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Local Comedy and Drama On The Up

Local Comedy and Drama On The Up

New NZ On Air research concludes that locally produced television drama is seen as world-class, and that New Zealand comedy has improved, but still needs to be better. The NZ On Air Attitudes to Television and Radio Comedy and Drama Programming qualitative research report, prepared for the agency by TNS, was released today.

“When it comes to television drama, people have very long memories,” said NZ On Air Chief Executive Jo Tyndall, “and they also have a wide range of theme preferences, from police, law and hospital-type programmes to historical and family-based ones. There is a clear preference, too, for series of 10 to 13 episodes, with the occasional one-off tele-feature.

“Recent NZ On Air-funded series like Mataku and The Insiders Guide to Happiness are considered to be up there with the best from overseas. Focus group participants welcomed the improvements in the stories, how they’re written and produced, and the depth of the characters portrayed in today’s local offerings. They also thought the standard of acting has improved markedly.”

Ms Tyndall said the research showed that while New Zealand comedy was also marginally improving, there needs to be more work done developing locally produced comedy to take it to the next level.

“The exception to that attitude was the stand-out success in this genre – the animated comedy bro’Town,” said Ms Tyndall. “That had quite an impact on people’s belief in New Zealand’s ability to produce comedy they feel comfortable with.

“In recent years our research has shown us that audiences regarded a lot of local comedy as simplistic, amateur and irrelevant, but the likes of comedies as diverse as Willy Nilly and bro’Town have led to a change in that feeling.

“Now people tell us they think New Zealand writers are capable of developing good comedy shows, and they want us to keep supporting that development. They believe we are moving in the right direction,” she said. “We are convening a symposium at the end of this month to look at all aspects of New Zealand comedy, and its future, and this report gives us some valuable insights going into that.”

The focus group research project also asked about attitudes to comedy and drama on radio in New Zealand, and found little appetite for the latter.

“However, there is considerable interest in short-form comedy on radio – the 60 to 90 second skit type of comedy that takes a clever look at topical events,” said Ms Tyndall, “and that is the sort of programme NZ On Air has been developing with radio producers in the last two years.” Ends

This media release and the Attitudes to Television and Radio Comedy and Drama Programming qualitative research report are available on the NZ On Air website at www.nzonair.govt.nz

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