Positive Signs For Local Television Content
New research by NZ On Air shows positive signs for the nature and diversity of New Zealand made television programmes.
NZ On Air’s annual Local Content Survey provides a consistent and independent quantitative measure of locally made programmes on our television screens.
NZ On Air Chief Executive, Jo Tyndall, said that despite no real increase in the overall quantity of local content, the survey reveals some emerging trends that show increases in important genre areas.
“In previous surveys we have expressed concern at declines in, for example, drama and children’s programming, while news, entertainment and information have all increased. The 2000 survey reveals a slight reversal of that trend.
“This is good news for television viewers seeking a varied diet of quality local programmes.
“The survey shows a drop in entertainment hours, while news and current affairs remained almost static. Where we take some heart is in the slight increases that were recorded in drama, Maori and first-run children’s programmes.
“These are all areas where NZ On Air funding is a significant contributor. They remain the genres most in need of assistance because of their high cost and/or lack of commercial viability.
“In addition, the survey shows that drama and comedy have both received increased commitment from TV2, leading to greater diversity and choice for television viewers.
“Findings on Maori programming were also positive, with the number of programmes featuring Maori and Maori interests rising dramatically in 2000, albeit from a low base. The increase in this area was due largely to programmes screened on TV3.”
Looking at the quantity of local content screened, it’s heartening to note the high number of locally made programmes on TV One – coming close, in 2000, to Australian levels.
“The news is not all good, however. Local content remains static and the genre mix in local content for 2000 still strongly favoured high-volume/lower cost programmes.”
Ms Tyndall said that many of the improvements noted in the 2000 survey were a reflection of a strongly targeted approach which NZ On Air has adopted.
“The competitive nature of NZ On Air’s subsidy allocation, both in terms of who makes the programmes and who broadcasts them, ultimately improves the nature and diversity of the programmes which New Zealanders get to watch.
“NZ On Air has achieved these improvements despite limited funding and with no requirement on the broadcasters to regard viewers as citizens, not simply as consumers.
“The current review of the public broadcasting system brings some hope that these limitations will be addressed, “ Ms Tyndall said.
The Local Content Survey is the only publicly available analysis of local programming trends on national television. The 2000 Local Content Survey is available on the internet, at www.nzonair.govt.nz or from NZ On Air.