The Hot List winners: TV channel

Hottest TV channel: TVNZ 1

Nominees: TVNZ1, Three, Soho
People’s choice: Three

TVNZ 1 has gone from strength-to-strength in the last year. Between committing to bringing huge sports events like the Rugby World Cup back to free-to-air and investing in local content, there could be no other winner of the Hottest TV Channel. TVNZ general manager of programming John Kelly fills us in on why TVNZ 1 is so hot right now.

John Kelly

TVNZ 1 is home to all the programmes in Nielsen’s Top 10 what keeps Kiwis coming back?

TVNZ 1 is the home of local content. We’re proud more than half of our line up consists of local shows and talent. New Zealanders want to see their own stories in their own voices. They’re able to do this on 1, whether it’s Hyundai Country Calendar, our Sunday Theatre season, The Casketeers or 1 News At 6pm every night.

What is the secret to TVNZ 1’s success?

Our ambition is to tell stories that no other channel can. We’re looking for authentic and compelling stories that resonate with contemporary New Zealand audiences. We can’t please everybody all the time, but we absolutely do put viewers first. They’re our priority and we want to connect them to forward-thinking and inspirational stories.

What have been some of the highlights for TVNZ 1 over the last year?

I’m really proud of our local dramas – the Sunday Theatre season performed incredibly well and The Bad Seed did too – a hugely compelling series programmed across ve consecutive nights, replicating online binge-watching in the TV space.

It’s been fantastic to build on our Commonwealth Games momentum to cover more sporting events. The T20 Black Clash was a big highlight and we’re looking forward to our Rugby World Cup matches coming up.

I’m also immensely proud of our news team and the programmes they deliver every day. They bring in massive audiences and o er a really important service. Never was the need for quality journalism more apparent than with the recent Christchurch terrorist attacks. The whole team worked hard to bring viewers those heart-breaking stories from Canterbury.

What have been some of the challenges?

We know viewers are watching content in different ways. As viewers turn to online options, we’ve had to be brave and open to trying new things – The Bad Seed scheduling being an excellent example of this. We’re taking more risks with the content we chose, and we’re finding the way we are releasing it is working for both our OnDemand and on-air audiences. Our focus is on finding the best home for the show, whether that’s a channel or digital platform.

How has the relationship between TVNZ 1 and TVNZ OnDemand evolved over the last year?

It’s all about the audience – what matters most is that they chose to watch with TVNZ. With that attitude, the relationship between TVNZ 1 and OnDemand has become closer. BBC’s Dynasties is a great example of this – a big TVNZ 1 launch, but with the full five-part series available to stream OnDemand at the same time. We knew viewers would want to watch that show in different ways… it was up to us the deliver for our audience – and it worked incredibly well for both.

What is the focus for TVNZ 1 heading into the future?

TVNZ 1 will continue to be the home of premium content. We’ll keep engaging with the best storytellers around the country and the world. To remain the most-watched channel, we have to keep in step with our audiences. We’re not afraid to innovate and do things differently to remain part of viewers daily lives. I’m most excited about Funny As: The Story of New Zealand Comedy, that’s coming to Sunday nights in the winter, the Rob Lowe-helmed drama Wild Bill and of course the Rugby World Cup!

We’ll be posting the rest of the Hot List over the next few weeks. To get a print copy of the Hot List, subscribe here to NZ Marketing.

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