Internet Pacific Channel To Launch Next Month
By Natasha Burling, Pacific Media Centre
AUCKLAND (PMC/Pacific Media Watch): Tongan broadcaster and community development personality Will 'Ilolahia sprang a surprise at the Pasifika media fono today with an announcement that a new Pacific television channel would be on the internet by next month.
Television New Zealand and TV3 representatives had been discussing the possibility of a dedicated Pacific Islands channel on their stations but neither network had given a firm launch date.
Speaking from the floor of the Pacific Islands Media Association (PIMA) conference, 'Ilolahia said the Pacific Island channel would go live by November 1. The channel would be internet-based and would be important for Pacific Islanders.
“We know that there are a lot of PIs around the world who are dying to watch Kiwi films and that kind of stuff,” he explained.
When asked why he kept the establishment of the channel secret, 'Ilolahia said he wanted to wait until his organisation had something concrete.
“To be honest, I came here to hear about the competitors. That's why I got up and said it,” he said.
'Ilolahia said the Pacific Islands channel would come under Kiwi Television and would have its editing suite in Sydney. It would be funded by the Australian Film Commission.
The former Polynesian Panther gave the still inactive website as www.kiwitv_streaming.co.nz He explained that when users click on each programme they would be asked to pay credits.
He said Maori Television had already joined forces and would have some of its programmes on the internet channel.
'Ilolahia said Pacific Islands television had been in place for some time and had approached TVNZ and TV3.
“But these guys (Kiwi Television) have given us the chance to actually set up a proper PI TV channel,” he added
The broadcaster said the channel expected to reach a larger audience through the internet.
“We're acknowledging now that the internet is probably actually a wider medium than television broadcasting,” he said.
After hearing the news, Spasifik magazine publisher Innes Logan said competition was healthy and recounted how he had set up the magazine five years ago without any government funding.
Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres said he was pleased with the plans to launch Pacific Island channels but concerned that the networks were not working together.
“I would hate to see this falter through lack of cooperation. Half a million New Zealanders deserve to have their own channel," he said.