Maori TV draws New Zealand coin

Funding comes on top of $16 million subsidy

The state-owned ethnic Maori Television web picked up the bulk of new coin when the Kiwi government announced its annual budget Thursday.

Funding comes on top of a $16 million subsidy for new digital, free-to-air platform  Freeview and $60 million over six years for two TVNZ digital channels.

But the fledgling Maori Televsion network has been given $17.4 million over four years for digital television and content.

Chief executive Jim Mather said Maori Television would commit the increased funding to its digital strategy and improved programming.

Channel is funded by taxpayer grants and has an obligations to foster the Maori language.

It has drawn applause and critical aclaim for fresh and innovative general-interest programming on tiny budgets, but viewing numbers have remained tiny.

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