5 July 2024

Shortland Street fans can breathe a sigh of relief, with NZ On Air giving a shot in the arm to the much-loved daily hospital drama.

Following on from the Government’s decision this week to adjust the rules for applications to the Screen Production Rebate (SPR) making the 32 year old show now eligible*, NZ On Air has also approved a $3m injection of public media funding to help secure another year of the show.

In the latest funding round decided this week just over $14.1m in production funding has been confirmed for nine Scripted projects, of which NZ On Air has confirmed Shortland Street is one.

NZ On Air Chief Executive Cameron Harland says the decision is consistent with the agency’s fundamental purpose to reflect New Zealand identity and culture.

“NZ On Air exists to ensure Aotearoa’s stories and voices are seen and heard in our media. But that’s under serious threat right now due to the rapid decline in ad revenue that has hit every commercial media organisation,” said Mr Harland.

“In the past, platforms have been able to commercially fund a lot of local content, but that’s changed. In an environment in which a huge quantity of global content is readily available, it is vital to our culture that we retain as many local stories on screens as possible ,” he continued.

NZ On Air funded Shortland Street for its first four years, until it had reached the point of commercial viability. This week’s funding decision will allow South Pacific Pictures and TVNZ time to come up with a more viable commercial business model for production and distribution beyond the next year.

“The current financial stress on the media environment has further increased the pressure on NZ On Air funding. As always, we weigh every funding decision carefully, ensuring there’s a breadth of content available, serving many different New Zealand audiences.”

The decision provides a strong return on investment given the size of the engaged audience, the volume of content produced, and the training and industry capability-building aspects of the show.

* The Screen Production Rebate is administered by the NZ Film Commission, which assesses rebate applications against the criteria. NZ On Air’s funding commitment is subject to Shortland Street ultimately being approved the rebate.

Funding details:

Shortland Street, 138 x 22’, South Pacific Pictures for viewing on TVNZ+ and TVNZ 2, up to $3,000,000