than fiction, and many of the world’s best filmmakers have chosen to use the immense power of the documentary format to explore their chosen themes. While reality, comedy and drama will remain staples of television programming, the documentary genre is increasingly becoming the preferred format for examination of some of the most topical and challenging themes in our lives,” says Mr Driver.

The Documentary Channel will launch in November 2006 and broadcast 24 hours a day. Further details of the exciting new Documentary Channel will be released over the next few months. Watch this space.


About Richard Driver and Visionary TV
Visionary is a television production company specializing in the production of factual programming – infotainment, entertainment, music, lifestyle, documentary and reality television. Richard Driver, one of New Zealand’s foremost independent producers of factual television. Most recently, he created a significant historical series for Prime television NZ’s Top 100 History Makers, the critically acclaimed series Give it a Whirl and the feature documentary Love Speed and Loss.

About SKY Television
SKY Television (SKY), broadcasting via both UHF and DTH is New Zealand’s pre-eminent Pay TV operator, offering a wide range of sports, movies, music, on-demand and general content across more than 80 channels. SKY’s channel line-up includes 6 sports channels, 5 movie channels, 5 general entertainment channels, 4 documentary channels, 3 news channels, 4 children’s channels, as well as other niche channels. (At 06 April 2006, SKY had 650,522 subscribers).

SKY launched as a three-channel UHF service in 1990, with two further channels added four years later. SKY’s UHF signal reaches more than 83% of the country’s 1.5 million households. In December 1998 it launched a digital satellite service, extending its reach to the whole country. SKY also offers pay-per-view movies, live events and interactive services including Skybet, the Weather Channel, and games channels Mind Games and Playin’ TV.

With the establishment of a new on line DVD rental service and in December 2005, the launch of MY SKY, a new set top box incorporating a personal video recorder, SKY is positioned to bring New Zealand viewers even more entertainment options.

On 8 February 2006, SKY completed the purchase of the New Zealand television business of Prime Television Ltd. The acquisition of a free-to-air channel gives SKY the opportunity to showcase its channels and programmes whilst ensuring that New Zealand consumers can view delayed free-to-air sports programmes such as rugby, rugby league and cricket in primetime.

For further information, please visit SKY’s web site at


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