Call it serendipity, but Microsoft’s cultivation of online content has come along at a time when important organisations are getting a grip on providing it.
Not everyone is ready to talk — the TAB says its Internet strategy is still commercially sensitive but it will be ready to talk soon, and Xtra will only confirm it is participating — but all appear to regard their channels projects as important blocks in their new media strategies.
National Business Review
The fact that NBR will occupy the top channel button in local versions of IE 4.0, was, admits Graeme Colman, the subject of negotiation. The publisher will be extending the database publishing model established in the likes of its Desktop Reporter personalised news service. “We’ve got the major technology in place, and we’ve got content sources in place,” says Colman.
“We wouldn’t be able to do it the way we’re planning unless we’d done what we have. Everything we’ve done since last year enables us to deliver what we think will be quite unique in the New Zealand market.
“It’s expected that the browser will ship with 220,000 new PCs in the next year. The browser is built into the OS and is on the desktop, so should the user connect to the Net, the browser is part of the operating system. I think that’s the big advantage.”
Colman expects to appeal to dial-up as well as network users. “But we’re not planning to go for the market that wants its palms read. This is a channel for decision-makers.”
NBR is also looking at a PointCast-style screensaver option. Development is being carried out by Clearview.
The New Zealand Herald
“We are the prime information gatherer in New Zealand, so we’re really repositioning the company to be a media company, not just a newspaper,” says Herald IT manager Tim Barrable. “And obviously the Microsoft thing, along with what we’re doing on the Web site side, is important to us.”
The Herald’s service will be based around the lead stories from each section of the paper, “apart from World, where we don’t have the copyright on the Reuters material”.
Barrable says the Herald’s channel service will be progressively localised to take advantage of news from Wilson and Horton’s regional papers. No plans yet exist to rope in the W&H-owned Radio Network, but “I’m sure there will be some synergy”.
The Herald’s alliance with Xtra will be developed along a separate track, says Barrable. “As to how it will work, we’re still in the midst of discussions. But, primarily, we’re looking at launching a Herald site which will be hosted by Xtra and will be primarily advertising and classified--focused. Essentially, we want to be a prime Web news and advertising provider.”
Television New Zealand
Expect the TVNZ button to be labelled something else, perhaps “NZTV”, in line with the broadcaster’s new policy of promoting individual brands within the corporation. It will lead to separate channels for TV1, TV2 and MTV.
Most of the content will be prepared by the new TVNZ Online department, which is based on the old Teletext organistion and covers Teletext, Internet publishing and projects such as the video wall at Auckland Airport.
TVNZ Online executive producer John Marks says exactly what will be delivered is still being decided, “ but it’s no secret that news and sport tend to be of the biggest interest on the Net at the moment — closely followed by entertainment. Those three are pretty vital components of a TV channel anyway.
“Not everything is going to happen on Day One, but the potential certainly exists to transfer anything we’re doing on Teletext or the Web site to the Microsoft environment.”
Multimedia content is a certainty, says Marks. “On our Web site now we’re putting up as much video as anyone else in the world — five or six QuickTime movies a day.”