ZB

Freeview cans on-demand service after TVNZ powerplay

Author
Chris Keall, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 15 Dec 2021, 2:46pm
(Photo / Supplied)
(Photo / Supplied)

Freeview cans on-demand service after TVNZ powerplay

Author
Chris Keall, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 15 Dec 2021, 2:46pm

Freeview, the platform co-owned by TVNZ, Three owner Discovery, Māori TV and RNZ, is axing its on-demand service by "late 2022". 

While its individual members have their own on-demand services in the booming streaming market, former Freeview CEO Jason Foden argued that Freeview On Demand offered a one-stop shop - including the ability to search for a show across all the free-to-air broadcasters' on-demand content. 

But that selling point was undermined mid-year when TVNZ withdrew from Freeview On Demand to focus on its own streaming effort. 

At the same time, departing CEO Kevin Kenrick reiterated that he was open to a paid option for TVNZ - which could follow the pay-to-avoid ads model adopted by Disney-owned Hulu (which aggregates content from US free-to-air broadcasters, as well as producing original content). 

Soon after, Foden quit Freeview. He was recently named to Sky TV's executive as acting chief digital and innovation officer. He moves on to the pay-TV provider's executive this month in a move that coincides with the departure of Tex Teixeira, a longtime lieutenant of former Sky boss John Fellet. 

Sky confirmed last week that Teixeira - whose departure was first tipped by the Herald in October will leave this month. 

The sunsetting of Freeview On Demand continues a shake-up in the local streaming market. 

Last week, Vodafone said it was axing VodafoneTV, which offered Sky's broadcast channels through a wholesale deal, plus third-party apps including Netflix. 

"It's fair to say VodafoneTV didn't reach the customer numbers or scale that we hoped it would, and has been operating at a loss," Vodafone comms lead Nicky Preston told the Herald. 

VodafoneTV will be turned off in September. 

In a statement, Freeview said it will work with those broadcasters over the coming months to ensure a smooth transition from Freeview On Demand to its owners' various individual apps. 

Freeview product manager Leon Mead was made acting general manager following Foden's departure.