BBC Online has joined the Microsoft joint venture NineMSN among Internet partnership options being examined by Television New Zealand.
Representatives of the BBC, including BBC Online staff, have been in Auckland this week for talks with TVNZ. The British government last month confirmed BBC Online, the broadcaster's Internet arm, as a core publicly funded service, alongside television and radio.
The corporation said its online service would now begin to move from the pilot stage towards its development as the "third medium" of broadcasting.
TV One general manager Shaun Brown also announced yesterday that the channel would ramp up its use of BBC World programming, describing it as "entirely consistent with the TV One commitment to news, current affairs and information programmes."
TVNZ's well-developed Internet sports content, which includes partnerships with the national governing bodies of rugby, netball and cricket, and rights to the America's Cup series, would in turn be attractive to the BBC.
The BBC is also developing expertise in digital television, a direction TVNZ management has apparently begun to embrace with some enthusiasm.
If the bbc.co.nz domain name is to be used, it will have to wait until January 1, 1999. The name was relinquished by the former operators of BBC World Service radio, and does not come out of its 60-day waiting period until that date - or, more likely, the next working day.