Archive for October, 2006

New Zealand – television statistics – 2004

Monday, October 30th, 2006

According to the NZ Television Broadcasters Council (NZTBC), for the six months period to June 2004, television advertising revenues increase 9% ($24 million) against the same period in 2003 for national broadcasters. It also claimed that national broadcasters spending for the three months to June 2004 was $153 million, a 17% increase on the previous three months to March 2004.

In contrast, figures collected by Nielson Media Research actually showed a downturn in advertising revenue.

Table 2 – Television viewing patterns – 2004

Demographic Time spent viewing per day (minutes) Potential audience size

All people 5+ 173 3,737,000

05 to 14 year olds 131 616,000

15 to 24 year olds 109 516,000

25 to 39 year olds 181 896,000

40 to 54 year olds 179 860,000

55 to 69 year olds 197 507,000

70+ year olds 270 343,000

(Source: Paul Budde Communication based on AC Nielsen New Zealand)

In 2004 New Zealanders spent 173 minutes on average per day, viewing live Television from 2am to 2am. By comparison, in 1992 New Zealanders spent 161 minutes viewing, according to AC Nielsen New Zealand.

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New Zealand – Regional television listing – 2005

Monday, October 30th, 2006

Regional stations include:

• Channel 7 Taranaki – UHF Channel 41in the Taranaki region;

• CTV – Christchurch Television – Christchurch’s UHF 44;

• CH50 – Dunedin’s Channel 9 – UHF Channel 50;

• FTN – Family Television Network;

• GTV – Geyser Television – UHF (Rotorua);

• HBTV – Hawke’s Bay Television;

• CH7 – Mainland Television;

• Shine TV – Channel 56 UHF Canterbury and SKY Digital – Channel 99;

• Southland TV – VHF – Invercargill & Nationwide on SKY Digital – Channel 90;

• TRI-TV – Triangle Television – a non-commercial, community TV station serving the Auckland area on UHF Channel 41;

• UHF Channel 61 – Taupo.

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New Zealand – Radio Industry Overview – 2005

Monday, October 30th, 2006

1. INDUSTRY OVERVIEW

New Zealand is well served by radio broadcasting, and the industry remains profitable. There are several national stations, as well as numerous regional and city-based operations vying for market share.

Table 1 – Radio broadcasting statistics – 2005

Service Statistics

Radio broadcast stations 418

Radio receivers 3,750,000

(Source: Paul Budde Communication based on industry sources)

Of the 418 radio stations the breakdown is: AM 124, FM 290, and shortwave 4.

The current radio broadcasting sector consists of:

• Radio New Zealand, the public radio service;

• two major private owners of radio networks;

• other private stations;

• a publicly-funded pilot Pacific radio service;

• Niu FM;

• a series of non-profit community stations;

• Sky Digital Music: 12 digital music channels.

• a network of 25 Kiwi radio stations throughout the country.

2. RADIO BROADCASTING PARENT COMPANIES

• Gisborne Media Ltd (GML) – Owners and operators of two local Gisborne stations;

• Port FM Music Network – 98 Port FM Timaru, MacKenzie 94FM MacKenzie Country, Whitestone 100FM Oamaru & Mid Canterbury’s 95 & 99 Fox FM Ashburton;

• Radio Bay Of Plenty Ltd – owners and operators of: 1XX – 90.5FM, 1242AM (Bay of Plenty), 93.0FM (Ohope Beach) & 92.9FM (Te Puke) and Bayrock 97-7FM & 99-3FM;

• Radio New Zealand – broadcasts over three nationwide networks: National Radio, Concert FM and the AM network;

• Rhema Broadcasting Group Inc (RBG) – Radio Rhema, Life FM and Southern Star;

• The Radio Network (TRN) – owners and operators of: Newstalk ZB, Classic Hits, ZM, Radio Sport, Radio Hauraki, Easy Listening i; local stations Cool Blue FM and JO 1530; and IRN News network news service;

• The RadioWorks New Zealand Ltd (TRW) – owners and operators of Radio Pacific, Solid Gold FM, The Rock and The Edge and several provincial and local radio stations.

3. OTHER NATIONAL RADIO STATIONS

• AM Network – broadcasts the New Zealand Parliament on the air live;

• b.NET – a collective group of stations broadcast by students from the Universities or Polytechnics around New Zealand, including 95bFM, The Generator 89FM, The Most 92.3FM, Active 89FM, RDU 98.3FM, Radio 1 91FM;

• Classic Hits – Radio Northland – Whangarei, Kaitaia, Kaikohe, 97FM Auckland, 98.6 ZHFM Hamilton, 95 BOP FM Tauranga, 97FM Geyserland Rotorua, 89FM Bay City Radio – Hawke’s Bay, 90FM Taranaki, 97.8 ZAFM Palmerston North, 90FM Wellington, 90FM Nelson, 98FM Christchurch, 89FM Dunedin 98.8ZAFM Invercargill;

• Easy Listening I – Easy listening adult contemporary; Auckland 98.2FM, Tauranga 99.0FM, Hawke’s Bay 90.3FM, 1593AM Christchurch;

• Life FM – Christian rock format, available throughout New Zealand;

• More FM – format is adult contemporary, middle of the road;

• New Zealand’s Rhema Network – a 30+ frequency network (AM/FM) focusing on Christian music and programming;

• Newstalk ZB – nationwide and local/regional talkback plus some live sports commentary;

• Radio Hauraki – classic rock; 99.0FM Auckland, 96.0FM Hamilton, 89.0FM Tauranga, 94.3FM Rotorua, 98.9FM Gisborne, 91.9FM Taupo, 99.9FM Hawke’s Bay, 97.2FM Taranaki, 1017AM Christchurch, 1125AM Dunedin, 93.2FM Invercargill;

• Radio Pacific – format includes news, information, nationwide talkback and racing commentary;

• Radio Sport – sports commentary and sports talkback;

• Southern Star Network – Christian music;

• The Edge – contemporary hit radio, based in Auckland and available throughout New Zealand;

• The Rock – Album Rock, owned by The RadioWorks;

• Tourist Information FM.

4. RADIO NEW ZEALAND

Radio New Zealand [www.radionz.co.nz] is a Crown entity established under the Radio New Zealand Act 1995.

Radio New Zealand broadcasts over three nationwide networks;

• National Radio;

• Concert FM;

• The AM network which relays Parliamentary proceedings.

Radio New Zealand International (RNZI) is an overseas shortwave service, broadcasting to the South Pacific and beyond, while Radio New Zealand News and Current Affairs provides news and current affairs information.

In September 2005 Radio New Zealand was progressing with public tests of its audio streaming service. The streams include National Radio, Concert FM, and Radio NZ International and are run at speeds of 16,48 and 64Kb/s.

5. CANWEST RADIOWORKS NZ

RadioWorks has a network of over 100 stations, broadcasting throughout New Zealand, with different networks targeting different audiences. Total weekly audience in 2005 was over 1.21 million listeners. RadioWorks also has New Zealand’s number one Radio Station – The Edge – with over 421,700 listeners tuning in each week in 2005.

5.1 NETWORK BRANDS

RadioWorks’ six Network Brands – The Edge, Kiwi, The Rock, Solid Gold, Radio Live and Radio Pacific – operate centrally from premises in Auckland. Network programs are distributed from Auckland, with each geographic operation inserting local commercials into pre-defined time slots. These brands rely upon RadioWorks’ Network Centre in Auckland for group management, content production, technical engineering, national marketing and promotions and news production.

Advertising agency campaigns are sold by The Radio Bureau (TRB). National direct advertising is sold by the RadioWorks’ National Sales Team. Local time slots are sold by the RadioWorks’ local sales teams around the country.

5.2 LOCAL RADIO STATIONS

RadioWorks’ local radio product, More FM, broadcasts in 21 areas throughout the country with live, local announcers and a strong promotional presence in each market. The Breeze broadcasts in Waikato, The Coromandel, Manawatu, Wellington, Kapiti Coast, Christchurch and Dunedin and are also local stations within their respective RadioWorks operations.

5.3 COMPANY HISTORY

The CanWest Global Group commenced its New Zealand radio operations with the acquisition of the More FM Group in 1997. The Group increased its radio presence in 2000 when it acquired a 72% stake in the then NZSX-listed RadioWorks New Zealand Ltd, with the remaining 28% of RadioWorks New Zealand Ltd acquired in 2001.

By 2005 the operations of the More FM Group and RadioWorks New Zealand Ltd were integrated, with the RadioWorks name being adopted as the umbrella brand.

CanWest MediaWorks acquired the radio and television businesses of the CanWest Global Group – RadioWorks and TVWorks in July 2004. In 2005 RadioWorks acquired a further two independent media companies in Gisborne and The Coromandel, and was operating out of 22 markets around the country.

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Broadband Smart Meters

Monday, October 30th, 2006

Telco and utility industry calls for government leadership to save energy and our environment.

At an industry roundtable in Sydney Australia 40 representatives from the telco and utilities industry discussed the latest developments in Broadband Power Line (BPL) developments. They concluded that there is clearly far more to BPL than an alternative broadband offering.

For example with projects underway across the globe the smart electricity meter reader market is rapidly developing.

However, it would be a grave mistake if we fail to consider the use of a telecommunications network beyond that of meter reading. We do need to take into account that this market and our society have changed since smart meters, based on narrow band technologies) were introduced some 25 years ago (as a matter of fact that technology dates back to the 1890s). While the electricity regulators are looking at current environmental, energy saving and global warming issues they appear to have their blinkers on and risk spending millions of dollars on narrowband technology, which could read meters but could exclude the full benefits that broadband would deliver going forward.

The decision makers in Government and in the utilities industry need to understand that there are big risks involved in spending so much money on a narrowly technology. In our rapidly changing environment with issues such as global warming, water shortages and electricity outages due to extreme hot or old cold temperatures, we clearly do need to think forwards and not as is currently is the case in most countries backwards.

The industry needs to make a stand now, before it is too late and this old technology gets installed, they need to speak up to politicians and other decision makers in this field to build a case that will see smart meters integrate features that allow utilities and their customers to address these critical issues in our society.

BPL can most certainly be used to create far greater energy use awareness and can empower users, by making information about individual domestic (or business) consumption directly available to the user’s PC, TV or mobile phone. There is also potential for new energy devices that people can use to better manage their own energy use. There is large pent-up consumer and small business demand for energy consumption information that allows them to better mange their own energy usage. It was estimated that by simply providing this information to customers you could create a national 10-15% saving in energy, basically saving the nation a few power stations. Smart water meters could also be linked into this system, with similar saving results.

Wouldn’t be an enormous waste if we overhaul all these meters and uses old technologies that are not taking these future energy saving and management issues into account, yet several Governments and utilities around the world have recently decided to go for old technology.

The information obtained from these smart meters also allows utilities to manage energy use in their networks at peak times (managing hot water systems, street lighting, etc). With another hot summer or cold winter looming it should be very obvious to all involved that we do need to address this issue – BPL can play a key role as long as our energy decision makers are willing to show vision on this matter. It is estimated that investing in broadband-based smart meter solutions could save our society and our environment literally hundreds of millions of dollars.

At the Roundtable the vendors invited utilities around the globe to let them know what they want from smart meters, how much they are prepared to spend and how many meters are needed. This could see the cost gap between the obsolete narrowband technology and the new BPL technology, bridged to an acceptable level. Representative at the Roundtable believe that they as an industry owe this to our society and to our environment. We need to ensure that we deploy the latest technology that not simply makes meter reading cheaper but more importantly also contributes to the implementation of solutions that immediately benefit energy savings and contribute to safeguarding our environment.

Paul Budde

See also: Australia – Broadband Power Line – Smart Meters

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Media shake-up – the Prime Minister failed to take charge

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

The Packer deal took everybody by surprise. It coincided perfectly with the media reform announcements, but in fact had more to do with maximising shareholders value than with media reforms.

The media reforms had already been pretty well demolished by the Prime Minister in late 2005, and what was left over was just enough for the media moguls to grab some last-minute dollars out of a rapidly declining old media industry. They wouldn’t have been able to do this if the Minister had offered a true reform package – one that increased diversity by allowing for a fourth channel and by having a far more proactive policy regarding the new media.

By limiting the effect of the reform package to the existing media and existing players, the Minister increased the value of the old media, since, under her new rules, very few others are able to enter that space. The media barons were very grateful for this, as they all saw a significant increase in the value of their old media empires.

While the Minister keep, like a broken record, repeating the benefits of digital media, let’s not fool ourselves – the current events have nothing to do with true reforms benefiting the developments of new media.

Let’s go back to mid-2005 ..

At that time the Minister for Communications had some excellent plans for media reforms, but she was outmanoeuvred by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister was not the least bit interested in supporting the Minister and her package was thrown to the media pack, which very quickly tore it apart.

Being a true politician she battled on as though nothing had happened and continued delivering her reform message. But it was words only – the package was empty.

Minister is embarrassing the new media industry
It’s rather embarrassing to hear the Minister continue to go on about mobile TV. I am sure she knows better, but this is apparently the only part of the new media package that has survived. She simply doesn’t have anything else to offer.

Her problem is that nobody is interested in mobile TV services – not in Australia, and not anywhere else in the world. And, just to make sure that she protects the old media in this business also, she is even allowing them to bid for new government-owned spectrum around such services.

Doesn’t she remember what happened with digital TV spectrum? It was quickly gobbled up by the old media to prevent anybody else from entering the market.

As I reported last year, there was absolutely no sense of unity or national interest in the media reforms. It was simply a very selfish individual battle – each mogul fighting for himself and, in the absence of any political support, the Minister did nothing but go along with the moguls.

Packer’s unique business sense
It became very obvious that there was no way the government could retain control of the media reforms – hence the cheery smiles from James Packer in the weeks running up to the final version of the reforms.

He arguably could have split the company beforehand, but, ever the astute businessman, he jumped at precisely the right time. With media ownership changes in the air this was the ideal opportunity to make money, and he struck at just the right moment.

We can all remember his father declaring that they heyday of commercial TV was over, and that it was time for the Packers to move out. Slowly but surely media monopolies are disappearing – more due to technological developments than to policy changes. But businesses like the Packer empire thrive in a regulated environment. Policy changes occur frequently in regulated environments and this creates great opportunities to make money. I truly respect and admire Packer’s business acumen.

He even got Rupert Murdoch to join the game and take a share in Fairfax.

Prime Minister and not Minister should have end up with egg on his face
However, it has certainly left the Minister looking like the legendary unclothed emperor. She is putting on a brave face but she must be feeling rather miserable and ill-treated. I believe she will find it impossible to convince the Australian public that these media reforms are in the national interest. Rightly or wrongly she will be labelled as the person who handed over a swag of money to the already wealthy media moguls, while at the same time failing to deliver anything that operated in the interests of the consumers and the voters. I am afraid that she will face a serious political issue with this one. The Prime Minister cleverly manoeuvred himself onto the political sideline of this issue, but it is important to remember that it was his lack of leadership that caused it all.

The Minister certainly started off with the right vision and policy mindset, but she had no prime ministerial support for true reforms. I actually suggested she forget the whole idea of reform, as it no longer had anything to do with the national interest.

It is interesting to note that, on this issue, Rupert Murdoch showed a greater sensitivity to the national interest than our Prime Minister. He at least suggested a true set of reforms, notwithstanding the fact that some of these would damage his business short-term. The overall consequences of Murdoch’s plan would have been much better for Australia, and, in the longer term, for Australian media companies as well.

New Packer media company
But what does the Packer deal actually do for media reform? Very little. It has far more to do with freeing up money to invest in another regulated business that will undergo massive changes – the gambling arena.

However, the Packer shake-up may trigger some other developments. The new media company could move in two directions.

The first option is that it could buy up other ‘old’ media, or parts of it, such as Fairfax, mainly for their valuable content. Short-term there is plenty of life left in the -thanks to the government – heavily shielded, declining market old media, and that’s where the money will be for the next few years. So I expect them to concentrate more on the opportunities in this part of the market (as a result of ownership rules). However, this now needs to be based on a utility model, as the old media need to be run at much lower costs during the impending period of decline.

Because these media are at the end of their lifecycle I stand by my prediction that the level of activity, in relation to new media developments, will remain limited.

The second option would be to turn it into more of a new media company, creating on the one hand a new media utility arm and, on the other, a media-independent content arm that can distribute its products and services in various ways through the utility. Old media with good content are, of course, valuable assets for such a new media company.

I think that the new media company will move in both of these directions, in parallel. The reality is that the old media are, at the same time, the key players in the new media. They will need to jump the S-curve and start generating business models and new revenue streams in the new environment. And the new media company is an excellent vehicle to manage that transformation.

Media Poker
As we have seen in previous shake-ups, the reality will be like a poker game.

All the key players have secured a place at the media poker table. Because of the lack of diversity in the media market they control, between them, dozens of smaller media assets such as content, facilities, programming rights, cinemas, Internet sites, portals, entertainment and film assets, and so on.

All these players have an interest in some of those assets owned by the other parties, and that’s where the action will now take place. It will be a game of musical chairs among the barons; there will be a shake-up, but in the end it will be the same old group that will own all the same old bits and pieces.

However, again remembering previous media reform developments, although some less experienced players (such as, for example, Fairfax, Ten, WAN, Rural Press, Austero, etc) may end up with some short-term money gains, their strategic position in the Australian media market will, as a result of this poker game, be diminished And, let’s face it, there are several players who would probably be more than happy to cash in on the extra value that is suddenly added to their media assets and sell out at such premium prices.

All of this, of course, is not a good outcome for Australia, but it’s the price the country will have to pay for the government’s miserable media policy.

The government was the first one to be forced to throw down their cards – who will be the next?

Paul Budde

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