applications were called for a third television channel
in New Zealand. Many private enterprise applications were
received, including the TV3 Consortium, which was formed
out of four separate regional channels to apply for the
In August 1987, the Broadcasting Tribunal announced that
TV3 had won the licence, with a proposal for a regional
In October 1987, the stock market crashed, delaying TV3
launch. However, it was finally launched on 26 November
1989 as a single national network, with 13 transmitters
around New Zealand, covering 67% of the country instead
of the proposed regional coverage. TV3 was the first
privatly owned television channel, breaking the
government owned monopoly.
TV3 went into receivership on 2 May 1990, however still
continued to broadcast under the control of the receiver,
and with continued support from Westpac Bank, the major
creditor. A worldwide search was undertaken to find an
operating partner. Canadian owned CanWest, bought 20% of
TV3 and secured a management agreement to operate the
network in 1991. CanWest retargeted the network to
attract the 18 to 49 year old age group. This was
successful, as TV3 was soon operating profitably.
In 1996 CanWest started planning a fourth New Zealand
network, called TV4.
In April 1997, CanWest bought Westpac's shares in TV3 and
increased CanWest's shareholdings to 68%. TV3 installed a
further 25 transmitters increasing coverage to 97%. In
June 1997, TV4 was launched by CanWest as a complementary
broadcaster to TV3. In November 1997 CanWest increased
it's stake in TV3 to 100%.
In 1999, TV3 completed a deal with SKY Television to make
it the leading free-to-air sports broadcaster.
On 1 January 2000, TV3 began transmission on SKY's
digital platform. TV3 currently reaches 98% of New