TVNZ flicks Heartland switch, goes a-ramblin’ down memory lane

Today sees the launch of New Zealand’s first 100 percent local content channel, TVNZ Heartland, which features a mix of old classics and new gems and will be shown on the Sky platform. And, according to TVNZ’s head of digital Eric Kearley, we can expect to see more of these types of channels on the pay-TV platform in the future.

It’s a bit of a double whammy for the national broadcaster: Sky’s audience is still much larger than Freeview, so it can sell more eyeballs to advertisers than Freeview can deliver and it can also negotiate a fee from Sky (at this stage confidential) to carry the channel. TVNZ’s two digital channels TVNZ6 and TVNZ7 are both non-commercial.

Kearley recently told Idealog magazine that TVNZ Heartland hints at the broadcaster’s new direction.

“This image of a lumbering, conservative, traditional broadcaster is a bit unfair. In less than three years we’ve gone from two channels to five, of which one is not free-to-air, we’re world-leading with our on-demand product, we’ve gone through enormous transformation already. And there’ll be more.”

You can catch the full interview in the next issue of Idealog.

The brand proposition for Heartland is that it tells the stories of New Zealand, and, with local shows always the highest rating shows every year on NZ TV, a lot of these stories have proven to be very popular. The channel, which is targeted at AP40-65 and has a female skew, aims to reflect the country, the lifestyle, and the down to earth nature of the inhabitants with shows both old and new, but while it’s slanted toward Heartland New Zealand, the music (local band Minuit’s song Aotearoa) and channel graphics hope to give it a more contemporary feel.

It would’ve been hard not to notice, but the launch of Heartland also ties into the 50th anniversary of television in New Zealand. And, as such, expect an onslaught of TVNZ bloopers, nostalgic throw-backs and walks down memory lane.

Andrew Shaw, past TV host and now general manager of commissioning, production and acquisitions, will kick things off on Heartland at 6pm tonight on Sky channel 17 with a five week show that chronicles each decade’s best, and presumably most cringeworthy, efforts (there are still some advertising opportunities left for businesses hoping to align themselves with a proudly one-eyed Kiwi offering, check TVNZPlanit).

TV One will be celebrating the big 50 with a two hour clip driven panel show ‘Cheers to 50 Years‘ at 8:30 tonight. It includes more than 120 of the nation’s most loved and loathed moments, as well as some of the advertisements (speaking of which, this week’s Ad Show was a 50 year retrospective of the nation’s ads, replete with some of the industry’s big names).

Everyone has their favourite TV moments, and we hadn’t seen this clip of Paul Henry as a gameshow host (with what appears to be a perm) until this morning. According to New Zealand’s television equivalent of Basil Brush, his teeth seem to have shrunk over the years.

Youtube Video

There’s also the classic radio controlled sheep dog that featured on Country Calendar’s spoof series, which aimed to make fun of stupid city slickers. Keeping it rural, the combination of man, dog and sheep made for good viewing and ran for 15 years.

Youtube Video

Youtube Video

Or poor old Thingee, who obviously didn’t heed Mother’s advice and ended up losing an eye.

There are plenty more, of course, so feel free to add a few more classic moments to the comment wall below. And for true blue train spotters, you can even take a gander at a couple of timelines that chart the course of the good ship TVNZ over the last five decades. Last5OYears Milestones and Last50Years TVprogrammes

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