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Lexus Leaves TVNZ For Sky's Rialto Channel

MEDIA RELEASE: 21 JULY 2005

LEXUS LEAVES TVNZ FOR SKY'S RIALTO CHANNEL

Rialto Channel, Driving the Spirit of Independent Film with Lexus

Rialto, SKY Television's premiere independent film, documentary and entertainment channel, confirmed today that it has formed a ground-breaking channel association with Lexus. The unique three year partnership, commencing 1st August 2005, will establish Lexus as the exclusive sponsor of Rialto Channel and ensure that advertising is kept to an absolute minimum. Lexus will be incorporated into the channel's brand message as "Rialto Channel, Driving the Spirit of Independent Film with Lexus."

Lexus believes that Rialto's viewers are in perfect synergy with the Lexus customers and as a result has looked to create a partnership with Rialto Channel. Toyota Chief Executive, Bob Field says, "Lexus has enjoyed significant growth in the luxury car market in recent years and have entered into some long term partnerships that reflect the exclusive brand values of the marque. Lexus has always recognised that a complementary and constant association with a kindred art form was desirable.

"Our decision to go into partnership with Rialto Channel reflects our admiration for their commitment to bring to local audiences the best of independent film from around the world. We are delighted that the Lexus sponsorship will help Rialto to maintain and enhance the quality of movies and documentaries that will be offered to Rialto channel subscribers. It will also allow viewers to continue enjoying a quality cinematic experience without interruptions from advertisements. We view the Lexus/Rialto relationship as a long term partnership and we will be exploring ways to add value for audiences as well as for Rialto and Lexus customers," says Mr Field.

Andrew Hawken, Rialto Chief Executive, is delighted to have Lexus on board. "It's an enormous compliment and a bold endorsement of our programming for a prestigious brand like Lexus to move it's sponsorship from TVNZ to Rialto Channel," he says.

"Rialto continues to establish itself as an important source of entertainment in New Zealand homes and now with Lexus on board we can look forward to the next few years of the highest quality, uninterrupted independent film, documentaries and entertainment with a minimum of advertising," he says.

SKY Television, Chief Executive, John Fellet says. "We are very pleased that Lexus has chosen to form an association with SKY and Rialto. This extremely targeted association takes the relationship between channel and advertiser to a new level. While the relationship is obviously mutually beneficial to both parties, the obvious winner will be the customer who will benefit in having fewer programme interruptions and commercials."

Over the past three years, Rialto's viewership has tripled. Today it is delivered by SKY Television to over 100,000 homes with more than 200,000 New Zealanders watching every week. With the explosion of reality TV and franchise movies, more and more New Zealanders are turning to quality independent film in the home and Rialto is fast becoming the definitive home of such content.

Rialto Channel is continuing to secure more and more high profile independent content and in the coming months will showcase New Zealand television premieres and award winning films including Stephen Fry's witty and intelligent adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's novel 'Vile Bodies' Bright Young Things, Lars von Tier's highly acclaimed film Dogville featuring Nicole Kidman, the multi award-winning, film festival favourite City of God, Sylvia, Christine Jeff's sensitive portrayal of the relationship between poets Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, and French crime-comedy, Quentin & Ruby - all with a minimum of advertising interruption.

The Lexus partnership and Rialto's continued re-investment into content, imagery, website development and customer interaction is set to add greater value to its viewers.

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. (At end-December 2004, it had 590,777 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, Skymail, the Weather Channel, games channel Playin' TV and motor vehicle retail guide Go Auto.

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

ENDS


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