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TVNZ Dividend Reinvestment Boosts Local Drama

18 August 2005

TVNZ Dividend Reinvestment Boosts Local Drama

TVNZ's $11.4million dividend reinvestment from the Government has largely been spent on new local drama.

Approximately $9 million of the total is going on two dramas, with the remaining funds committed to two documentary series and two Maori programming initiatives yet to be broadcast, and the Anzac weekend specials Revealing Gallipoli and Our Day to Remember.

Last year TVNZ paid the Government $37.6 million, of which $11.4 million was returned, tagged for the development of local programmes that recognised the TVNZ Charter by reflecting New Zealand life and culture.

TVNZ Head of Content, Stephen Smith, said local drama was identified as an area in need of support through Charter funding.

"At the outset, we made it clear that every cent of the dividend reinvestment would go onscreen," he said. "We chose drama as the genre where we could make a significant impact."

The two new dramas funded through the dividend reinvestment are The Lost Children - a children's drama set in the time of the Taranaki land wars, and Rude Awakenings – a contemporary adult drama set in the Auckland suburb of Ponsonby.

Stephen Smith said that while New Zealanders were very keen on local drama, the high cost of the genre was not widely known outside the film and television industry.

"Despite the apparent high cost, New Zealanders are getting extremely good value for money. It may help to put things in perspective to know that United States studios commonly spend $5 million on a drama pilot which may be cancelled after a few episodes."

TVNZ publishes an account of all programmes made with Charter funding every six months, in either the Interim or Annual Report.


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