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by Michael Blackburn

Television New Zealand is a State Owned Enterprise (owned by the NZ Government,
but responsible to the Minister of Broadcasting via its own Board of Directors).
It operates two VHF analogue channels (TV One and TV2), which collectively
dominate the market place with approximately 61% market share.

Teletext in New Zealand has been neglected for a number of years now, in favour of TVNZ's
web site However, the sale of Teletext capable TV sets continues to grow

Teletext was first introduced to New Zealand in 1984. The money for equipment was partly raised from a nationwide Telethon (a 24 hour long appeal held on Television to raise money for a specific charity), which benefited the New Zealand Deaf Association.

Initially Teletext provided news, sports weather and television programme listings, however the service has expanded to provide a wide variety of News and Information services to both the public and commercial users, including more than 130 hours a week of captioned television programs.

Currently, Teletext has around 840,000 unique weekly viewers, which rivals the readership of New Zealandís leading magazine (the TV guide has a weekly circulation of around 220,000 copies and 860,000 readers).

Considering that New Zealand has a total population of just 3.8 million people (1.2 million households), Teletext has a strong penetration and regular user base. The sale and penetration of Teletext capable television sets continues to grow, and in 2001 there were 111,000 Teletext TV sets sold (which represents more than 70% of all TV sets sold across the country). Many of these sets now include advanced decoders with cached memory allowing for instantaneous display of requested pages.

Recently, the technical team at TVNZ has upgraded the delivery platform for Teletext from the original PDP 11 system to a new IP platform utalising STTML (Simple Teletext Markup Language). This allows integration between information providers (like TVNZ News department and Air New Zealand) and Teletext for the automatic updating of information. This provides faster, simpler access to the latest information as well as cost savings for both Teletext and information providers.

Teletext continues to play an integral role on the broadcast strategy of TVNZ, and will be used as a springboard for the introduction of Digital Text services as the world moves to iTV (Interactive Television) through Digital Broadcast (whether terrestrial or satellite).

Main Index

This screen shot shows the Main Index page of TVNZís Teletext service.

The  page features 4 headlines (international news, national news, business and sport)

The centre section of the page gives reference to the main indexes and features of Teletext

At the bottom of the page are two advertising banners, which give reference to the page number where the Advertisers information can be found.

All Teletext pages feature Fastext keys giving links to related pages.

National News Index

This page features up to 15 current news articles relating to current news and events that are happening around New Zealand (International News Index is on Page 101)

TVNZ is New Zealandís leading Television provider, and has extensive News resources that are provided to Teletext

The bottom of the page features an Advertising Banner

Sports News Index

Teletext currently offers 17 pages of Sports News, which is provided by TVNZís worldwide network of contacts. This information is updated throughout the day.

In addition to Sports news, Teletext provides a Database of Information and Sporting Statistics on more than 20 different International Sporting Codes. This information is available on Page 350.

International News article

Television New Zealand (through its own resources and other international sources) is the countryís leading broadcaster of International and National News.

Teletext provides around 60 pages of the most up to date International, National, and Business News, and Sports articles, which are updated continuously throughout the day.

Sports database index

New Zealand is a nation of sports fanatics, and Teletext provides the latest information on a huge variety of sporting codes from across the world.

The sports database provides more than 100 pages of information and statistics from the English Soccer League, American NFL and NBL, Formula 1, WRC, Louis Vitton and Americas Cup Sailing, International Cricket and Rugby, just to mention a few.

Flight Arrivals and Departures

This screen shot shows a Page of International Aircraft Arrivals into Auckland Airport on TVNZís Teletext service

Air New Zealand is this countryís principle airline. They provide both Domestic and International flights and operate from all key airports.

Air NZ has been a service provider to Teletext for more than 10 years. Not only is the information available on Teletext a valuable public service, it is also used by Air NZ as the principle information source at a number of regional airports.

Because the VHF broadcast signal provided by TVNZ reaches more than 99.7% of geographical locations across New Zealand, Teletext has cost advantages of providing this type of information to remote locations that would be too expensive to reach with an IP connection.

This information is updated automatically to Teletext directly from Air NZís database every 15 minutes.

Alphabetical Index

Because there is such a vast collection of information and services available on Teletext, page 500 provides a complete and comprehensive index to viewers.

Partners 555 (Dating and Contacts Service)

Partners, is a New Zealand wide Dating and Connection service that use Teletext to provide information on people looking for Love or Companionship. Currently this service has more than 100 contacts. The information is updated weekly.

Captions (P801)

These two screen shots are examples of Captions available on TVNZís Teletext service.

There are more than 400,000 Deaf and Hearing impaired people in New Zealand, and Teletext Captions are an essential service.

Our Captioning department provides subtitles for more than 150 weekly Television programs (across 3 channels), including Movies and Television Commercials. This equates to around 130 hours of programming each week.

Teletext has been providing Captions for Live News broadcasts for more than 5 years now and despite the obvious difficulties associated with this are currently investigating the possibility of extending this service to other live broadcasts including live Talk shows and Sports Broadcasts.

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