July 2017 Newsletter

A note from the CEO

Chief Executive, Jane Wrightson

Our first funding round under the new NZ Media Fund is done and dusted. There's been a lot of learning here as we threw out the old way of working and rang in the changes. Thanks for your willingness to adapt - there've been very few snafus on the process front.

We always expected that with such comprehensive change we would need it to be evolutionary - so there are a few tweaks that will be implemented before the next round, to help things run smoother. There's more on this below.

At our Board meeting last week we had an excellent discussion about drama. There are several competing tensions in this space: changing audience behaviour, production cost, audience measurement, how to develop new voices, how to maintain skills, keeping creativity and diversity in the mix, and taking risks in a volatile environment. As the principal funder of small-screen drama we believe it is time for the industry to come together for a good conversation. We are looking for collective wisdom on meeting the challenges local drama faces, and to help drama producers identify new opportunities. The ultimate goal is always that quality local drama is loved and watched.

Details are below for a forum we are hosting later in the year. I encourage you to get involved.

As for funding this round - there were tough decisions, winners and losers. We supported a large number of broadcast proposals, where the most eyeballs and co-investment are. Newer platforms need to demonstrate they have reasonable audiences, and some of the business cases for online content still need work. But we are really encouraged by the ideas coming forward.

This meeting we farewelled Board member Ross McRobie who has served two terms (sounds like a sentence but I think he enjoyed it!) Ross has made a huge contribution to the Board, with his broadcasting background, and his expert leadership of the Audit & Risk Committee. We welcome Dunedin's Stuart McLaughlin to the Board table in his place.

The next funding round closes on 10 August and decisions are finalised on 27 September.

Ngā mihi,


Drama conversation

Save the date: Thurs 21 September 10 am - 4pm (approx)

Location: Auckland, venue TBC

This will be a forum to stimulate conversations between producers, directors, broadcasters and platforms, guilds, actors, and writers, and develop some possible new responses to rapid change.

We will share data so trends are understood. We want to see wide but balanced representation across the sector but we will also need to cap numbers so that conversations are fruitful.

Please register your interest for the event by email now.  We will send out formal invitations to those who have registered once we have details finalised.

Operations update

Tweaks to our process

We consider the new NZ Media Fund processes to be a learning curve, and learn we have. The standard of the applications to the first round of the NZMF in July was so high that we have decided to remove an early assessment stage. (This stage was intended to swiftly set aside applications that were clearly incomplete or ineligble, so we could concentrate on the rest.)

The change will mean that all eligible applications will be read and assessed by at least three assessors and then referred to the Staff Investment Committee or the Board for a final funding decision.

We will still be assessing all applications using the nine funding principles of the NZ Media Fund.

New contracts

Thank you to those who provided feedback on the proposed new Standard Funding Agreement for Scripted and Factual content. We are working our way through the feedback and considering what changes need to be made. We hope to have the new Agreement confirmed and in use within the next fortnight.

NZ Media Fund Decisions

This round was for Scripted and Factual projects. We received 87 applications in total. Seven projects were not assessed as they did not meet the funding criteria. Generally the quality of applications was good. There were some applications for online projects that did not have platform support, or could not provide enough key information and data to support their application. However there some good ideas here that with some guidance may be able to cross the line in future rounds.

Eight Scripted production applications were supported and 27 Factual. There was a good mix of new projects and returning content in both streams.

Scripted content

We invested $15.5m in this round in Scripted content, and supported a further 12 projects with development funding. This will ensure new ideas continue to be developed, as we look harder at the drama genre and seek new solutions.

New content supported includes a dramatisation of the Teina Pora story of wrongful conviction, and renowned NZ journalist Peter Arnett's pivotal face to face interview with Osama bin Laden. A musical feature and an online fantasy gaming story round out the new projects.

Jono And Ben, Mediaworks for Three

Westside fans reacted with delight to the news a fourth series has been supported. While much was made of an overnight ratings dip after two weeks, week three saw a pleasing rebound - and we know many tens of thousands more viewers will be enjoying the series on demand. It is unrealistic today to rely solely on overnight ratings, or even weekly consolidated figures - they are only a part of the picture.

Arguably NZ’s most successful comedy series, 7 Days and Jono And Ben, will also return next year along with another series of The Watercooler.

Factual content

Factual content supported in this round covers topics as diverse as popular music, history, politics, health, natural history, te ao Māori and stories from the fringes of society. We have funded content for a wider variety of platforms, and therefore a wider range of audiences, than ever before.

New to contestable funded content is RNZ: we decided to support an application from Great Southern for an interactive online project hosted on a sub-site of RNZ on the New Zealand Wars. The project will include a documentary, podcast, battle reconstruction and online museum, telling the story of the 19th century NZ wars.

We have taken a policy position that RNZ is an eligible platform for independently-produced projects (it's own ring-fenced funding supports in-house production). RNZ is expected to contribute to a production budget, like all platforms, and successful applications are likely to be for content that is distinctly different to its usual content.

Television viewers will enjoy a new heart-racing documentary series of thrilling encounters with our oceans’ biggest predators. The project Ocean Predators for Prime sees a new production team made up of some familiar faces.

Politicians will face an unprecedented grilling in an election series which will place them before school children where they will answer questions that only kids could ask. Face The Classroom will screen on TVNZ1.

Online documentaries for the NZ Herald, The Coconet.TV and newcomer to the funded patch, widen both the diversity of content and the target audiences.

You can read the full list of funded content under Funding Decisions below.


APRA Silver Scroll Top 20 announced

The 2017 APRA Silver Scroll Awards is to be held in Dunedin at the end of September, and recently the Top 20 nominees were announced, with voting on the songs now open to APRA members. Of the top 20 songs, half were supported with NZ On Air funding, including tracks by Aldous Harding, Teeks, Chelsea Jade, Fazerdaze, Grayson Gilmour, Louis Baker, Nadia Reid and Alien Weaponry, while 18 of the 20 songs were from NZ On Air-supported artists.

You can listen to the playlist of all twenty of this years incredible Top 20 songs on Spotify here .

Some of the 2017 Apra Amcos Silver Scroll Finalists

Year One of New Music Funding complete

We have completed the first full year of New Music funding with the Single and Project schemes. We have funded a total of 39 New Music Projects which encompass a variety of multi-song releases including eps and albums. Alongside this, a further 130 New Music Singles have been funded across a broad range of genres. One of the key changes under the New Music funding schemes was more emphasis and resource for promotions activity to help connect funded songs with the audience.

Listen - Latest NZ music releases

Check our Fresh Cuts playlist on Spotify for a selection of the latest NZ releases here, or our iHeart Radio NZ Top 20 stream here.

Children's project update

We are making excellent progress, with TVNZ, on the new online chidren's platform.

Following a workshop with children’s content creators, games designers, interactive producers and storytellers earlier this month, we have compiled a list of Questions & Answers on our website.

The information will be updated regularly as we firm up our plans and as we field more questions along the way. The first content decisions for the platform will be made at the September round.

Also, if you’re interested in creating children’s content we have a growing list of people and their projects that you are welcome to add yourself to. It’s a place to find collaborators and co-creators and it’s also the list that we are regularly communicating with about the new children’s platform. If you want to be 'in the know' you will want to be on this list.


Industry news

NZ TV Awards - entries are open

We encourage the creators of the fabulous content we've funded for TV or online to consider entering the new NZ TV Awards. We've supported these awards as a sponsor to show our support for the excellent level of skill and creativity you display in your work. The two planned events will also be an opportunity to come together and celebrate our industry. Find out more about the Awards here.

Screensafe guidelines

ScreenSafe has completed the first four of five sections in the New Zealand Screen Sector Health and Safety Guidelines available online free at along with a selection of new templates.

ScreenSafe has been progressively developing the new Guidelines to replace the existing industry Code of Practice, with information and updated recommendations for best-practice under the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 which came into effect in April 2016.

The Guidelines are in five sections offering an easy-access resource outlining legal and moral responsibilities and procedures for identifying potential health and safety hazards. They have been developed with input from law firm Minter Ellison Rudd Watts.

Outlook For Someday

As young people around New Zealand start making films for this year’s Someday Challenge last year’s winners are scooping up new awards. For anyone aged up to 24 the annual challenge is to make a sustainability-related film of any genre, filmed with any camera and any length up to 5 minutes.

So far in 2017 three of the winning films from 2016 have gone on to win further awards and another six have been nominated at film festivals in New Zealand and overseas.

The entry deadline for the Someday Challenge in 2017 is 8 September.

Congratulations to Able

Our congratulations to the team at Able who have received the 2017 Audio Description Achievement Award-International, awarded by the American Council of the Blind and its Audio Description Project.

Able has received the recognition for their work captioning and audio describing New Zealand television, now totalling more than 40 hours per week. It is testament to the high quality work they produce for blind and vision-impaired New Zealanders.

Phil Guyan - CBA

And also to the Christian Broadcasting Association

CBA has also been winning more awards (they must have a big trophy cabinet by now!) Recently they've picked upBest Children’s Programme at the NZ Radio Awards, and at the New York Festivals World’s Best Radio Programs 2017:

  • Gold award for Best Writing for Newstalk 33AD (Easter).
  • Silver award for Best Religious Programme for Newstalk 33AD (Easter)
  • Silver award for Best Children/Young Adult Programme for The Crazy Kiwi Christmas Kids Show.

Meet the team

We restructured in January this year, to help us deliver the new processes and systems to manage the NZ Media Fund. In our staff blog we introduce you to team members and explain what they do.

Today meet Hannah Brewer whose title is Music Promoter - Content.

Funding decisions

Decisions for ScriptedFactualPlatformMusic Industry Development



AFK: This World And The Next,10 x 10 mins, Epically Casual Ltd for TVNZ OnDemand, up to $276,420

Daffodils,1 x 100 mins, Libertine Pictures Limited for TVNZ 1, up to $200,000

In Dark Places, 1 x 90 mins, 10,000 Company for TVNZ 1, up to $2,944,175

War Stories, 1 x 84 mins, Making Movies for TVNZ 1,  up to $2,690,000

Westside 4,  8 x 44.5 mins, South Pacific Pictures for THREE,  up to $6,543,500


7 Days 2018, 40 x 32 mins, MediaWorks TV for THREE, up to $1,056,000

Jono And Ben 2018, 26 x 44 mins, MediaWorks for TV THREE, up to $1,750,000

The Watercooler 2, 6 x 6 mins, Breakdown Productions for WatchMe, up to $120,000

Skip Ahead 2, tbc, various creators for Google/YouTube, up to $150,000



Coast New Zealand 3, 6 x 43 mins, Great Southern Television for TVNZ 1, up to $1,808,685

Country Calendar 2018, 38 x 22.5 mins, TVNZ for TVNZ 1, up to $538,384

Face The Classroom, 2 x 44 mins, Screentime New Zealand for TVNZ 1, up to $213,335

Great War Stories 2018, 7 x 4 mins, A C Productions for THREE, up to $109,500

How Not To Get Cancer, 4 x 44mins, Feather and Wolf Media Ltd for TVNZ 1, up to $692,355

I Am..., 6 x 44 mins, Screentime New Zealand for TVNZ 1, up to $749,949

In Foreign Fields, 1 x  52 mins, Ponsonby Productions for Māori Television, up to $197,634

Intake, 7 x 26 mins, Diva Productions for Māori Television, up to $310,475

Marks Of Mana, 1 x 45 mins, Tikilounge Productions for The Coconet.TV,up to $119,834

Millennium Teens, 1 x 44 mins, Greenstone TV for TVNZ 1, up to $174,781

Mistress Mercy, 1 x 88 mins, The Gibson Group for TVNZ 1, up to $1,109,750

National Anthems, 5 x 52 mins, Notable Pictures for Prime,  up to $1,324,608

New Zealand Wars, 2 x 30 mins, Great Southern Television for RNZ,  up to $468,000

Ocean Predators, 3 x 44 mins, Ocean Answers Ltd for Prime, up to $767,030

Sharing The Love, 1 x 20 mins, Cabrikaan Productions Limited for WatchMe, up to $72,117

The Demolition Teams, Series Broadcast Media for Prime, 10 x 22 mins, up to $369,540

The Road To Rhythm - 15 Years Of Rhythm And Vines, 4 x 10 mins, NZME. Publishing for NZ Herald, up to $146,847

The Ultimate School Jam, 4 x 44 mins, Pango Productions Limited for TVNZ 1,  up to $730,037

Zealandia, White Paper Industries Limited for, 3 x 20 mins, up to $74,675


Anzac Dawn Service 2018, 1 x 95 mins, Māori Television for Māori Television, up to $77,442

Attitude Awards 2017, 1 x 59 mins, Attitude Pictures for TVNZ 1, up to $162,100


Game Of Bros 3, 7 x 26 mins, Tikilounge Productions for Māori Television, up to $348,392

The Nutters Club 2017, 18 x 95 mins, The Key To Life Charitable Trust for Newstalk ZB, up to $26,520

Regional media

Haukainga 2017/18, 180 x 3 mins, Te Reo Irirangi O Te Hiku O Te Ika (Inc) for Te Hiku Television, $180,000

Local Focus 2017/18, 480 x 2 mins, Very Nice Productions Ltd for NZME. Publishing, $400,000

Star.Kiwi/CTV 2017/18, 672 x 2.5 mins, Star Media Ltd for Star Media Ltd, $261,000

The South Today 2017/18, 1200 x 1 mins, Allied Press for Allied Press, $397,000


Samoa Capital Radio 2017/18, Siufofoga o Le Laumua Trust, $180,000

Access Manawatu 2017/18, Manawatu Access Radio Charitable Trust, $170,000

Access Radio Taranaki 2017/18, Access Radio Taranaki Trust, $178,000

Air Project (Various Stations) 2017/18, Waikato Community Broadcasting, $44,942

Arrow FM 2017/18, Access Radio Wairarapa Charitable Trust, $138,000

Coast Access Radio 2017/18, Coast Access Radio Trust, $135,000

Free FM 2017/18, Waikato Community Broadcasting, $237,500

Fresh FM 2017/18, Tasman Broadcasting Trust, $170,000

Otago Access Radio 2017/18, Hills Radio Trust, $178,000

Plains FM 2017/18, The Canterbury Communications Trust, $235,000

Planet FM 2017/18, Access Community Radio Auckland Inc., $250,000

Radio Kidnappers 2017/18, Radio Kidnappers Charitable Trust, $175,000

Radio Southland 2017/18, Radio Southland, $175,000

Wellington Access Radio 2017/18, Wellington Access Broadcasting Society Inc., $220,000



New Zealand Music Awards 2017,  MediaWorks TV for Three, $170,000

NZ Music Features

95bFM 17/18, 95bFM, $220,000

Base FM 17/18, Base FM, $120,000

Pulzar FM 17/18, Pulzar FM, $60,000

Radio Active 17/18, Radio Active NZ, $140,000

Radio Control 17/18, Massey University Students Association, $75,000

Radio One 17/18, Otago University Students' Association, $120,000

RDU 17/18, RDU 98.5FM, $140,000

The Most FM 17/18, Taranaki FM Trust (The Most FM), $60,000

Industry Development

Show Me Shorts 2017, Show Me Shorts Film Festival Trust, up to $3,000

Waiata Māori Music Awards 2017, Waiata Māori Awards Charitable Trust, up to $10,000

Association of Community Access Broadcasters Conference 2017,Waikato Community Broadcasting, $1,300

The Church Seminars/Sessions, MTCO, up to $15,000