Press Release – Stratos
Stratos Television, the free-to-air, nationwide broadcaster is switching off after four years of serving up real public service broadcasting to a growing number of New Zealanders.December 23 2011
Plug pulled on Stratos Television
Stratos Television, the free-to-air, nationwide broadcaster is switching off after four years of serving up real public service broadcasting to a growing number of New Zealanders.
The channel, which has provided a different window on the world from other channels through the likes of Al Jazeera news in English, is no longer financially viable.
Co-founder and chief executive Jim Blackman says Stratos has survived four years because the people behind it have 15 years experience of delivering great television at low cost and without having the advantage of access to taxpayer dollars.
“We simply have not had the support we were seeking – despite a growing audience of more than one million and reaching the stage where AC Nielsen were able to include us in the TARPS audience ratings,” he says.
“It is hugely disappointing because New Zealand is a country where 25% of the population are new New Zealanders and providing a window to the world helps develop understanding in our communities.
“Stratos was founded on the principles of recognised public broadcasting. We could have also filled the gap the proposed closure of TVNZ7 will create, but after four years of proving ourselves, we are no closer to being given the opportunity. Auckland viewers in particular, where the demographic is rapidly changing to include more Polynesian and Asian peoples, will miss Stratos.”
Stratos TV has screened free-to-air on Freeview Digital Channel 21, on Sky Channel 89 and TelstraClear Channel 089.
It is a sister channel to Triangle Television, screens similar programming across Auckland on UHF channel 41.
Apart from the hugely popular Al Jazeera news, Stratos served up series like the worldwide top-rating “Jewel in the Palace”, a Korean drama about palace life and traditional cuisine, and the international talent quest Eurovision that discovered the likes of ABBA. Its news and current affairs programmes, screened in both English and mother tongues, has covered more than a dozen countries.
Stratos had international partnerships with the likes of DW-TV, France 24, Euro News in Europe, Voice of America, Bloomberg, Australia Network and CCTV, CQTV, NHK and YTN in Asia.
Blackman says his team studied the Australian SBS model and set out to “provide regional, multilingual and multicultural television services that informed, educated and entertained all New Zealanders and reflected the diversity of New Zealand’s regional and multicultural society”.
No further statements will be made at this time.
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