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Local TV Shows Come Up Trumps

21 November 2002

Media Release

Local TV Shows Come Up Trumps

New Zealand television viewers overwhelmingly support locally made drama shows, and believe they are often up with the best the rest of the world has to offer. This is one of the key findings that emerge from new research conducted for NZ On Air by NFO New Zealand. The Attitudes to NZ On Air Funded TV Programming survey, released today, is a follow-up to focus group research commissioned in 2000.

"This report reinforces many of the findings in the Public Information and Opinion Monitor we released a few months ago," said NZ On Air Chief Executive, Jo Tyndall. "There is tremendous support for local television programmes, especially documentaries, children's programmes and now drama. People are responding positively to the improvements they see in the quality of New Zealand drama on TV.

"New Zealand television programmes have to stack up against their overseas counterparts to attract an audience. That means the acting, writing, and technical standards have to be top-notch. This research makes those comparisons very clear," she said. "There's clear appreciation for the story-telling and acting skills in many programmes, and that represents a significant advance since the 2000 survey, which saw quite mixed reactions to local drama."

New Zealand documentaries and children's programmes are regarded very highly in this year's research, with respondents saying that these programmes are as good as, and in many cases better than those from overseas.

"The research confirmed, though, that we still haven't got comedy quite right, and the perceptions of quality there are noticeably lower," said Ms Tyndall. "Some programmes are working for the audience, and there was a strong belief that the strength of New Zealand comedy is in the natural ad lib area.

"But the focus groups thought that some scripted local comedy was too 'try hard', not well-scripted with forced acting, and lower technical standards. They were firmly of the opinion though, that we should continue to support it, because our own comedy shows – and being able to laugh at ourselves - are important.

"We've earmarked comedy as an area for particular attention from NZ On Air in 2003, and we intend to work closely with producers and broadcasters to explore ways of doing it better," she said.

The research also looked at people's perceptions of regional television, finding that 22% were aware of a regional channel in their area and could name the station, and 15% had watched a programme on a regional channel.

More information on the Attitudes to NZ On Air Funded TV Programming report for 2002, and other research, is available on the NZ On Air website at


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