AUKLAND: New Zealand's state-owned TV network Television New Zealand is currently in a toe-to-toe fistfest with Canadian-owned CanWest MediaWorksNZ for numero uno position in the nation's TV ad market.

The combatants, however, have adopted diametrically opposed tactics. CanWest's TV3 will raise its prime time ad rates by an average of 4% in Q1 2007; while TVNZ's TV One will slash prime time rates by an average of 14% for same period.

The latter's sister channel TV2, which is faring better in the ratings than its sibling, will shave average rates by just 1% for the period.

According to local media buyers, Canwest's modest increase and TVNZ's decreases reflect uncertainty as how the nation's economy will perform in the coming months.

As Colenso BBDO media director Peter Myles puts it: "To go in soft in terms of increase, rather than being more aggressive on it, is probably pretty smart, given that we are all guessing what [first-quarter] demand is going to be."

Data sourced from The New Zealand Herald; additional content by WARC staff