EMTV spreads its wings


The global media revolution has arrived in Papua New Guinea, with local television company EMTV transforming from a traditional broadcaster into one in step with the digital age.


For business leaders based in Papua New Guinea, EMTV’s two business-focused programs, Resources PNG and Business PNG have become compulsory viewing—arguably because sooner or later most of them are enticed on air for an interview.

The two programs, launched in January 2012 and broadcast in primetime, have put business front and centre in PNG and are the brainchildren of EMTV’s Chief Executive Officer Bhanu Sud (formerly of Swisscom, Vodafone, Logica and Steamships), who has driven the development of the broadcaster’s local business coverage since taking over in May 2011.

Local content

EMTV's Bhanu Sud

EMTV’s Bhanu Sud

‘It’s all about compelling local content,’ Sud tells Business Advantage PNG. ‘We have launched nine new local programs in the last 12 months, and we have plans for additional local programs over the coming year.’

EMTV’s current schedule includes a full hour of local news and current affairs each night, kids programming, and new seasons of local singing staples like Digicel Stars, PNG’s national talent contest. Around these programs are selected imports from American and British studios and, of course, all of Australia’s National Rugby League.

‘It’s a point of pride for us here at EMTV because we’re the only free-to-air channel in the world that’s licenced to show all NRL matches; it doesn’t even happen in Australia,’ says Sud.

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Strong profits, new shareholder

This balance of local and overseas programming has been profitable for EMTV’s owner, Media Niugini Limited (MNL), itself a subsidiary of South Pacific Stock Exchange-listed Fiji Television Limited.

According to Sud, the PNG business operations contribute substantially towards group profits for Fiji Television. Fijian Holdings Ltd, Fiji’s largest investment fund, recently acquired a 56.8% share in Fiji Television.

Expansion plans

With MNL’s cash reserves and business ratios in good order, the company is now set on a bold expansion plan.

‘We’ll be deploying a fully automated broadcast management system in August,’ says Sud. This will allow the broadcaster to deploy innovations such as real time advertising bookings, instant broadcast logs and campaign reports for clients.

‘All this comes on the back of the recent revamp of National EMTV News in early May, which saw a complete overhaul of the presentation of our news and the use of virtual studios, plus real-time ticker updates from EMTV’s international partner, CNN International,’ says Sud. ‘Coupled with changes to how we present weather, currency, commodity and POMSoX information, what we’ve seen and how it’s been received by our viewers is something we’re very happy with.’

From 1 July 2013, MNL will spin off its commercial production unit, EMTEK Multimedia Ltd into a re-branded, stand-alone company, creating much-needed competition in PNG’s multimedia production market. Later in the year, it will launch a subsidiary operation, Media Solomon Islands Limited, which will broadcast in PNG’s Melanesian neighbour.


The interface of EMTV's new app for Android devices. An iPhone app is also due shortly.

The interface of EMTV’s new app for Android devices. An iPhone/iPad app is also due shortly.

Following its successful schools programming, produced in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency, EMTV is also devising a 24-hour educational channel to go to all schools in PNG in partnership with PNG’s Department of Education.

‘Our focus is to ensure we form good alliances,’ Sud explains. ‘If we add value, it has a positive impact on industry and the community at large.’

Multi-screen presence

Sud says the next phase for MNL is an integrated presence across multiple screens—satellite, TV and mobiles. An free app for Android and Blackberry devices has been launched which can be downloaded from their respective app stores, while an iPhone/iPad app is set to launch soon.

Online, EMTV’s Facebook page has its own moderator, while its website is now one of PNG’s ten most popular sites, with a growing following.

While Sud is happy with the progress of the company, he’s confident it will continue to improve.

‘EMTV performs very well because we invest heavily into our people,’ he says. ‘Our people equation is very unique amongst foreign-owned companies operating in PNG; 97% of our staff are Papua New Guineans, and 51% of our total staff are female. Yes, we do have our challenges from time-to-time, but we deal with them and our people always deliver. It is a great time to be a part of this team.’