4 Sep 2008

TVNZ not expecting profit from expensive Olympics

8:37 pm on 4 September 2008

TVNZ does not expect to make a profit from its coverage of the Beijing Olympics, despite attracting record numbers of viewers.

The state broadcaster says 3.5 million people tuned in to watch the Games on TV One in August.

Television New Zealand chief executive Rick Ellis says the coverage was expensive and he does not expect the company to make a profit from it.

Mr Ellis says the complexity of the Beijing Olympics means it is no longer an analogue service but a digital service in high definition, delivered to multiple channels as well as online, adding to the cost.

"At the end of the day, we've always considered our investment in these major events such as the Olympics as part of our responsibility as New Zealand's public broadcaster."

Mr Ellis says TVNZ has a staff team covering the Paralympics Games in Beijing and will tally the cost of the Olympics coverage when they return.

He expects to know how much it all cost by the end of this year.

Thirty athletes will represent New Zealand at the Paralympics from 6-17 September, hoping to emulate the success of the Athens 2004 squad, which returned home with a swag of 10 medals.

TVNZ has recovered from a loss in 2007 to make $19.4 million in the year to June.