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No local TV for Saturn viewers

For Saturn customers Wellington television is off the airwaves. Last weekend Saturn TV stopped airing it own local channel ONTV and Wellington’s free-to-air Channel 7.

Saturn customer Jeremy Rose is "outraged" at Saturn’s decision to remove the local channels. "Its a great pity. All our local TV has been cut in one swoop. The first time I saw the King Kapisi video was on ONTV."

Anna Shipley of Saturn TV said ONTV is only off air to March. It is being reformatted to include national and international programmes. "ONTV repeated a lot of programmes, instead of doing that want to bring in national and international shows. It will be part of a new lifestyles show similar to ONTV."

Saturn is making changes to its programming because it is going nationwide and its need to have a wider appeal. Shipley said they already laying cables for a network in Christchurch and they will enter the Auckland market next year.

While Saturn is bringing back ONTV it has no plans to air Channel 7. Shipley says Saturn surveyed its viewers about the channel and results showed it had low viewer ratings. Not all customers received a copy of the survey and Rose said he was one of them.

David Ross from Channel 7 is disappointed at Saturn’s decision to stop airing the channel. "It’s sad but they have made that decision and we have no influence over it." Ross also said the decision was "short sighted" and they have received a number of complaints from viewers. Channel 7 is still available to Wellingtonians on free-to-air television.

Shipley said Saturn customers could still watch Channel 7 they just needed to turn off their Saturn decoder and tune to Channel 7 on the TV. "Its a very simple procedure really."

However residents in hilly suburbs like Aro Valley can not pick up Channel 7 reception well without Saturn. "That was the great thing about. Saturn. We got great reception". said Ross.

By Rebecca Thomson

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