Providing innovation, creativity and diversity on television

Our funding strategy for television programmes reflects our values. We look for: innovation and creativity in programme proposals; diversity of faces, stories and storytellers to reflect all New Zealanders; and value for money.

Documentary & Factual

Creating high quality, thought provoking television

Platinum Fund

Quality programmes with something important to say about New Zealand

Drama & Comedy

Telling our stories creatively

Children & Young People

World-class programming for the young

Arts, Culture & Performance

Putting creative New Zealanders on television


Insights to Māori perspectives and stories for a broad New Zealand audience

Special Interest

Allowing New Zealanders from all communities to see themselves on screen

Regional Media

At home with New Zealanders in their regions

What We Fund

Content reaches intended audiences

We balance our investment between a variety of mainstream programmes for large audiences and programmes for specialist or niche audiences. Ratings are a measure of success, but not the only consideration. Programmes of record (ie. content that will have a long shelf life) as well as programmes that are appreciated by smaller, targeted audiences are equally important.

For funding purposes we categorise television services as:

Type 1: the major free-to-air national channels (TV One, TV2, TV3)

Type 2: free-to-air broad-service channels with smaller audiences but national reach (Prime, Māori Television, FOUR, Choice)

Type 3: free to access online aggregators 

Type 4: free-to-air channels broadcasting/publishing regionally

These categories of channels will no longer be relevant from 1 July 2017, when we implement our new single funding strategy. Instead we will be platform neutral.

We do not fund programmes on pay channels – our policy requires funded content to be available free to the taxpayers who’ve funded it (initially at least).

All funding applications must have secured the support of a broadcaster/online publisher which ensures no waste - everything we fund results in a programme being available to an audience of an appropriate size. We do not control when funded programmes are scheduled by the broadcaster, nor do we have any editorial control over funded programmes.

Our priorities

We run five funding rounds a year, with each round considering applications in several genre. We do it this way so that we can compare the merits of applications in a genre and make sound investment decisions

We conduct research into audience needs and regularly assess our funding range to ensure there is a diverse mix of programming. When a gap is identified a targeted 'request for proposal' may be issued to seek content of a certain genre or type.

Every year we survey the amount of New Zealand programmes on television in the Local Content Report. Through this report we monitor the amount of local programming available on free-to-air television, ensuring we are performing our role in maintaining a diverse range of New Zealand voices and stories on screen.

New Funding Strategy from July 1, 2017

In response to massive media disruption and audience change, NZ On Air will move to a single funding strategy and single fund, The NZ Media Fund from 1 July 2017.

The details are below, along with a companion document which outlines issues raised during feedback from stakeholders and our responses. This document helps to clarify why we have taken the approach we have in many instances.