Teletext service to close

The Teletext magazine service operated by TVNZ for nearly 30 years will close on April 2 next year –its time brought to an end by obsolete teletext technology and the widespread use of the internet as a superior alternative.

However television captioning – a service available through Teletext and used extensively by the hearing impaired community – will continue unchanged.

The Teletext service began in 1984, originally to help New Zealand’s deaf community get improved access to news and information. Funds raised in the 1981 Telethon helped pay to get it started.

Over the last few years, the information services carried on the Teletext magazine have been overshadowed by the explosion of information available on the internet. As well, TVNZ has been struggling with breakdowns and repairs caused by ageing technology.

TVNZ Chief Executive Kevin Kenrick says TVNZ has hung on to Teletext as long as it could for the sake of the relatively small number of people who are regular users, but Teletext services have been closing around the globe for some time.

“We just don’t have the resources to maintain a fading service at the level of professionalism that we would want, particularly as most of the information is duplicated on our own or others’ websites.

“We understand that Teletext has been an important source of information in its day, and during the next few months we’ll be working with the groups who have a special interest in this to help transition people to alternative sources of news and information,” Mr Kenrick says.

The service will continue to run until April 2, but from early in the New Year users will be offered detail on how to find alternative sources for the information carried on each of the Teletext pages.