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Export Award For Nhnz’s Outstanding Achievements

Export Award For Nhnz’s Outstanding Achievements

Dunedin, April 11, 2003 -- Dunedin-based NHNZ, a world-leading producer of factual television, has won a Trade New Zealand Export Award for growing annual exports from $1.4 million to almost $20 million in the past five years.

(Note to Editors: Media are invited to attend the presentation of the Trade New Zealand Export Award to NHNZ by the Minister of Research, Science & Technology the Hon. Pete Hodgson, on Friday 11 April, at 3pm at the offices of NHNZ, 8 Dowling Street, Dunedin.)

NHNZ has won this Export Award in the Design & Creative category.

NHNZ Managing Director Michael Stedman says the company’s success follows its privatisation from Television New Zealand in December 1997.

“When the New Zealand television industry was deregulated we embraced the challenge of survival as a fully commercial entity operating without the luxury of a viable domestic market.

“This meant we became very export-focused, and evolved from producing two hours of natural history programming per year for the domestic market into a commercial business producing 40 hours of programming for the global market, and earning $18.3 million in export sales in 2002.”

Mr Stedman says to broaden its international audience, NHNZ has widened its programme range over the past five years from pure natural history to five broad genre categories – nature, science, adventure, health and people. In line with this diversification it has rebranded to become NHNZ, an evolution of Natural History New Zealand, as it was previously known.

NHNZ specialises in filmmaking that tells dynamic stories about our world. Mr Stedman says the company is one of the top two in this niche in the world, and has won more than 200 international awards, among them Emmy Awards, the industry’s highest accolade, and the prestigious Wildscreen Panda.

Its programmes are seen in 180 countries, with key business markets the US, Europe and Asia.

Mr Stedman says NHNZ has invested significant time and money into overcoming the barrier of distance from its markets. This is achieved through regular overseas visits, having a full-time marketer based in Washington DC and the establishment of an office in Beijing.

“China offers us significant opportunities for growth. To capitalise on this we have a team dedicated to attending to new initiatives in this market.

“We also use technology to help us overcome the tyranny of distance, championing digital transfer of our programmes, footage and graphics and helping our customers pick up and utilise this technology.“

Mr Stedman says NHNZ is succeeding in the very volatile and competitive international market by developing and leveraging off a number of competitive advantages.

“These include an entrepreneurial management style combined with a Kiwi ‘can-do’ attitude. We are small enough to be agile and flexible, adapting to meet rapidly changing customer needs and resourceful in seeking solutions to the challenges that more innovative projects demand.

“We have a wealth of technical knowledge and expertise, with more than 350 years’ experience amongst sixteen R & D and production craftspeople. As a result, even in the most difficult of environments and circumstances we are able to get remarkable footage and sound, some of which has never been captured before.

“While being based in New Zealand can present challenges, it also offers us a competitive advantage. We are seen as friendly, obliging and prepared to go to extra effort. We are also able to gain acceptability in the different political environments of our target markets.

“Our single most critical success factor has been our ability to adapt to the changing market demands and influence of the world economy. This has seen us widen our genre base and look for new ideas and approaches.”

Trade New Zealand Account Manager David Grant congratulated NHNZ on its Export Award success, saying a key strength of the business is its visionary leadership and dynamic style.

“A real can-do culture is nurtured and promoted through NHNZ’s technical skills, extensive experience and innovative approaches. It continually pushes the boundaries of creativity and excellence with its programmes, as evidenced by the numerous international awards it has won and its growing export sales.”

Michael Stedman says NHNZ is aiming to increase annual foreign exchange earnings to $49 million by 2006. This will be achieved in part by winning business in new and expanding markets, including China, India and South America.

While making programmes is NHNZ’s principal product, it also produces DVDs, books and education resources for distribution both in New Zealand and overseas. It also has an extensive stock footage and stills library, offering other production companies, publishers, advertisers and commercial organisations the ability to licence thousands of images for their own purposes.

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