Converged regional media initiatives to better meet audience needs

Media Releases · Television · 12th May 2016

Audiences in seven regions across New Zealand will be served a new range of multi-media regional news and information, with funding from NZ On Air.

NZ On Air reviewed its funding of regional television content after research and an independent report found funded regional news content was not reaching intended audiences in many regions.

This, combined with changing viewer behaviour, meant NZ On Air needed to review the funding model. The new model specifically encourages cross platform partnerships to increase potential audience.

“The result is a range of regional media services tailored for specific regions. We asked regions and their media to come up with their own solutions. The funded projects are each innovative in different ways, and will provide new or extended local news and information options,” said NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson.

Four projects covering seven regions have been supported in the first year of the new regional media content fund - two each in the North and South islands.

Christchurch’s CTV, the most successful of the incumbent regional TV channels, will have an integrated newsroom with local print publishing group Star Media and multi-platform distribution for local news and information. They will provide coverage from Kaikoura to South Canterbury, and west to Arthur’s Pass.

In the lower South Island, Allied Press will provide audio-visual news content both on 39 Dunedin Television and on a group of regional websites including the Otago Daily Times. Dedicated video journalists will create the content, supplemented with footage from existing local journalists. Coverage will extend from Otago and Southland north to Ashburton, Waitaki and Timaru, and across to the West Coast.

In the far north, two incumbent operators are combining their skill sets to provide coverage in Te Tai Tokerau. Te Hiku Media, an online media organisation, will work with Channel North, a television news provider, to provide a new integrated news and information service for the region.

In the mid-lower North Island a new collaboration between an independent multi-media producer,Very Nice Productions, and NZME will champion local stories for and about the regions. Called Local Focus, they will provide stories that would not otherwise be covered and will be published in a new regional section on the NZ home page. Local Focus journalists will be supported by the NZME regional office infrastructure in four regions to be agreed shortly.

“We will be watching and evaluating these exciting new projects. These are modest in scale but aimed at providing regions with easily accessible local information. We hope the regional audiences served will enjoy the content,” said Ms Wrightson.

Total funding for regional media in 2016/17 is $1.3million. Funding for existing regional television news and information programmes ends on 31 August this year. The new services are expected to be up and running from 1 September 2016.

The new Regional Media fund is the first of a number of changes being rolled out in coming months, to ensure NZ On Air is changing with the changing audiences.

For more background please read our FAQs.

Funding details

Very Nice Productions, for regional media content in four North Island regions, online, $400,000
Star Media, for regional media content in the Canterbury region, terrestrial broadcast & online, $400,000
Allied Press, for regional media content in the Southern South Island, terrestrial broadcast & online $396,821
Te Reo Irirangi O Te Hiku O Te Ika, for regional media in Te Tai Tokerau, terrestrial broadcast & online, $180,000