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UBI World TV Launches In New Zealand

UBI World Tv Launches In New Zealand

News piece by
Syed Akbar Kamal

Amidst a plethora of international ethnic channel providers here in New Zealand, a new Sydney based player has emerged in UBI World TV that promises to deliver over 100 channels from across the globe. It launched its Direct-to-Home (DTH) satellite service in New Zealand.

UBI World TV, the leading multicultural pay TV and radio broadcaster in the region, has its platform on the Optus D2 satellite that carries UBI’s more than 100 premium multi-lingual channels sourced from 30 different countries worldwide which are now available to the growing immigrant population of New Zealand, allowing them to stay connected to their countries of origin, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

According to Statistics NZ the Asian ethnic group was New Zealand's fourth largest major ethnic group after European, Māori, and Other Ethnicity, totalling 354,552 people (9.2 percent) in 2006. Of the major ethnic groups, the Asian ethnic group grew the fastest between 2001 and 2006, increasing from 238,176 people in 2001 to reach 354,552 people in 2006 (an increase of almost 50 percent).

The ethnic group of Chinese, Japanese and Korean is 190,296 (Census 2006) accounting for 27% growth over last census result in 2001.
The Middle Eastern, Latin American and African grouping with 34,743 people totalled 0.9 percent of New Zealand's usually resident population. Within the Middle Eastern, Latin American and African grouping, there were 17,514 people who identified with Middle Eastern ethnic groups, 6,657 people with Latin American groups, and 10,647 people with African groups.
The niche ethnic media market is mired in controversies of sorts that tend to pop up from time to time. The latest casualty of ONE B is a pointer in that direction. The channel has been embroiled in a series of controversies right from the start.

The most common complaint that one hears from the disgruntled subscribers is the lack of ability of service providers to deliver on promised choice of channels and prompt service.

“Many have come and promised the moon and gone. It’s the lack of honesty, transparency and underlying surreptitiousness that pervades in this market segment”, said a source speaking on condition of anonymity.

Jim Blackman, CEO Triangle TV and the satellite feed of Stratos, would not be drawn into making a comment on the new player but wished “good luck to them.”

Interestingly, there’s World TV Ltd a namesake to UBI World TV here in New Zealand since June 2000 catering to Chinese, Korean and Japanese interests with 7 TV and 2 Radio channels.

They did not know about the new entrant until this reporter got in touch with them. They expressed surprise at their namesake which is bound to confuse the ordinary customer.

There are over 10,000 households subscribing WTV. The total number of viewers reaching 50,000 approximately 26 percent of the market.

UBI World TV commenced operations in Sydney, Australia in 2004, and since launching has attracted more than 200,000 viewers Australia-wide. In addition, UBI services subscribers in Asia and Africa, and has operations in Europe, North America and South America. It has also started offering advertising on its top-rating channels.

UBI World TV New Zealand subscribers can enjoy a feast of entertainment, sport, information and news programs in a language package of their choice comprising: Arabic (29 TV and 10 radio channels), Turkish (10 TV and 7 radio channels), Spanish (11 TV and 1 radio channels), Greek (9 TV and 12 radio channels), Balkan (7 TV and 4 radio channels), Portuguese and Brazilian (3 TV and 1 radio channels), Persian (3 TV and 1 radio channels), including top-rating ‘best-of’ compilation channels in Turkish and Arabic produced in Australia, and a ‘best-of’ Macedonian channel produced in Macedonia.

UBI President and CEO Regina Boulos said, “We are delighted to finally bring UBI World TV to New Zealand. Our service has been widely embraced and enjoyed by the ethnic communities in Asia, Africa and Australia, and we are both pleased and excited to now be able to bring to New Zealand’s migrant communities our high-rating channels which we beam live from different parts of the world. New Zealand’s migrant communities can now re-establish ties with the native culture and heritage that they cherish.”

“Through UBI World TV, these communities can watch live news and enjoy the best dramas, comedies, movies, music, sport and more, in their language, direct from their home countries, in the comfort of their homes.”

“The launch marks a first for many communities in New Zealand including the Iraqi, Persian, Greek, Saudi Arabian, Egyptian, Brazilian, Chilean, Lebanese, Turkish, Jordanian, Palestinian, Syrian, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Mexican, Bosnian, Colombian, Montenegro, Argentinean, Portuguese and Cypriot communities, who for many years have not had access to the best TV and radio channels from their home countries”, Ms. Boulos said.

When questioned what her firm’s subscriber numbers she answered “our viewer base continues to grow due to the excellent quality of our channels and the service we provide. Our subscriber numbers however are classified information.”

Referring to courting prospective customers from a host of other regional players scattered across the country, she remarked “UBI World TV has wide experience in multicultural media and marketing. Our team of multicultural, multilingual staff knows the language, culture and what appeals strongly to the audiences we are targeting. We employ a range and a mix of traditional and non-traditional media as well as innovative sales promotions activities which have worked very well for us.”

Package prices start from NZ$29.95 per month for a minimum of 12 months. Installation costs and other terms and conditions apply.

Elaborating she said “UBI World TV’s package prices and the channels available for each package vary. For instance, our Balkan Package comprising 7 of the best Macedonian, Bosnian, Montenegro and Bulgarian TV channels plus 4 radio stations is available for $29.95 per month. Our Arabic Package comprising the highest rating channels from Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Syria and Jordan offers 29 TV channels and 10 radio stations for $59.95 per month.”

Avoiding quoting a specific figure, she observed “new subscribers to UBI World TV incur an installation fee which includes: the cost of decoder box, satellite dish, cabling, technician labour/ servicing. Then they pay the monthly subscription fee. Our installation fees are competitive with the fees of other pay TV providers and vary according to the location of the customer.”

She stated the company is currently setting up an office in New Zealand, and starting to build a network of agents and dealers to generate subscriptions across the country.


Syed Akbar Kamal is Producer/Director for current affairs programme Darpan-The Mirror nationwide on Stratos & Triangle TV.


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