Effective midnight 10 April, CUE Television will move to a full time production operation and forfeit their broadcast platform in order to divert resources to a new venture.
After nearly 19 years as a broadcaster, first at a regional level, then nationally from 2003, it was not a step taken lightly by Managing Director Tom Conroy. “While we had a strong band of airtime clients from outside the province seeking to access the Auckland market in particular, the Southland business sector sent out a clear message they didn’t see the same value, therefore no transmission model based in Invercargill could work, without that local support.”
Since the signalled exit of the SIT2LRN programming, CUE has canvassed the local market to find clients keen take advantage of CUE’s access to an audience of 2.6 million via the Freeview and SKY platforms, but no major players were forthcoming. “Even an organisation like Venture Southland, whose mandate is to promote the south, could not see value in getting in front of that many eyes, even for a modest level of spend.”
CUE will now focus on the production aspect of the business where success has been enjoyed in recent years with shows like Gourmet Safari (TVNZ) and University Challenge (Prime) boosting the station as an independent production house of high repute.
Aside from making shows for other stations to broadcast, CUE has corporate clients to service with productions bound for the web. The company will continue to manage the SIT Centrestage Theatre and run the TicketDirect box office.
While Conroy was sorry to cut the broadcast arm adrift, he is proud of the station’s achievements: telling Southland’s stories to the rest of the country, raising $820,000 in a telethon for the MRI Scanner, covering international sporting events and breaking the world record for a television interview duration among the many highlights.
“It’s important to acknowledge the Southern Institute of Technology with whom the station worked closely to ensure the success of the SIT2LRN programme that also enabled CUE to get so much traction. The ICC were another to make great use of this media through their City Talk show that remains the only regular interaction on TV between council and ratepayers in the country.”
“Also our national broadcast platform providers deserve plenty of credit, starting with SKY TV, Freeview and Kordia, all of whom helped in various ways to keep us in the game and who collectively regret the departure, though understand that the production model is our best option. NZ On Air is another party worthy of an honourable mention, helping to keep South Today at the forefront of our programming”.
There’s to be no drawn-out farewells or reminiscing on the past as Conroy thinks it important to quickly focus on the way forward and points out this is a change of direction not a closure situation. “All good things come to an end and CUE TV as a broadcaster was a good thing”.