Schoolboy cracks TVNZ’s web trial for ‘on-demand’ TV

by Kyle

5:00AM Wednesday March 07, 2007
By Martha McKenzie-Minifie | NZ Herald
Link to source »

TVNZ has been embarrassed by a teenager who accessed a trial version of its on-demand television website and posted details on the internet.

Kyle Wadsworth, 14, who writes online as Tui, typed “on demand” while searching the state broadcaster’s main website. He registered on Saturday night , downloaded shows and wrote about it on TV watchers’ website Throng.

The Taranaki schoolboy, who works part-time in a fish and chip shop, also posted screen grabs.

It was suggested that TVNZ had password-protected the website by Monday morning but spokeswoman Megan Richards said the website was only set up for the weekend.

She said Kyle’s access was unplanned but no harm was done.

His post had been viewed more than 1300 times by yesterday.

“Congrats Tui, I’m very impressed,” wrote a blogger known as TV Queen. “LOL [laugh out loud] TVNZ can’t get their act together enough to prevent this sort of episode.”

TVNZ initially planned to launch the on-demand website on March 1 but it is now expected to go live later this month.

The online portal will sell episodes of selected shows for $2 for a half-hour, make some archive material available and offer certain programmes, including One News, free.

TVNZ chief executive Rick Ellis has said the website answers the changing demands of viewers who want to watch television at a time that suits them.

Kyle described the site as “cool” but said downsides included shows expiring seven days after purchase and limits for Apple Mac computers.

He listed shows in the “classics” area as Radio with Pictures (1982), an NZBC news clip on the Wahine disaster (1968) and To Live in the City (1967).

Throng co-founder Rachel Cunliffe said the security lapse was embarrassing for TVNZ but the extra publicity might help.

“Normally people are so careful about security and they put passwords on and they make sure that only people within the organisation can see it.

“But I think in this case maybe they thought no one would guess it.”

Media commentator Russell Brown wondered on his Public Address blog if the leak was a marketing stunt: “But they couldn’t be that hip. Could they?”

Ms Richards said Mac users would be able to view streamed material, 80 per cent of content, at launch time and more later.