Maori Television looking to secure free-to-air rights for Rugby World Cup 2011.

Maori Television have recently been in the media where it has been announced they are making an agressive bid for the Maori Television looking to secure free-to-air rights for the Rugby World Cup 2011. This is the response today from them;

Maori Television provides this media statement in response to a number of queries today regarding its bid for the exclusive free-to-air broadcasting rights for Rugby World Cup 2011.

Maori Television Chief Executive Jim Mather said the bid is based on a sound, robust business plan which achieves a number of broadcasting and business objectives.

Winning the free-to-air rights represents a unique opportunity to deliver programming that goes to the heart of our nation, elevates the status of Maori Television in the minds of all New Zealanders, and delivers language and culture to the widest audience possible. Mr Mather said Maori Television expects to significantly increase and retain new audience as a result of the RWC broadcast.

It is also a major opportunity to demonstrate Maori success, development, leadership and pride. It provides a unique platform to promote Maori development, business and tourism, and to ensure that the New Zealand culture is reflected throughout the RWC tournament.

Key points regarding Maori Television’s bid are:

Audience Reach:

  • Maori Television is available to 90% of the population via UHF Analogue and 100% of the country via Satellite.
  • Maori Television is available to all New Zealanders via the Freeview network. The Freeview network launched in 2007 and is a Government initiative that will replace the analogue network (by 2012 or thereabouts) as the transmission provider for free-to-air television.
  • Maori Television is available via Sky Television.


  • Maori Television has developed its bid and initial planning in consultation with experienced external sports production personnel who have previous major international sports experience across Olympics, Commonwealth Games and previous Rugby World Cups. It is their view that Maori Television has the necessary expertise to produce this tournament in a unique and exceptional way. It should be noted that Maori Television is currently producing as much sport each year as any other free-to-air broadcaster.
  • From the outset it has been Maori Television’s intention, should it win the bid, to utilise Maori Television staff working alongside highly experienced external contractors whose expertise lies in live, international-level sports broadcasting.
  • Maori Television cannot confirm who commentators might be because it would be inappropriate to do so until such time as a bid was successful. However, the intention is to utilise our own internal personnel and the best available external commentary expertise. We are confident that we can assemble a quality commentary team.
  • Maori Television is recognised for the quality of its local programming, which is often described as the ‘real New Zealand’. Maori Television is adept at broadcasting unique, attractive programming that is about and for New Zealanders.

Maori Language:

  • All RWC game broadcasts will include between 5-10% Maori language. The broadcasts will be similar, in terms of Maori language content, to the current NZ Breakers broadcasts on Maori Television. Much of the language content will be aimed at teaching New Zealanders simple Maori words and phrases and encouraging the use of the Maori language. Media reports that the broadcasts are to be in 100% Maori language are completely incorrect.


  • Should Maori Television win the bid, all games that are available for live broadcast will be transmitted on the Maori Television channel. These games will comprise 5-10% Maori language.
  • A second commentary, in 100% Maori language, will be simulcast on the Te Reo channel.

Shared Broadcasts:

  • Should Maori Television win the bid we will be open to considering sub-licensing some games to other broadcasters. However, any sub-licensing arrangement is at the discretion and approval of the IRB, and would be subject to commercial terms and conditions that are suitable to Maori Television.
  • Maori Television has requested of the IRB that its bid be modified to include the right to sub-license.

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