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13 March 2011


Today TVNZ launches U, a ground-breaking new channel which integrates online social networking with broadcast content for the first time on New Zealand screens. U is a commercial free-to-air digital channel which features a mix of real life and factual entertainment programming and is aimed at all Kiwis aged 15-24.

The channel kicks off with our first ever episode of U live - a live daily interactive entertainment music show hosted by Connor Nester, Rose Matafeo and Tim Lambourne. Packed with giveaways, guests and entertainment news, no two shows will be the same. U live airs every day between 4pm and 7pm.

TVNZ has worked closely with Facebook to create a truly interactive show. Fans of the U live Facebook app are able to comment on topics, post pictures, vote in polls and peek behinds the scenes of the show through a live stream "producer cam". Comments will then be pulled into the broadcast and onto screen, giving viewers a chance to interact with the presenters and each other like never before.

TVNZ's Head of Digital Media and Channels Eric Kearley says that TVNZ is delighted to bring New Zealand its first true "social television" experience through the Facebook integration.

"It's the first true technology-driven integration of online social media with television in New Zealand."

U tv, which starts tonight and airs every Sunday at 8.30pm, gives viewers another chance to interact with the broadcast. People can enter a competition to be the U programmer for a month via the channel's website. The lucky winner will effectively "own" the slot, choosing what viewers watch and then, via a video link, present their choices to NZ.

The rest of the schedule is made up of a selection of shows new to New Zealand audiences that are sure to shock, inspire and entertain. Britain's Missing Top Model explores the biggest taboo in modelling... the lack of disabled models. The Buried Life follows the real life adventure of four guys on an epic quest to prove that anyone can do anything and to challenge strangers with the ultimate question: "What do you want to do before you die?". And G Girls follows the glitzy team behind Britain's top glossy - Glamour magazine. This is the series that gives fashion fans the kind of inside access they can only dream of.

According to Kearley, U is an innovative step for broadcasting in New Zealand and fills a gap in the market. 

"We had identified that there was an opportunity to extend the content available for young New Zealanders with new locally made and overseas programming. U will be the only fully localised youth channel in the market providing bespoke opportunities for New Zealand advertisers to speak to young Kiwis."

U will be broadcast on Freeview/TiVo channel 6 and SKY/Telstra channel 016.



For further information:

Jade Rook 021 899 571

For interview requests with:
Eric Kearley, TVNZ Head of Digital Channels & Digital Media
Paul Borrud, Regional VP Facebook Australia & New Zealand

Jade Rook 021 899 571