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TV industry cooperation to boost local content

20 December 2002 Media Statement

Maharey welcomes television industry cooperation to boost local content

Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey is welcoming the formation of a new television industry group working to develop voluntary targets for New Zealand programming for the major free-to-air networks.

The group comprises Television New Zealand, TV3, the Screen Production and Development Association and NZ On Air. In a memorandum of understanding signed today, the group is pledging to develop three year local content targets to be broadcast by members and to define genres that need particular emphasis. The group will review its targets on an annual basis.

Steve Maharey said the government supports industry initiatives to boost the amount of NZ made programming on television through industry led, voluntary, genre-specific targets.

“This is a great initiative which I warmly welcome. The Code of Practice for New Zealand music, which operates in a similar way on commercial radio, has significantly boosted the amount of Kiwi music on air and there is every reason to believe a similar initiative will also work well on the major free-to-air television networks.

“The group who have signed up to the memorandum have been meeting with me over recent weeks. I have been impressed by their commitment to making and showing more New Zealand programming and their willingness to work cooperatively together.

“Labour pledged in our election broadcasting manifesto to increase the level of New Zealand content on television and we reserved the right at the time to impose mandatory quotas to achieve this. Partnership within the industry to reach New Zealand programming targets is a far more preferable mechanism.

“New Zealanders have regularly shown they will support local programming. Just last month NZ On Air audience research showed overwhelming support for more New Zealand made television.

“The agreement signed today shows the industry has recognised viewer preferences for more New Zealand-made programming and that they are confident it will be supported by New Zealand audiences,” Steve Maharey said.


Television Local Content Group membership

- Brent Impey, Group Chief Executive, Canwest
- Rick Friesen, Chief Executive, TV3
- Ian Fraser, Chief Executive, TVNZ
- Stephen Smith, Head of Content, TVNZ
- Jane Wrightson, Chief Executive, Screen Production and Development Association
- Jo Tyndall, Chief Executive, New Zealand On Air
- John Barnett, Managing Director, South Pacific Pictures Ltd
- Janine Morrell, Whitebait Productions

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING: TELEVISION LOCAL CONTENT GROUP


Purpose

The purpose of the Group is to capitalise on the areas of common interest between broadcasters, producers and funder (NZ On Air), and to work cooperatively to enhance the diversity and quantity of local content programming on New Zealand television.

Aims

The primary outcome at which the Group aims is a quantity and diversity of local content that adequately reflects and promotes New Zealand’s culture and identity. The Group also recognises that the growth of a creative and sustainable independent production industry is a desirable further outcome of the enhancement of local content.

The advantages of such an industry initiative are that it:

1. provides flexibility in the application and development of local content targets that reflect the resources available and the dynamics of the industry;

2. achieves a three-way buy-in and commitment from broadcasters, producers and funders; and

3. develops local content targets that provide the public with a significant quantity and diversity of local programming.

Membership

The core membership will be a small focused group made up of representatives from TVNZ, TV3, the Screen Production and Development Association, and NZ On Air. This core membership may be increased to include others, as circumstances require. In considering admitting other broadcasters to its membership, the Group will take into account the potential size of the broadcaster’s audience and its proven commitment to local content.

Role

The Group’s role will be to:

1. develop voluntary baselines and targets for local content which serve the best interests of the public, the broadcasters and the producers; and

2. work cooperatively together to develop a long-term view and continuing commitment to the growth of local content, in terms of quantity, diversity and success. This will guide all the members of the Group in their individual planning and applications.

The Group will develop three-year targets for the extent of local content to be achieved by its members. Within these targets, the Group will define the genres that need to be emphasised or developed in a given period. The genres considered will not be restricted to those normally supported by funders. The Group will review its targets annually.

In developing broadcaster-specific targets, the Group will acknowledge the nature of the broadcaster’s audience, the remit it is required to follow by its owners, and any legislative requirements

In developing and reviewing targets the Group will take into account the funding available to broadcasters.

The Group will openly discuss the policy priorities of its members, and seek to meet the policy objectives of the full range of its members, including funders. Nothing in this Memorandum is intended to restrict the autonomy of the Group's members.

Broadcaster-members’ performance in meeting agreed targets will be monitored by the Group. The targets will be set out and the performance against them recorded in an annual report issued within four months of the end of each calendar year

Signed the ________of December 2002 by

_____________ _____________
for Television New Zealand for TV3

_____________ _____________
for the Screen Production for NZ On Air
and Development Association


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