August 2014

August 2014 newsletter

A note from the CEO

Jane Wrightson - CEO

We are officially into our 25th year of supporting local content for television, radio and online audiences. Over the coming year we will celebrate the variety, diversity and quality of the content you, the creators, have made with NZ On Air support. We'd love it if you could help us spread the word.

Our new financial year is off to a busy start with funding decisions covering the range from drama, documentary and arts/culture shows, to confirming regional television annual funding. We were particularly pleased this round to have supported a drama series for each of the three major channels. All drama, local and international, has had its challenges recently, and we are heartened by the broadcaster support. 

Thank you to all of you who took the time to attend our recent launch of the media consumption research Where are the audiences? The response to the research has been overwhelmingly positive. We find the information very useful as a benchmark, and we know there will be keen interest in changes and trends that emerge when we repeat the research at intervals. We see this as an important role we can play in the sector, helping to provide the big picture.

We have recently appointed a Strategy and Insights Adviser in a role shared with the Film Commission, who will be helping lead our research strategy. Selina Joe will also look at improvements to our performance measurement, so that we better understand the impacts we have. Our next major research project will look at Children's media consumption.

In this newsletter you will find information on three important strategic documents we are releasing today - a refreshed drama strategy, new channel preference guidelines, and new guidelines for online access to publicly funded content. Thank you to everyone who has been part of the discussion around these issues, providing comment and submissions. 

We look forward to another productive year, helping to bring your great ideas and the talents of New Zealanders to audiences. 



Television and online policy

We’ve now completed our policy work reviewing our drama strategy, public access and online rights, and our channel preference guidelines. 

As always the reviews challenged us to think differently as we balanced various competing principles. A fast-moving environment means we must have fair, flexible policies and expectations so that our stakeholders can plan.

The refreshed drama strategy is more for our internal use, but we are publishing it so producers and broadcasters can see the types of criteria we consider when assessing our most expensive investments. The strategy has three core goals:

  • Support diverse New Zealand dramas that appeal to local audiences
  • Encourage multiple broadcaster and online outlets for New Zealand dramas to maximise audience interest
  • Ensure New Zealand dramas deliver value for money by being appropriately budgeted and enjoyed by target audiences

Read the drama strategy below.

The online rights guidelines acknowledge that public funding is a privilege and that public online access is a core requirement in a digital age. We want NZ On Air funded content to be seen by as many New Zealanders as possible, and to remain publicly accessible for as long as possible. This is important to help demonstrate clear public value in our investments.

Balancing the competing rights of content creators, commissioning broadcasters and taxpayers, and noting the impending increase in lower-cost online (SVOD) options, we have confirmed an expectations framework for online access to our funded content. Our expectations are based on the size of our public investment, both for fairness and so the needs of other investors can be balanced. Read the framework below.

And we have confirmed our channel preference guidelines. When considering the potential platforms offered in support of content funding applications, we will use an assessment framework to inform decision making.

The framework will help us – 

  • Ensure NZ On Air’s strategic content goals are prioritised
  • Prioritise channels delivering audiences of appropriate size, thus ensuring cost effective delivery of content
  • Manage the risk of the investment of public funds
  • Allow for content innovation by ensuring contestability
  • Provide a fair, transparent basis for making investment decisions

Read the guidelines below.


Funding Overview

We considered 22 applications at the first meeting of the financial year. We were pleased to support a range of excellent projects with total funding of $23.5m for 144 hours of content.

Drama programmes for each of the three largest channels were supported including a landmark Platinum series Hillary for TV One; a second season of the popular Step Dave for TV2; and West Side Story, a prequel to Outrageous Fortune for TV3 that will focus on the lives of Ted, Rita and Wolfgang West in 1970’s New Zealand.

Documentary and factual programming was one of the major genres prioritised for this round and some great series were supported. The perennially high rating Country Calendar was supported for its 50th season, reputedly the second longest-running, uninterrupted series in the world behind Coronation Street.

Country Calendar - TVNZ

Science is to the fore with The DNA Detectives funded for TV One and Forensics: The Science Behind the Truth for Prime. DNA Detectives will explore the genetic makeup of a group of New Zealanders to explain where they came from and the implications for their future health. Forensics will look at NZ's ESR and its forensic scientists as they apply science to helping solve real cases. 

Issues facing people trying to get on the property ladder and secure their slice of the pavlova paradise will feature in House Hunters, to be made by Imagination Television for TV One.

The Big Ward for TV2 will explore the important issue of obesity in NZ and will follow a group of patients as they confront their health problem and the decisions they have to take to get control of their lives.

New Zealand’s bogun sub-culture will be revealed in Bogan’s Heroes (TV2) providing an insiders’ guide to metal, mullets and mayhem.

Additional funding was provided for a revised proposal for the historical series Te Radar’s Chequered Past. The treatment for this TV One series has been redeveloped, after the research phase uncovered many new options, and we anticipate a strong series as a result.

Talented New Zealand musicians have also been supported to have their moment to shine with live coverage of this year’s Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards being funded for FOUR and a minority investment confirmed for the second season of The X Factor New Zealand screening on TV3.

Doc Connect

Applications for this joint initiative with NZFC close this Friday 8 August. Applications will be assessed by staff from both agencies over the next few weeks with the successful projects to be announced in mid-September.

Amendment to Standard Production Funding Agreement

As previously announced, NZ On Air has now completed its policy consideration of online access to publicly funded content. This has resulted in a small number of alterations to our standard PFA. The changes can be found on page 3 of the policy document here.

Digital Media

Our Digital Media Kickstart Fund closed at the beginning of July with 55 excellent applications totalling over $13 million. We have shortlisted five of these to provide full proposals in September from which two will be selected for funding. Once again we have been really impressed with the calibre of ideas being put forward. Each year is an improvement as the digital media industry matures and develops a stronger sense of what is possible.

In June we announced five new Māori webseries from a new joint fund with Te Māngai Pāho. Māori stories are under-represented online and we welcome the opportunity to support new perspectives and storytellers through this fund.

The launch of Sign Ninja by Deaf Aotearoa in June was a major success for the Digital Media fund. Sign Ninja is an innovative online game through which users learn the basics of NZ Sign Language - the first of its kind for the deaf community. Take a look. See how far you get through the Sign Labyrinth:


Refreshed music strategy

Earlier this year we did some work with international online music media consultant, Eveline Van Der Steen (late of Armada Music in The Netherlands). Her brief was to help us integrate online thinking across all our music funding and promotions work and give us an improved understanding of international trends.

As a result, we have updated our music strategy.

Some things haven’t changed. Our current strategic priority is still to “get more mileage for the music we make” which means, basically, more play across all broadcast media. 

However instead of focussing primarily on broadcasters through our promotions work (which has been our historic approach), we will actively take the opportunity to connect with audiences directly- audience response also influences broadcaster decision-makers, of course. Social media is the way to reach the audience.

The refreshed strategy is built on four objectives –

  • Finding and funding quality New Zealand music for broadcast, on air and online
  • Partnering with key platforms to deliver and promote New Zealand music to audiences, on air and online, and convince those platforms to play more New Zealand music
  • Finding and exploiting online opportunities to connect New Zealand music with audiences and maximise exposure
  • Collaborating with champions of New Zealand music to increase visibility of New Zealand music and thereby improve engagement, on air and online

Things are constantly changing in the volatile music business. As things stand, radio remains the most efficient way of connecting songs and sizeable audiences (as our research and international studies confirm) but online represents a huge opportunity to get more mileage for the music we make.

You can read the revised Music Strategy below. 

Our Music online

On the subject of online infiltration and exploitation, we have renewed our funding for the New Zealand music channel on the iHeartRadio platform for a second year.

The NZ On Air New Zealand music channel gives us the opportunity to showcase the best New Zealand music to a growing online audience.

NZ On Air Music is also active on Spotify, YouTube, and Soundcloud.

On the radio


The latest Radioscope report shows New Zealand music content on all radio (commercial stations, students and iwi stations etc) was 17.71% in the week to 20 July.

Nelson duo Broods have the biggest New Zealand song on the radio at the moment with Mother & Father, displacing the Stan Walker and Ginny Blackmore duet, Holding You, which has ruled the roost for a full three months.

Third most-played is Bad Philosophy, the first single from ex-Midnight Youth frontman, Jeremy Redmore’s solo album Clouds Are Alive.

It’s good to see a bit of rock asserting itself on the airplay charts at the moment … with Shihad’s blistering Think You’re So Free at #7 and Hamilton’s finest, Devilskin at #8 with Start A Revolution. 

Making More Tracks

Tami Neilson

We have now completed our third Making Tracks funding year. In the year to 30 June, we took in 1,284 applications and funded 238 projects. We achieved a 58:42 split between mainstream and alternative projects, close to our 60:40 guideline.

In the first round for the new year – the July round – we received 130 applications and funded 24 projects, including debutants like Auckland duo, Ophelia,  Jen Turner from Christchurch who is working with Devin Abrams from Shapeshifter, Dunedin singer-songwriter, Ciaran McMeekan and Ash Graham from the Kapiti Coast.

There’s also new material from the iconic Trinity Roots and from those chart-topping metallers, Devilskin, a new pop gem from Jamie McDell and more from the queen of New Zealand country, Tami Neilson.

August decisions are out on 28 August. 

Applications are taken online only at Making Tracks.

Making More Mileage


We are now gearing up to do our annual Making Tracks Outcomes review. This is where we quantify the broadcast “mileage” achieved with Making Tracks songs funded in 2013-2014 that have been released to date. We will count the number of spins on radio and music television and the number of streams online. At the same time, we will update tallies for songs funded in the first and second Making Tracks years.

In the last report, as at 31 August last year, Making Tracks-funded songs had picked up 266,199 spins on radio; 55,223 spins on music television; and 29,000,541 streams across YouTube, Vimeo and Spotify.

As at 31 August last year, the #1 most-played song funded in the first Making Tracks year was Kimbra’s Good Intent and the #1 most-played from second year projects was Swim & Sleep(Like A Shark) by Ruban Nielson’s Unknown Mortal Orchestra.

Economic impacts

On 10 July, Recorded Music New Zealand released a report by Price Waterhouse Coopers on the economic contribution of the New Zealand music industry. The report was commissioned by Recorded Music NZ in association with APRA|AMCOS and the NZ Music Commission.

The purpose of the study was to “estimate the contribution of the music industry to the New Zealand economy” and to provide “a snapshot of the industry using data for the 2012 and 2013 calendar years”.

The report concludes that in 2013, the New Zealand music industry “directly contributed $204.7 million to national GDP and after accounting for spill over effects on other industries, the music industry contributed a total of $452.2 million and the equivalent of 4,077 full-time jobs”.

It is interesting that “the biggest contributing music sector ... is the Music Radio Broadcasting sector which accounts for approximately half [49%] of the value added and employment impact of the industry as a whole”. Live is 26%; Retail is 18%; Communication & Public Performance is 7%; and Synchronisation is just under 1%.

The full 43-page report can be found on the new WeCreate website.

Community Broadcasting

We've confirmed funding for nine regional television news and current affairs programmes around the country for the coming year. Stations from Kaitaia to Invercargill have received funding for another year.

We've also published the results of our recent regional television audience research. You can read the report below. 

In the commercial radio programme production funding area, award-winning youth radio show Te Puutake also received funding.

We will be reviewing our funding policies for regional television and commercial radio programmes during 2014/15.

The access radio managers’ workshop will be held this month. A major theme of the workshop will be programme sharing between stations.

We note the passing in June of Jim Blackman – the founder and CEO of Triangle Television (now Face TV). Jim made a huge contribution to regional television broadcasting in New Zealand. He was a larger than life character who will be sadly missed.

History on screen

Great War Stories - AC Productions for TV3

With the centenary of the start of World War 1, we have funded an array of content for television audiences that bring the stories of courage and sacrifice to different audiences. The latest of these is Great War Stories, currently screening on TV3 during the news hour.

You can find out more about the WW1 commemoration projects we've supported in a new feature on our website, WW1 - Honouring and Remembering.

Content creators may also be interested to know about the role Archives New Zealand can play in providing access to artefacts and film footage that relate to important events in our history.

A lot of footage used in Great War Stories, and in the recent Prime series Making New Zealand, came from Archives New Zealand. You can see 619 of their films on their YouTube Channel at

Archives New Zealand do not charge royalties.

They also hold a large amount of materials that are not paper files, including the bullets from the Crewe murders. If you are interested take a look at this Flickr page

If you want to know more, just email the good folks at Archives. That's


Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

And still in the archive space, we welcome the further steps taken this month towards a single dedicated audio-visual archive. 

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision is the operating name for the New Zealand Archive of Film, Television and Sound Ngā Taonga Whitiāhua Me Ngā Taonga Kōrero.

The new archive was launched on August 1, 2014 by the amalgamation of the collections and staff of the New Zealand Film Archive, the Sound Archives and the Television New Zealand Archive.

Funding deadlines 2015

We have now set the funding deadlines for next year.

Funding Decisions

The latest funding decisions for Television • Radio • Digital MediaMusic 


Arts, Culture and Performance

Vodafone NZ Music Awards 2014
MediaWorks for TV FOUR • 1 x 120 • $165,938

X Factor NZ 2
MediaWorks TV for TV3 • 32 x varous duration = 41 hrs • $800,000

Documentary and Factual

Bogans Heroes
Workhouse for TV2 • 10 x 30 • $321,902

Country Calendar 2015
TVNZ for TV One • 30 x 30 • $425,036

Forensics: The Science Behind The Truth
South Pacific Pictures for Prime • 6 x 60 • $1,019,124

House Hunters
Imagination Television for TV One • 10 x 30 • $686,799

Te Radar's Chequered Past
Zeitgeist Productions TV One • 8 x 30 • $445,240

The Big Ward
Greenstone TV for TV2 •10 x 30 • $433,996

The DNA Detectives
Jam TV for TV One •6 x 60 • $1,045,671


Step Dave 2
South Pacific Pictures for TV2 •13 x 60 • $6,820,420

West Side Story
South Pacific Pictures for TV3 •6 x 60 • $4,818,254

Great Southern Television for TV One •6 x 60 • $6,418,835

Regional Television News & Current Affairs

39 Dunedin News and Southern Newsweek 2014/15
39 Dunedin Television • 288 x 30 • $175,000

Central News 2014/15
TV Central • 240 x 30 • $175,000

Channel North News Programme 2014/15
Channel North TV • 215 x 15 • $90,000

Chatroom 2014/15
Television Hawkes Bay • 138 x 30 • $90,000

City News 2014/15
TV Rotorua • 240 x 30 • $115,000

CTV News First at Five 2014/15
CTV - Channel 40 • 250 x 30 • $240,000

Haukainga - Te Hiku Issues 2014/15
Te Hiku TV • 90 x 15 • $40,000

Mainland TV - Local News 2014/15
Mainland Television • 200 x 20 • $85,000

South Today 2014/15
Cue Television • 220 x 30 • $175,000


Te Puutake Youth Radio Show 2014/15
Various stations • 50 x 60 • up to $170,000

Digital Media

Joint Webseries fund with Te Māngai Pāho

Only In Aotearoa
Kura Productions • Producer - Quinton Hita • $100,000

Kete Kōrero
Tūmanako Productions • Producer - Kay Ellmers/ Director - Casey Kaa • $99,485

Nia's Extra Ordinary Life 2
Kahi Creative & Brown Sugar Apple Grunt • Producer/Director - Jared Kahi • $100,000

Mahinga Ka
Te Rūnunga o Ngāi Tahu • Producer - Adrienne Anderson/ Director - Sampson Karst • $100,000

Mai A Mua
Screentime • Producer - Nix Jaques/Director - Kewana Duncan • $100,000



Making Tracks • Recording and Music Video • $10,000

ATP • Boss'n Up featuring Ill Semantics
Cairo Knife Fight • Rezlord
Drax Project •  Real (Wildcard Winner- June)
For Everyone First XV • Song For Everyone
Gareth Thomas •  All Eyes In The Room
Grand Rapids • Go On  
J Williams • Breathe featuring Brooke Duff
Jason Kerrison • I Don't Care What They Think
Jonathan Bree •  Blur
Jonathan Bree • Murder
K.One • Love Don't Live Around Here
Katie Thompson • Leave Your Hat On (Wildcard Winner - May)
Lightning Bells •  Make Change
Lightning On Me • Just Too Cool
Little Oceans • Northern Eyes
Luke Thomspon • Keep Rolling On
Maya Payne • Submerge
Mzwetwo • Young Stunna
Princess Cjelsea • Is It All Okay?
Racing • Fango (Carnivalize)
Shapeshifter • Beat 25
Shihad • FVEY
Shihad • Song For No One
Strange Babes •  Come Back Around
The Impending Adorations • The Best Is Yet To Come
The Sami Sisters • August Song
Weird Together • Arcadia Africa

Making Tracks • Making a Music Video • $6,000

@Peace • Matter
Aldous Harding • Stop Your Tears
Alexander Wildwood • Bad Blood
Bailey Wiley • IXL featuring Raiza Biza
CYydel • I Love You
Decortica • Dihex
Drew • Next Time featuring Sid Diamond
Electric WIire Hustle • Bottom Line
Jesse Sheehan • Meredith
Imagine This • Find A Way
Imagine This • Hits The Fan featuring Thomas Stowers
Janine + The Mixtape • Walk Away
Lisa Crawley • Stranger
Little Moon • Sparklehorse
Marlon Williams • Strange Things
Midnight Gallery • Memory
No • North Star
Opiuo • Quack Fat
Orchestra Of Spheres • 2,000,000 Years
Sid Diamond • Show Me The Paper
Sola Rosa • Both Of Us
Sorceress • Treat The Feel
Supermodel • Candy Rose
Team Dynamite • Coconut Lime featuring Che Fu
The Heart Of Katherine • Out Of Sight Out Of Mind
The Naked + Famous • What We Want