Local TV content holds its own in a fast-changing market

Posted Friday 24 Apr 2015

The NZ On Air Local Content Report 2014 released recently shows a 3% increase in local television programming last year across the six free-to-air channels monitored. The Local Content Report has been recording the trends and changes in the local content landscape since NZ On Air's inception in 1989.

Local content accounted for 12,538 hours of broadcast time in 2014. The 3% increase on 2013 follows a more modest 0.8% increase the previous year. A third of all content on the monitored channels was local content, and 36% of prime time content was local.

First run local content levels steadied in 2014 after five years of gradual decline. This steadiness was largely due to the high volume of News/Current Affairs and Sports programming with the Sochi Winter Olympics and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Repeat programming was up, largely due to M?ori Television increasing its broadcast hours and re-using content in its extended schedule.

The static nature of first run content reflects the ongoing difficult economic environment for free-to-air television broadcasting according to NZ On Air CEO Jane Wrightson.

"New Zealand audiences appreciate seeing their own stories on screen. Our funding for the past 25 years has provided a backbone of support for programmes that broadcasters and producers would not otherwise make due to cost or risk. Broadcasters are also clearly committed to making programmes on their own too, because they appreciate the strategic value of local content," says Ms Wrightson. "But we would all like to see more."

17% of first run local content in 2014 was funded by NZ On Air.

With the rise from two to six national free-to-air channels in the 25 years since NZ On Air began, New Zealanders today can enjoy 347% more local television programmes than in 1989.

Fast Facts:

  • First run programming remained stable, accounting for 18% of the broadcast schedule
  • 36% of prime time hours (6pm-10pm) were local content (up 1% from 2013)
  • 33% of hours broadcast during the 18-hour day (6am - midnight) were local content
  • News, Current Affairs and Sport account for 45% of total local hours
  • Information, Children's, Entertainment and M?ori programmes all increased, while Documentary and Drama/Comedy both decreased.

For more information, read the full report.