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NZ On Air Releases Post-Broadcasting Fee Statement

MEDIACOM-RELEASE-NZ-ON-AIR

NZ On Air Releases First Post-Broadcasting Fee Statement Of Intent

NZ On Air's first Statement of Intent (2000/01) since the abolition of the Public Broadcasting Fee, released today, spells out NZ On Air's new strategic direction, focused on New Zealand music, children's television, and on improving the level and diversity of local content in television programming.

Releasing the Statement, David Beatson, Chairman of NZ On Air, said the organisation had received some breathing space thanks to increased funding, and was in a position to adopt a more innovative approach in the coming year.

"We're looking to put our relationship with the major network television broadcasters on a more structured basis. The Innovation Fund, flagged in our Statement of Intent, is part of that.

"If we cannot get agreement from the major broadcasters, then we will find other uses for the Innovation Fund which still meet its objectives of pushing the boundaries of traditional broadcasting."

NZ On Air funding now comes directly from the Crown and has been boosted to a total of $81.3 million for 2000/01. In addition, NZ On Air has secured one-off funding of $6 million, due to better than forecast collection of the Public Broadcasting Fee during the transition year.

NZ On Air's television budget has increased this year by around $8 million, of which more than half is for this year only, and will be applied to five main genres: drama; comedy; documentaries, children and youth programmes and mainstream Maori programming.

Most of the funding increase announced by Government in May will be devoted to children's programmes, with a repeat of last year's drama initiative, and a boost to the budget for other children's programmes. A comprehensive research and consultation programme currently being conducted should result in a safe, quality television environment for New Zealand children.

"A major New Zealand music initiative is also planned and we expect this to generate benefits in terms of local content in both television and radio broadcasts.

"Drama continues to be underrepresented on New Zealand television, and as such, it continues to be a high priority area for NZ On Air. It's a potent means of telling New Zealand stories on screen and is an important driver for other aspects of creativity.

"Comedy is for the first time being treated as a television category in its own right, and we are mounting a more focused approach for developing new comedy over the coming year," said Mr Beatson.

Documentary New Zealand and Inside New Zealand are both likely to continue to receive funding, and there will be a focus on more in- depth quality documentary projects in the coming year.

Other key funding areas include:

* radio services ($25.1);

* New Zealand music ($4m);

* transmission coverage ($2.9m); and

* archiving ($1m).

Note: Te Mangai Paho - Maori Broadcasting is no longer funded by NZ On Air, but directly by the Crown.

Ends

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