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Govt Spending Closes Gap in World Rankings

Govt Spending Closes Gap in World Rankings

The NZ Television Broadcasters' Council has released its annual comparison of Government support for television in five countries. New Zealand continues to perform at the bottom of the league table with Government support amounting to $26 per head of population. (See attached graph). This is 37% up on 2002 as a result of the set-up costs of $12.9 million for the Maori Television Service and a $12 million grant to TVNZ for Charter programming.

The United Kingdom, with its fully licence funded BBC, tops the table with the UK pounds equivalent of NZ$122 per head of population. The licence fee has risen in the UK to the UK equivalent of NZ$330 per household. Ireland, with a population similar to New Zealand, provides the equivalent of NZ$78 per head. In Ireland, the television licence fee rose 40% in 2003 to the Irish equivalent of NZ$292 per household.

Bruce Wallace, executive director of the NZTBC, said the Council supported the decision by the Government in 2000 to increase television production funding for a three year period. The benefits of that lift were clearly identifiable on screen however a permanent improvement was needed if the Government wanted to meet its goal of increasing key genres of local content on television. He said that while television broadcasters were enjoying strong demand for advertising airtime, the industry was not returning internationally comparable rates of return.

The Council says that the key to increased local production, particularly in areas such as drama and children's programmes, was more funding through NZOA and Te Mangai Paho.

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