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Local content holds steady at 32% of television schedules

Local content holds steady at 32% of television schedules

The annual NZ On Air Local Content Report released today reveals some challenges being faced by the television sector.

Since 1989 NZ On Air has measured local free-to-air television content. The report compares the schedules of the six national free-to-air channels, to observe trends and changes in the local content landscape.

In 2013, local content on these channels increased by 0.8%, comprising 32% of the combined schedules. This was largely influenced by Māori Television extending its transmission hours, and an increase in the amount of repeat screenings of local content.

Trends are also heavily influenced by the volume of hours of News/Current Affairs and Sport programming, which makes up 43% of total local hours. Changes to TV One’s schedule in 2013, such as reducing the length of the Good Morning show, took their overall local content down.

“It is heartening to see local content in prime time holding steady. Also the genres we invest most heavily in - documentary, drama and children’s - all saw increases in overall content hours,” said NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson.

However an 11% decrease in first run content in 2013 continued a five year downward trend. This indicates reduced spending on new productions, and is a reflection of the ongoing difficulties faced post-global financial crisis by free-to-air broadcasters.

“It is clearly a challenging environment for broadcasters and producers. We are closely observing trends in the sector and talking with broadcasters and producers about how to keep prioritising quality local content,” said Ms Wrightson.

NZ On Air funds content that is too risky or expensive to produce commercially, ensuring a more diverse range of content for free-to-air audiences. As a percentage of total local content NZ On Air funded 16% of local programmes in 2013, compared to 14% a year earlier. 12% of prime time content was funded by NZ On Air, and 16% of first run content (up from 13% in 2012).

Since NZ On Air first began recording this data, local content on television has increased 333%.

“We are fortunate to have a system that places a high value on local content and viewers who appreciate it. 32% local content overall means New Zealanders can readily see and hear themselves and their stories on screen,” said Ms Wrightson.

More information is in the full report.


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