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Milestone year for New Zealand television

Milestone year for New Zealand television

Last year saw the biggest increase in locally made television programmes in nearly 10 years, according to a survey released by NZ On Air today.

The Local Content Survey is compiled every year by NZ On Air. The 2002 survey, just released, shows an unprecedented surge in the level of New Zealand made television programmes appearing on the three free-to-air channels.

NZ On Air Chief Executive, Jo Tyndall, welcomed the increase, noting that it mirrored an increase in Government funding made available for television production through NZ On Air.

“Today’s results for the 2002 year show that local content accounted for 27.4 percent of the total television schedule, up 3.8 percent on the previous year,” Ms Tyndall said.

“For years now the level of local content on New Zealand television has hovered around 23 or 24 percent. The 2002 figures represent the biggest percentage increase in local programming since 1993.”

Ms Tyndall said that while lower cost programming such as news, current affairs, sport and entertainment continued to show the biggest increases over time (with Americas Cup coverage making a strong contribution to the 2002 increase), she was particularly heartened at a 20 per cent increase in the screening of first-run New Zealand drama and comedy.

“First-run programmes are an important measure because their levels directly reflect the level of new investment in local programming. Comedy and drama production are particularly important because of their role in reflecting New Zealand’s unique culture and identity.

“This increase in higher-cost, higher-risk comedy and drama productions highlights the tangible benefit of Government funding increases to NZ On Air in 2000, and again last year.

“It is also in large part due to the increasing willingness of broadcasters to make sustained commitments to these programmes.

“We are equally delighted to see a marked increase in children’s hours in 2002, after a decade of steady decline,” Ms Tyndall said. New Zealand-made children and young people’s programmes are all produced with funding from NZ On Air.

Ms Tyndall said while most of the trends identified in the 2002 report were very encouraging, a slight dip in the hours of programmes made predominantly for Maori – down just over two per cent on 2001 levels – went against recent trends. This may be in anticipation of the Maori Television Service coming on stream, but is a trend to watch in coming years.

Other significant findings from the research include:

Total hours of New Zealand programming on the three free television channels was 7201 in 2002, up 1011 hours on 2001. All three channels increased their total local content in 2002.

TV One broadcast double the amount of sports hours screened in 2001 (largely because of America’s Cup coverage);
Local content made up 57 percent of the TV One prime time schedule (up from 54 percent in 2001) and 41 per cent of the TV3 schedule (up from 37 per cent in 2001). The amount of local content in prime time on TV2 remained static, at 20 percent.

In 2002 funding from NZ On Air contributed to 19.8 per cent of the total local content hours, up two percent from 2001.
Ms Tyndall noted that NZ On Air latest audience research found that 62 per cent of respondents believed more local content should be shown on television – a statistic which has shown a steady increase over the last five years.

“This survey of local content in 2002 shows that we are making significant progress towards meeting the wishes of most New Zealand viewers.

“With strong support from Government, NZ On Air and the broadcasters, New Zealanders are hearing more of our own stories and seeing more of our own communities reflected in their television choices,” said Ms Tyndall.

© Scoop Media

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