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Unique Strategy Funds Major New TVNZ Serial Drama

28 August, 2006

Unique Strategy Funds Major New TVNZ Serial Drama

TVNZ and NZ on Air have marked the launch of the digital television age by joining forces to fund a new long-run New Zealand serial drama called 'The Point'.

NZ On Air says it is a significant new local content project, and is expected to be a key component of TVNZ's evolution in a digital broadcast environment as well as a springboard for the development of industry talent.

Initially, 'The Point' will run five nights a week in the 5.30pm slot on TV ONE beginning mid-2007.

Although TVNZ has developed the serial, it is to be made by an independent production company selected in an audited, contestable process by the funding partners.

The strategic relationship between NZ On Air and TVNZ is unique in that direct government funding for the network is to be combined with funding from NZ On Air – reflecting the size of the project.

The initial production deal is for three years.

NZ On Air's acting Chief Executive, Bernard Duncan, says the funding strategy recognises the project's outstanding benefit to the long term sustainability of the television industry.

"The Shortland St experience has proved that creative capital derived from a long-form serial is fundamental to the growth of the film and television industry. Benefits from the success of The Point will go back into the New Zealand industry", he said.

"This relationship also recognises the value of such a production in exploring the potential of the evolving digital broadcast environment".

TVNZ Chief Executive, Rick Ellis, says the new serial will be a key plank in TV ONE's evening schedule, and over time, the network will extend the reach of 'The Point' and other local content programmes on new digital platforms.

"In a world increasingly dominated by foreign content channels, this project will be a very visible expression of our national identity. Local serial dramas strongly reflect the community – its culture and its diversity – so it's a key development for us as New Zealand's television public broadcaster," he said.

"Without the full support of NZ On Air this drama could not be made. For me, it's a real pleasure to announce the birth of a project that so clearly supports the objectives of both our organisations," Mr Ellis said.

Funding Breakdown: NZ On Air $8.3 million TVNZ $3.5 million

The Point

'The Point' is set in an imaginary harbourside suburb, where brand new mansions mix with ordinary weatherboard homes. It will be produced in Auckland and will go to air on TV ONE every weeknight for 46 weeks. The "G" rated timeslot will ensure 'family safe' viewing, at the same time presenting New Zealand's unique national character and identity in a way that will be funny, smart, confronting and compassionate.


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