While the launch of Netflix took flight in New Zealand this week, so too did the announcement of FreeviewPlus, a smarter way to watch TV in Kiwi homes, which includes Māori programming.
Freeview started in May 2007, pushing New Zealand viewers away from analogue television into the digital age.
FreeviewPlus is launching mid-2015, thanks to an extended partnership between TVNZ, Mediaworks and Māori Television.
What it will do, is marry broadcast television with on-demand content allowing viewers to watch catch-up and premiere shows on their TV rather than other connected devices.
Sam Irvine, General Manager at Freeview, believes FreeviewPlus signals the most important advance in free-to-air television since the introduction of digitalTV in 2007.
He says, "Online viewing and on-demand are becoming increasingly popular alongside the continued strength of traditional live viewing. So bringing live TV and on-demand together to the big screen is a natural next step in Freeview's innovation path as we look to continuously improve the free-to-air TV viewing experience in New Zealand."
Netflix, Neon, Lightbox, FreeviewPlus - what does it all mean for Māori programmes?
Basically, for New Zealanders, FreeviewPlus is a free service, however to access the on-demand content, you will need an internet connection. (See below)
Netflix, Neon and Lightbox work based on paid monthly subscriptions - none of these providers will have Māori television programming available on-demand, where FreeviewPlus will.
Māori Television CEO, Paora Maxwell, says he’s excited to be a part of improving New Zealand audiences’ viewing experience.
“FreeviewPlus will allow easy access to the wealth of programmes we have available on our two traditional channels, combined with our extensive catalogue of on-demand content, now all available to them in one place, on their TV screen.”
The development of FreeviewPlus is in its final stage of testing, but looks to provide over 600 on-demand shows and movies once launched.