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Teletext loses internet battle, closing early next year

14 Dec 12

Teletext will close next year after losing its battle with obsolete teletext technology and the widespread use of the internet as a superior alternative.

Operated by TVNZ for nearly 30 years, the service will close on April 2 with television captioning expected to avoid the cull and continue unchanged.

After beginning in 1984, Teletext was originally set-up help New Zealand’s deaf community get improved access to news and information, with funds raised in the 1981 Telethon helping pay for the start-up.

But the information services carried on Teletext have been overshadowed by the internet, as well as breakdowns and repairs caused by ageing technology.

TVNZ Chief Executive Kevin Kenrick says TVNZ has hung on to Teletext as long as it could for the sake of the relatively small number of people who are regular users, but Teletext services have been closing around the globe for some time.

“We just don’t have the resources to maintain a fading service at the level of professionalism that we would want, particularly as most of the information is duplicated on our own or others’ websites," he says.

“We understand that Teletext has been an important source of information in its day, and during the next few months we’ll be working with the groups who have a special interest in this to help transition people to alternative sources of news and information."

The service will continue to run until April 2, but from early in the New Year users will be offered detail on how to find alternative sources for the information carried on each of the Teletext pages.

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