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Regional Television Happening Now

The regional television race in Canterbury is hotting up with the entry of a global player.

West Media Limited is launching NOW TV on Monday, 26 March. This is the result of West Media¹s gradual purchase of shares in CHTV.

"We¹re looking to move New Zealand regional television into the 21st Century," says David Compton, General Manager, Media, West Media Services Limited.

"Christchurch has a rich history in regional broadcasting. The first regional station was established here in 1991. It seems very fitting that the next era in regional television history should open here."

"The Canterbury and South Island economy is growing. West Media¹s decision to enter the market at this level is a sign of our confidence in the local economy."

"CHTV leads the way in the ratings in this market and the launch of NOW TV will further strengthen that position," says Mr Compton.

"The new station will have a Canterbury focus but will also extend to addressing national and international issues. We¹ll be looking outside Canterbury as well as inside. Our viewers and advertisers want the total package and that¹s what we will be delivering."

"There will be four main streams to the programming: news and weather, sports, lifestyle and youth."

ŒThe new name clearly demonstrates that this regional television station is about what is happening NOW and being up with the pace whether it be the latest weather, a breaking news story, rugby result or letting Christchurch know about the hottest new spot for a latte!"

The CHTV team will remain in place for the new channel.

"The solid foundation of names and experiences will give NOW TV the edge in the Canterbury market," says David Compton.

"It¹ll be a case of watch NOW or miss out!"

Media Release, 19 March 01

NEW NAME, NEW FOCUS

A longer news programme, more regular weather bulletins and the best of what Canterbury has to offer.

That¹s a taste of what to expect from NOW TV as the channel launches its programming line up.

Programmes Manager George Balani says NOW TV will retain all the best of CHTV, but the West Media buy-in means this is one local channel with serious backing.

"That¹s great news for viewers. We¹ll be concentrating on producing quality programming in four key areas ­ news and weather, sport, lifestyle and youth programmes."

"News has always been the mainstay and flagship for our station. NOW TV will be running a one hour news show and pumping even more resources and energy into this area."

"The one hour format provides us with the flexibility to extend any news item or sports item depending on what happens on any given day," says Balani. "Canterbury will be seeing more of itself on air, and we¹ll be beefing up our news service."

The best of the long running show Canterbury Today will be incorporated into the news hour.

"With extending the news to an hour we will be able to cover all the issues and events more effectively and incorporate national and international news."

NOW TV will also bring a fresh face to Canterbury television screens with former CHTV news reporter Megan Hill anchoring the news.

Balani says NOW TV News will challenge the traditional regional station perspective of only looking to its community for stories and will take a more holistic view of how national and international news and events can affect the local community.

"As the whole world moves to become more global, so too does its news. Things that affect people in our community can come from decisions or events made not only here but on the other side of the world ­ a prime example is the current foot and mouth disease epidemic in Europe which could directly affect the New Zealand farming community. We recognise this and will now have the ability and the foresight to tell them about it from a local perspective."

Weather will also play an important role in the new programming with regular weather updates as well as in the traditional news slot.

"Providing regular updates of the weather will give Cantabrians a reliable source to turn to. We are a very weather-conscious region, and there¹s a real demand for reliable, up to the minute information.

Lifestyle and youth shows will also play a prominent role on NOW TV.

City Life will look at the different aspects of living in Canterbury including areas like food, fashion, health and arts.

New youth show POWA has a time slot of 10pm weeknights and runs for half an hour. It is a live studio based show and incorporates footage of a number of youth orientated events happening around Christchurch.

"We have 50,000 tertiary students based in Christchurch which in the past have largely been ignored by local television programming. POWA is a program which we believe can fill this void."

NOW TV can be found on UHF 52.

Media Release, 19 March 01

MORE WEATHER NOW!

Move over Augie and make way Jim ­ Canterbury now has its very own weatherman.

Richard Green is ready to take on the big guns as he moves into his slot as NOW TV¹s weatherman. And one thing he knows for sure is that Canterbury viewers are crying out for weather, weather and more weather.

"One of the most fascinating results we got from a recent survey asking local people what they want out of a local TV station was that they¹re obsessed with the weather!"

"It¹s probably got a lot to do with our farming focus, the fact that we¹re an outdoorsy bunch and the changeability of conditions on the mainland. Whatever it is, the catch cry was the same ­ give us more regular, good quality weather information with a local angle."

Green has a passion for meteorology. But he also knows how confusing all the jargon that goes with weather can be.

"The key to a good weather service is in understanding the technical information and translating it to everyday activities that everybody can relate to."

Tune in for regular weather updates on NOW TV or remember to take your umbrella (everyday)!


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