Television New Zealand is preparing to announce details of a major partnership with NBC Internet's US-based Web portal, Snap.com.
The broadcaster's strategy chief, Simon Aimer, says the company is not ready to make any statements about the Snap.com relationship, but the new portal site has already been soft-launched at tvone.co.nz.
A dot-com name for the new portal was confirmed this week and will be announced along with details of TVNZ's new partnerships.
"Basically we think there's room in the market for a good, comprehensive Web portal offering targeted at New Zealanders, but offering everything," says Aimer.
The structure of TVNZ's New Media group is also changing. The Web and Teletext operations of the group are being split out into a separate unit - likely to have the same name as the new portal - for which the TVNZ board is understood to have approved $6 million in set-up capital. The new unit is already looking for premises outside the TVNZ complex in Hobson Street.
Aimer won't confirm the level of funding but says the unit will have in-house resources for streaming video and other technology and is currently "taking on some pretty talented people to reinforce that".
"The part left behind the intention is to gear it up as an interactive product engine for digital TV. It's got a lot of graphics expertise and also things like captioning, which is embedded information."
Aimer says the current portal site - whose international content is hosted by Snap at one.snap.com - is only an interim measure and its look and feel will be improved to make use "better and easier and friendlier.
"It's obviously a very comprehensive offer now - there's no reason to go to any of the US portals. It also has the high-speed,rich streaming stuff so if you've got a fast box and broadband it's really the place to be."
As revealed by @IDG yesterday, one feature on the way for the portal will be travel services provided by the new travel.co.nz. The domain name onetravel.co.nz has already been registered.
The site also includes onehome.co.nz, which draws on TVNZ's home and gardening shows, and onejobs.co.nz, a recruitment site mounted in partnership with the local online job agency Seek. Snap.com content ranges from directory and search facilities to chat rooms.
Aimer says next year TVNZ will be "driving New Zealanders online and extolling the benefits of connectivity. Which is not," he notes "a service we provide."