TVNZ shutters loss-making youth net

New Zealand public broadcaster is closing its loss-making youth network TVNZ U after two years.

The channel has struggled to turn a profit since launching in March 2011 and TVNZ CEO Kevin Kenrick today confirmed it would close on August 31 and be replaced with a time-shifted version of TV2.

“Despite our best efforts, we’ve not been able to make it work financially,” he said.

“As it is, the channel is a very lean operation and no significant savings can be made to address the shortfall. The team who worked on U have done a tremendous job… [a]nd we’ve picked up some valuable expertise along the way, particularly in the way we use live TV and social media to connect with audiences.”

A consultation process for affected staff is underway.

The TV2+1 service will launch on September 1. This will trigger changes to the New Zealand EPG, which will be announced next month.

“The plus one version will give TV2 viewers another chance to watch their favourite programmes on the country’s most commercially successful channel,” said Kenrick.

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