TVNZ OnDemand wins big at the Netguide Web Awards

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TVNZ OnDemand took out two major awards at last night’s ESET Netguide Web Awards.

The channel was crowned Best Entertainment site for the second year running, as well as Best Site for Families, proving TVNZ OnDemand is very much the people’s choice, as the winners were decided by a public vote of 207,000 people.

TVNZ’s Head of Digital Media, Thor Bayer says, “We are thrilled with this fantastic result, especially when we were nominated against strong finalists such as Stuff, skygo and TV3.”

TVNZ OnDemand has reached record streams in 2014, with October being the highest month yet.

The month finished with 6.3 million streams with people watching across mobiles, TVs, laptops and tablets – up 10% from 5.76 million streams in September and up 34% from the same month last year.

“New Zealanders want to be able to watch their favourite shows when and how it suits them, which is why we continue to grow OnDemand.” Bayer says.

2014 has seen a stunning line-up of new and returning shows premiering OnDemand. Comedies Black-ish, Two And A Half Men, Orange Is The New Black and fan favourite dramas, Constantine, Revenge, Grey’s Anatomy, The Vampire Diaries and The 100 were fast-tracked exclusively for online.

“Our fast-tracked, international premieres enable Kiwi audiences to be part of a global conversation in real time, as well as never missing this country’s favourite shows such as Shortland Street, The Big Bang Theory and ONE News,” Bayer adds.

This summer, TVNZ OnDemand will also deliver exclusive kids’ content including Geronimo Stilton, Barbie: Life In A Dream House, My Little Pony, SheZow, Bernard, Suckers and Transformers Rescue Box, further cementing the channel’s appeal to family audiences.

TVNZ OnDemand will continue the huge success of 2014 with even more premiere content, and a brand new look and user experience to debut in early 2015.

Mai and George to expand plus a new nationwide station after radio spectrum auction

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MediaWorks will turn George FM into a nationwide radio brand, extend Mai FM’s footprint into 12 markets, and launch a new nationwide radio station in 2015 after securing 27 radio spectrum licences in today’s Radio Spectrum auction.

MediaWorks also retained a number of key strategic frequencies for its other radio brands in the auction, which was run by The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The licences last until 2031.

MediaWorks Group CEO, Mark Weldon says the result is a game changer for the commercial radio market.

“There are three key planks to our growth strategy. Securing these frequencies means George FM will be broadcast in Wellington, Palmerston North and Dunedin as well as Auckland. Mai FM will become the only nationwide Hip Hop and R&B radio station.

“We have acquired a new National radio network, and will launch a new station on those frequencies in 2015.”

MediaWorks invested $7.4 million to acquire the 27 frequencies. The auction also saw a record price paid for a single frequency; NZME paid $7.8 million to retain one of the frequencies it currently broadcasts on in Christchurch.

MediaWorks Radio CEO Wendy Palmer says: “This is a spectacular result, and enables us to further extend the reach of our radio brands for the benefit of both listeners and advertisers.

“I want to acknowledge the excellent job done by the project team who worked together seamlessly across the business to deliver a winning outcome.”

Air New Zealand announces December move to new LAX home

Star Alliance lounge in LAX - Overview internal shot

Air New Zealand customers will soon enjoy a more seamless experience in Los Angeles when the airline moves its airport operations to the newly refurbished Tom Bradley International Terminal on 3 December.

The move will provide the airline’s customers with better connectivity to ports within the US and all the benefits of a newer terminal including faster processing, enhanced transit experience, a state-of-the-art lounge and more than 150,000 square feet of retail and dining space in the Great Hall.

Air New Zealand General Manager Customer Experience Carrie Hurihanganui says the move is an exciting new chapter for the airline which has been operating to Los Angeles from Auckland for almost 50 years.

“We’re incredibly excited about our upcoming move to the Tom Bradley International Terminal and what it will mean for our customers. Enhancing the customer experience at all points of the customer journey continues to be a key priority and this move goes a long way to improving the ground experience at what is one of our busiest offshore ports.”

In another added benefit, transiting customers will no longer need to remain in a dedicated transit facility and will instead be able to access the wider terminal while waiting for connecting flights.

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Eligible customers will also have access to the Star Alliance Los Angeles Lounge which Air New Zealand manages on behalf of Star Alliance. The 18,000 square foot lounge opened in 2013 and features an open air terrace with panoramic views of the northern runway towards the Hollywood Hills and dedicated experience zones to cater to differing customer needs such as rest or business.

The terminal move is another investment the airline is making in its North American operations.

Air New Zealand currently operates double daily services between Auckland and Los Angeles as well as a daily service between Auckland and London, all using Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. The airline has recently increased capacity on the Auckland – Los Angeles route over the upcoming 2015 Northern Summer by 20 percent with three additional weekly services.

The airline also recently took delivery of two additional Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to operate its Auckland – San Francisco route and has embarked on a programme to refurbish its Boeing 777-200 fleet which operate services to Vancouver.

The airline’s first service to Tom Bradley International Terminal will be NZ6 which is expected to touch down in LA at 10.30am on Wednesday, 3 December 2014.

Certifiably excellent! The A350 XWB has received type certification

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In just over 14 months Airbus executed one of the toughest, most intense test programmes ever developed and it was rewarded for its efforts when, on 30 September, the A350-900 received EASA Type Certification, paving the way for commercial launch with Qatar Airways.

Didier Evrard, head of the A350 XWB programme, said, “This is a great moment for Airbus employees and our risk-sharing partners around the world. We should be very proud! The A350 XWB flew on time, was certified on time and will be delivered on time. It’s an impressive scorecard for a brand-new aircraft.

“There are challenges and excitement ahead for sure. But today, the A350 XWB is ready to fly the nest. As we look forward to entry into service, I want to thank you all for your contribution to our Xtra special journey.”

The A350-900’s EASA and FAA type certificates are one of the year’s biggest milestones for Airbus. Why? Because certification is recognition of our expertise in aircraft design and our mastery of new technology. Because it recognises the engagement of employees, risk-sharing partners and suppliers who have worked hand in hand during six years of development. And because with it, the A350 XWB is now formally cleared for take-off with launch customer Qatar Airways and beyond.

Fourteen and a half months after being introduced to the world at first flight, the A350-900 is ready for entry into service. Preparation for type certification actually began when the A350 XWB was launched in 2007. It started with an application letter sent to the two certifying bodies: the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

In addition to type certification, EASA has also granted the A350-900 unlimited Extended Twin Operations Performance Standards (ETOPS), meaning the aircraft can fly the most direct routes on the world’s longest, remotest flights without limitations (at the time of going to press, FAA ETOPS certification had yet to be confirmed.) Finally, A350 XWB and A330 operators will benefit from Common Type Rating, extending commonality between Airbus aircraft families.

CHECK OUT DAN NEWS’ REPORT FROM ON BOARD THE A350 HERE.

Dan News about to board the A350
Dan News about to board the A350

The regulatory approval means that A330-qualified pilots can begin preparations to take the A350 XWB’s controls by undergoing ‘differences training’ only.

“Airbus and the authorities have engaged through every development stage,” says Jean-Claude Nanche, A350 XWB chief airworthiness engineer. Test aircraft MSN001 was cleared for its first flight by Airbus under direct delegation from the certifiers. It was a first, and Jean-Claude signed the Flight Permit. “Trust and professionalism bind us,” he stresses.

The full-time certification team was highly motivated by the A350 XWB’s high level of maturity. “We all wanted to get things done on time and there was pride in being so closely involved in such a prestigious programme,” Jean-Claude adds.

You can read more about the amazing A350 here.

Dan News checked out the A350. Watch below:

New line up for The Rock and The Sound for 2015

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MediaWorks is refreshing its announcer line-ups for popular radio brands The Rock and The Sound. The changes involve the breakfast and daytime shows on both stations, and will further strengthen MediaWorks’ dominance in commercial radio.

The Sound has been one of MediaWorks’ fastest growing radio brands since it launched in 2012, winning Station of the Year the following year. In 2015 it will be boosted by the addition of two major broadcasting stars.

Multi-award winning announcer Leah Panapa will move from The Rock to join Mark McCarron and Geoff Bryan as co-host of The Sound breakfast show; and Tracey Donaldson will become the new host of The Sound workday show after 14 years of hosting the popular No Repeat Workdays on The Rock.

The refreshed line-up for The Rock sees cricket legend and broadcaster Simon Doull re-joining the station’s Morning Rumble breakfast show, in place of Leah Panapa. Doull returns to The Rock after a six year absence, during which he worked with the Indian Premiere League and led Sky Sport’s cricket commentary team. Also new to the Morning Rumble is Jennifer Bainbridge (currently host of The Sound workday) as newsreader.

Group Content Director – Music for MediaWorks Radio, Leon Wratt says: “We have fantastic depth and breadth of talent, and these changes will strengthen both radio brands.

“On The Rock, the refreshed Morning Rumble will sit alongside our new Jono & Ben Drive show, while The Sound changes represent a significant opportunity for us to further extend our market position with Leah and Tracey, two of our most talented broadcasters who will bring great value to the station.

“Welcome back, of course, to Doully, and to Jen who joins The Rock team in the New Year.”

The Rock is the #1 radio station for men aged 10 and over,* while The Sound is the #1 station for 35-59 year-olds.*

Leah Panapa has been with The Rock for 14 years. She says: “I’m very proud of The Rock and to have been part of The Morning Rumble for over a decade! It is pretty hard to get up every morning at a sparrows fart, and then (try) and be entertaining, and I think we have achieved that.

“I am now really excited (not about the getting up early part… again) to join The Sound with Mark McCarron and Geoff Bryan. The Sound team are passionate and driven and has a clear objective of where they want to go, and I truly believe this is the beginning of something great!”

Tracey Donaldson says: “After 14 years I made the decision to make a change, and am so excited to have the opportunity to stay within MediaWorks while indulging my love of music radio. I’m proud to be leaving on a high, having taken the Workday to #1 nationwide,^ and to be working alongside my former Rock colleagues Leah Panapa and Robert Taylor at The Sound is the icing on the cake.”

MediaWorks is recruiting for a new host for The Rock workday (10am-3pm) show.

TNS New Zealand Commercial Survey 2-2014
*National Station Share (%), All 10+, Mon-Sun 12mn-12mn
**National Station Share (%), All 35-59, Mon-Sun 12mn-12mn
^National Station Share (%), All 10+, Mon-Fri 10am-3pm

The Sound 2015
Breakfast – Mark McCarron, Leah Panapa, Geoff Bryan
Workday – Tracey Donaldson
Drive – Robert Taylor
Nights – Mark Smith

The Rock 2015
Breakfast – Roger Farrelly, Bryce Casey, Simon Doull, Jen Bainbridge
Workday – TBC
Drive – Jono Pryor, Ben Boyce
Nights – Mike Garvey