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The Competition Arrives


There was only one national television channel until 1975 when Network Two was introduced. Both channels were Government owned under the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation (NZBC, established in 1962) that also ran the national radio service, Radio New Zealand. In 1975, the NZBC was dissolved and replaced by Television One, Television Two and Radio New Zealand. The Broadcasting Corporation of New Zealand (BCNZ) was formed in 1980 to merge both channels under a single corporation. After eight years BCNZ was disestablished to allow the formation of an autonomous commercial television company, the State Owned Enterprise, Television New Zealand.

Deregulation of New Zealand's television market came in 1989 with the opening up of UHF television frequencies for sale to private enterprise. The new Broadcasting Act also saw the formation of New Zealand On Air and the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

The first privately owned free to air television network, TV3, debuted in 1989. In 1997, Canwest, owners of TV3 from 1991, established another national channel, TV4, bringing the total number of free to air national television channels to four.

Pay television entered the market in 1990 with the introduction of Sky Television broadcasting on the UHF band. Sky introduced digital satellite broadcasting in 1998 and now has over 40 channels available to paying customers with all five free to air channels available on the only large-scale digital platform in New Zealand.

MTV made a brief appearance in New Zealand from June 1997 to June 1998. Owned and managed by Television New Zealand, MTV here was the only market in the world where the channel was broadcast free to air.