Local content on television holds its own

Media Releases · Television · 15th April 2016

The amount of local content on NZ free-to-air television increased last year, however new programme hours continued to decline. Underlying trends though are more revealing of shifts in what’s on our screens.

Local content is measured annually by NZ On Air and is an indicator of the health of the local TV industry. Local content on six free-to-air channels is counted.

In total a third of broadcast hours (6am – midnight) were local programmes and 36% of the programmes screened in prime time (6pm-10pm)were local.

In 2015 local content on our screens increased by 2.4%; however first run local content (new programmes) continued to decline (down 278 hours*).

49% of content was a repeat, up from 46% in the previous year. The increase in repeats was largely due to extended broadcast hours on Māori Television.

There was more new local Drama/Comedy, ‘General factual’ and Māori programming in 2015. News, Current affairs and Sports programming continues to account for a significant amount of local content, at 43% of the schedule (down from 45%). There were fewer hours of new Entertainment, Documentary and Children’s programmes.

At the same time, the proportion of prime time local content funded by NZ On Air increased (from 10% to 13%), reflecting the ongoing constraints broadcasters and programme-makers are facing.

“With the ever-increasing volume of international content available on multiple platforms, what sets NZ free-to-air television apart is local content. While we see swings and roundabouts in the figures in this report over time, the fluctuations in first run local content reflect the difficult media environment,” said NZ On Air Acting Chief Executive Glenn Usmar.

Local content accounted for 12,836 hours of broadcast time in 2015, a 358% increase since the first report was published 26 years ago.

*Note: The decline was significantly impacted by the entertainment programme Smash! moving from FOUR to The Edge TV. The Edge TV is not currently counted in this survey. However this was offset by increases in other genres, especially General Factual on other broadcasters.

The full report is below. The infographic below shows the key trends.