May 2015

May 2015 Newsletter

A note from the CEO

Jane Wrightson - CEO

This month sees the launch of several projects seeking applications or feedback, which we outline below. 

We continue to focus hard on strategy issues and performance improvement. We need to ensure that our funding strategies are fit for purpose in a fast changing world. Our strategies are informed by research and thorough evaluation of the marketplace.

We are now releasing two significant papers: one to stimulate discussion and the other to elicit innovative ideas for content and content delivery. 

The first, Children's Content Funding, looks at possible new directions for supporting children's media. With children leading change in media consumption patterns, it's time for content creators and platform owners to think innovatively about new ways to engage children with great local content.

The second paper reviews regional television. Three regional TV stations have closed in recent months - it would be fair to say most of those remaining face viability issues. Audiences have a plethora of video options to choose from and in some cases channels struggle to attract an audience of scale. We are issuing an Expression Of Interest call- we want new collaborations and ideas for delivering regional content that regional audiences value.

There's more on both subjects below as well as a call for applications for a new Interactive Documentary fund and a new webseries round. 

As we head into 2015/16 I remind all funding applicants that we will be faced with tough decisions. With static funding for the past eight years we have looked down the back of the couch and juggled for all our worth. We will have to continue shaking things up a bit in order to continue to deliver on our mandate, but will still focus on fair, transparent decision-making. 

We were very pleased to maintain our funding levels in the Budget last week. We'll be publishing our Statement of Performance Expectations shortly, which sets our budgets and targets for 2015/16.

And finally, our silver anniversary year is coming to an end. Thank you to all of our partners through the years who've created the magnificent content that has engaged, entertained and stimulated New Zealand audiences. Special thanks to those partners who've shone a spotlight on the 25th and helped us remind New Zealanders of the value of local stories and songs. After 25 years we are still going strong - thanks to the great passion and creativity of all of you.



Strategy & Policy

Children's Content

We are reviewing our approach to funding content for children. Earlier this year, you will remember we released, along with the BSA, some new research that looked at children's media use behaviour. 

The Children's Content Funding Discussion paper below provides a short overview of the current environment both here and overseas, and looks at the challenges and opportunities.

We have put up some ideas for the future which are intended as a discussion starter. We invite submissions on this paper (deadline 17 July) and will hold a forum later in the year to explore further.

All of the details on how to make a submission are in the paper.

Regional television

We are giving regions a chance to propose their own potential solutions for securing valued regional news and information content, following a review of regional television funding. This follows an independent review conducted for us by former television executive Paul France, alongside our Colmar Brunton audience research in the relevant regions. The review found in most cases small audiences, a weak business proposition, transmission reception problems, and variable production quality.

So we need a step change in delivering regional content to regional audiences. We don't intend to serve all regions: we hope to support multimedia propositions to serve clearly engaged audiences on the platforms they are using.

We have issued an Expression Of Interest seeking ideas for new ways to provide regional news and information services. To help with business planning, we have agreed to roll over existing funding in 2015/16 for incumbent broadcasters for a final year. 

Below are Paul France's review, NZ On Air's response and the EOI  and application form (deadline 21 August).


Industry Development Fund

We are creating a new fund to support wider industry development. Broadly speaking this fund recognises that our existing activities can be complemented with some funding for professional development. All these activities are an investment in the quality of future local content.

We will consider three types of initiatives: national quality awards; national industry conferences; and training for groups of early/mid career industry professionals.

The Industry Development Fund will accept applications twice a year. The first deadline for applications is 14 August 2015.

The paper below sets out the fund's objectives and criteria. Please use the application form to apply. 

Gender & Ethnicity

We mentioned in our April Shorts newsletter that NZ On Air would begin gathering and analysing data on women in our funded television productions. We have now decided to collect gender, ethnicity and regional information about the key above-the-line personnel involved with the projects we fund. 

We will publish this collated data annually so information is available on diversity within key personnel on funded television and digital media. This is part of our Screen NZ work.

We will soon be circulating a survey requesting information about the producers, directors and writers of the television and digital projects we fund. Data will be collected retrospectively for the 2014-15 financial year and we will be requesting that the survey be completed for all new television and digital contracts as part of production reporting requirements.

If you’re approached to complete the survey please do. The more industry data that is publicly available, the more the industry can see and discuss trends. Personal information will not be published. 

Awards galore

The black comedy How To Murder Your Wife has scooped three gorgeous golden men at the NYC International Film Festival.

The film won Best Comedy and Best Photography and Geraldine Brophy won Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of the murdered wife.

The Screentime NZ Platinum Fund telefeature is due to screen later this year on TV One. 

Congratulations to High Road for winning Best Directing (International) and Best Production (Oceania) at the Montreal Webfest as well as making the Official Selection for the Melbourne Web Series Festival this month.

NZ On Air supported the second series of High Road through the Digital Media Fund. You can listen to lead actor Mark Mitchinson (Terry Huffer) talking to Kathryn Ryan on Radio NZ’s Nine to Noon or watch the series online.

And well done also to The Nutters Club radio show (broadcast on Newstalk ZB). They won Best Spoken Programme, Daily or Weekly at the New Zealand Radio Awards with their programme hosted by Mike King, raising awareness of mental health issues. 

OAR station Manager Lesley Paris, community liaison Jeff Harford, Youth co-ordinator Domi Angeloa-Laloli and Chanel O'Brien of Otago Community Broadcasters Society

A big thumbs up too to the team at Otago Access Radio (OAR FM) who were recently presented with the Arts and Culture Award at the Trustpower Community Regional Awards. Access radio are the quiet achievers of our funding family so its nice to see some recognition of the great job they do for diverse audiences.


May round

For the final meeting of the financial year we had 17 applications seeking over $8m. We were pleased to support a small number of diverse projects that round out our slate for the year. Total funding of $1.8 million was confirmed for 27 hours of content.


A 3 x 1 hour documentary series, Kiingitanga – The Untold Story has been supported for Māori Television, providing a rare historical and contemporary insight into the Māori King Movement.

Children & Young People

Classic quiz series University Challenge has been supported for a 19-week season on Prime as students from NZ’s eight universities compete for bragging rights as the team with the best general knowledge.


Minority funding in collaboration with the Film Commission has been provided for the feature film project The Guinea Pig Club. This film will tell the story of renowned NZ plastic surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe whose pioneering work with badly burnt soldiers and airmen in WWII was widely acclaimed. This film will screen on TV One.

Arts, Culture & Performance

The documentary The Dragon Story (funded last year for Prime) has received additional funding to extend the duration of the programme to better tell the story of this iconic Kiwi band.


Additional funding for Jono And Ben has been contributed to extend the 2015 series to 26 x 1 hour.


Captioner at Able at work


The 2015/16 funding for Able who provide the captions and audio descriptions for hearing and sight impaired people has also been approved. While overall funding continues to be constrained, through re-prioritisation within the TV budget we have been able to provide an additional $400,000 for next year, which will support these important services to expand.

Funding for coverage of the annual Attitude Awards for 2015 has been approved for screening on TV One, and also live streaming. These inspirational awards celebrate the achievements of people living with disability as well as the work of people in the disability sector.

Next financial year

As you know, the year ahead is likely to be one of increasingly difficult choices. We appreciate the support we receive from producers and broadcasters in being able to fulfill our priorities. 

In this dynamic environment we will continue to hold fast to our core strategy of maintaining a balance between mainstream and special interest programmes. However, it is an increasingly difficult job. We juggle rising production costs and increasing requests for support in a capped funding environment.

We no longer have the capacity to ‘smooth out’ the growing discrepancy between available funds and the demand on those funds. So it is likely the coming year will bring disappointment to some applicants. Please ensure you discuss upcoming applications with TV Manager Glenn Usmar when they are being prepared. 

Digital Media

Calls for proposals

Our new Interactive Documentary fund is now open for proposals. This is a new focus for the Digital Media Fund that enables online-only interactive documentary projects, but provides additional funding if there is also a broadcast outcome. Read more about what we looking for, the criteria and how to apply in the Interactive Docuemntary Fund Call for Proposals.

Our Webseries fund is also now open for proposals (deadline 1 August). We hope to support up to five webseries this year and we look forward to seeing your ideas! The RFP and templates for applications are all available on our website.

A date for your diaries

Our Digital Strategist Brenda Leeuwenberg will be speaking at the Transmedia NZ MeetUp in Auckland on June 17th at 6pm at the AUT Co-Lab. Details will be made available shortly via the Transmedia meetup page and also through our social media channels. Brenda will be talking about the Digital Media Fund - our focus for 2015/16 and the various funding options that will be available. Anyone is welcome.

New project launch

Last week the first episode of Yours TV launched on the TVNZ On Demand platform. The brainchild of Damian Christie, Yours TV is a current affairs webseries made by teenagers, for teenagers.

Supported by the Digital Media Fund and Auckland University of Technology, the series gives young people the tools to make the show, set the programme outline, carry out the interviews and select topics to discuss that are relevant to them. Watch the series On Demand and find out more on the Yours TV website.


The May meeting considered applications under our new Spoken Radio Programmes funding criteria. The new criteria emphasise delivery on multiple platforms to reach the widest possible audience and using social media to develop an engaged community.

Annual access radio applications will be considered in June. Our funding focus will be on increased delivery of priority content for minority audiences and greater sharing of programmes to extend the range and impact of funded content.


In May, NZ Music Month, we rolled out our new AllTracks online New Zealand music project.

AllTracks is a portal to seven curated playlists of great New Zealand songs, old and new, on Spotify, YouTube and Soundcloud. The playlists group the songs by genre and each is curated by someone from the radio or music community who knows and loves that genre.

Jamie McDell is curating the Pop playlist and Barnaby Weir from The Black Seeds and Fly My Pretties is our Roots & Reggae curator.

AllTracks is all about making it easy to find New Zealand music on the big streaming services and is part of our music promotion work.

Go to, find the genre that you dig, choose Spotify, YouTube or Soundcloud and push play!

Explore New Zealand's Music with Dame Kate Harcourt and our seven genre children

NZ Music Month

NZ Music Month is really the NZ Music Commission’s gig but we all join in to spotlight and celebrate all that is good about New Zealand music in May.

This year we teamed up again with the Radio Broadcasters Association and The Radio Bureau to present a New Zealand music showcase featuring Maya Payne, Maala, Jamie McDell, Anika Moa and Hamilton’s finest, Devilskin.

We also hosted a very successful inaugural hui of music programmers from the alternative radio stations around the country; and we joined with Creative New Zealand, APRA, Recorded Music New Zealand and the NZ Music Commission at the annual NZ Music Month Summit convened by the Music Managers’ Forum.

Devilskin performing at 'The Radio Show' - May 2015 Showcase

Funding decisions

The latest funding decisions for Television • Digital MediaRadio Music 




The Dragon Story  (additional)
Notable Pictures for Prime • 1 x 90 • $25,000

Children's Drama

The Cul De Sac (additional)
Greenstone TV for TV 2 • 6 x 30 • $100,000


Jono and Ben 2015 (additional)
MediaWorks TV for TV3 • 26 x 60 • $285,255


Kiingitanga - The Untold Story
Enter The Dragon for Māori Television  • 3 x 60 • $574,540


The Guinea Pig Club
Crimbil Equities for TV One • 1 x 120 • $199,500

Special Interest

Attitude Awards 2015
Attitude Pictures for TV One • 1 x 60 • $162,200

TV Captioning & Audio Description 2015/16
Media Access Charitable Trust (ABLE) • $2,800,000


University Challenge
CUE Television for Prime • 19 x 30 • $303,918


Digital Media

2015 Attitude Awards Streaming
Attitude Pictures • $16,750 

The Big Sing 2015  
R2 (2011) • $21,998 

The Nutters Club Digital
Top Shelf Productions Ltd • $58,555 

NZ On Screen And Audioculture Website 2015/16
Digital Media Trust • $1,257,027



The Great Big Kids' Show S8
Various Stations • 46 x 60  • $108,365 


Various Stations • 48 x 120 • $75,000 


National Pacific Radio Trust 2015/16
Various stations •  $3,250,000


Real Life With John Cowan 
NewstalkZB  • 48 x 30 • $36,900

Special Interest

The Nutters Club Radio Show
NewstalkZB • 52 x 120 • $73,280 


Te Puutake Youth Radio Show 
Various Stations • 50 x 60 • Up to $185,000 


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

Aurenda • Tunnel Vision (Wildcard)
Avalanche City • Inside Out 
Awa • Summer Vibe Featuring Sir T 
Beastwars • Horse 
Benny Tipene • Lighthouse  
Cairo Knife Fight • Reality Engine 
Charity Children • You Want Me
Chelsea Jade • Low Brow 
Chris Hurn • If I Were You 
Coral • Shooting You Up (Wildcard) 
French For Rabbits • The Lights Go Out 
Husk • Out To Kill 
Husk • Take Your Time 
I Am Giant • Kiss From A Ghost 
Jonathan Bree • Miss You 
Kittens Of The Internet • Bitter 
Lips • Traces Of Teddy 
Massad • Devoted 
Maya Payne • Lucky Ones 
Pnc • Deep 
Randa • Lifeguard (Critics Choice 2014)
Scott Mannion • Your Kinda Love 
Secret Knives • Simple Bliss
Sweet Mix Kids • Wired Featuring Iva Lamkum 
Swiss • Rest Of My Days 
The Phoenix Foundation • Give Up Your Dreams 
The Phoenix Foundation • Mountain 
Twin Cities • Greatest Ever 
Unknown Mortal Orchestra • Necessary Evil 
Villainy • Safe Passage 

Making Tracks • Music Video • $6,000

Barry Conrad • Anywhere We Go 
Bulletbelt • Deathgasm 
Ciaran Mcmeeken • City
Ciaran Mcmeeken • I Need Love 
Dead Beat Boys • 2
Diaz Grimm • Quarterbacks 
J Williams • Piece Of Me Featuring Brooke Duff 
Jesse Sheehan • Girl If You Are Who You Say You Are 
Kong Fooey • Right As Rain Featuring Topaz & David Hasle 
Mel Parsons • Get Out Alive 
Nadia Reid • Call The Days 
Rival State • Keepsake 
Saving Grace • The Anthem Of The Underground 
Setting Fire To Stacey • Vital Signs 
Shapeshifter • Solitaire 
Tom Lark • Baby Give Up
Toni Huata • Hopukia Te Tao 
Troy Kingi • Just A Phase
Yumi Zouma • Second Wave