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New Zealand At Bottom Of Television League Table

Television broadcasters are calling for increased support for local television production in the light of two reports released today.

The NZ Television Broadcasters Council has released a comparison of Government support for television in five countries. New Zealand continues to perform at the bottom of the league table with Government support amounting to $19 per head of population. (See attached graph) The United Kingdom tops the table with the New Zealand dollar equivalent of $131 per head of population. Ireland, with a population similar to New Zealand, provides the equivalent of NZ$46 per head, which is over twice the level in New Zealand.

Bruce Wallace, executive director of the NZTBC, said the Council supported the decision by the Government last year to increase television production funding but more was needed if the Government wanted to meet its goal of increasing local content on television. He said that current low levels of profitability in the industry meant that it could not support more local content production unilaterally.

Yesterday, the television production funding agency, New Zealand On Air (NZOA), released its annual survey of local content on television. NZOA found a small increase in local content levels but indicated that more was possible if the funding was available.

The Council says that the key to increased local production, particularly in areas such as drama and children’s programmes, was increased and targeted funding by the Government. Broadcasters said that they were confident that audiences wanted to see more New Zealand programmes but they needed to be produced without the constraints of content controls which would only reduce standards and turn off viewers.

Ends

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