Dual launch for shopping channel

Briscoes is among the advertisers for New Zealand's first televised shopping channel.
Briscoes is among the advertisers for New Zealand's first televised shopping channel.

New Zealand's first televised home shopping network, The Shopping Channel [TSC], will launch on Sky Television in October but a free-to-air partner is yet to be decided.

It was announced yesterday the Sky channel would run on an 8 hour-a-day schedule on Sky's Channel 18, with much of it being filmed and broadcast live, similar to United States equivalents, HSN and QVC.

The channel's general manager of operations, Michael O'Driscoll, has since added that TSC would definitely "have a presence" on free-to-air television.

Earlier talks between the channel's founder, advertising guru Greg Partington, and Television New Zealand about hosting the content at the state-owned broadcaster came to nothing. There had been an uproar over TSC potentially replacing public broadcasting content on TVNZ7's frequency, which becomes available in June once TVNZ7 stops broadcasting. That frequency will now screen TV One's programming delayed by one hour.

O'Driscoll said TSC was not targeting TVNZ7's frequency specifically, but that speculation had "muddied the waters" for TVNZ and he understood why negotiations could not continue.

Negotiations for a free-to-air partner were ongoing although O'Driscoll would not specify who was in the running, saying only that it would launch on pay TV and free-to-air TV on the same date.

Sky, MediaWorks and Maori Television all have potential free-to-air capacity.

O'Driscoll said he was "two weeks away" from being able to confirm who would be helping produce the channel's programming, where production would be located and how its equipment would be leased.

Contract talks for presenters were also under way: "Some will be known, some will be new," he said.

TSC had held discussions with Sky, along with others, over their involvement in production in addition to providing "carriage" of the channel, O'Driscoll said.

"Millions" of dollars were being invested in the business, he said.

Briscoes is already on the list of advertisers for the channel alongside several other clients, but O'Driscoll would not name them.

Retail Association chief executive John Albertson said retailers would embrace any new sales channels that got them in front of target customers.

Home shopping channels overseas were also used to clear obsolete lines of stock at discount prices, he said.

"You've got the online space, you've now got the television space and you've got the bricks and mortar space, and essentially retailers have to adapt to which channels they're going to use." Fairfax NZ

The Press