30 June 2023

This page is an archive of information on the various initiatives and information made available to content creators, platforms and service providers, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. All initiatives have now ended.

Please note the last of the funding assistance packages, the Screen Production Recovery Fund has closed as at 30 June 2023. No further funds are available and no further applications can be accepted.

Screen Production Recovery Fund

The Screen Production Recovery Fund (SPRF) allowed screen productions disrupted by COVID-19 and that met the eligibility criteria to claim reimbursement for costs that could not be covered by their existing budget.

The fund ran until 30 June 2023.

You can see the general eligibility criteria here.

Other assistance

On Monday 12 September 2022, the COVID-19 Protection Framework (AKA the Traffic Light System) ended. With case numbers falling, a highly vaccinated population, and increased access to antiviral medicines to treat COVID-19, public health experts determined it was safe to remove most COVID-19 rules and end border restrictions.

This means that for most settings, including work places and film shoots, we were able to go back to “life as normal”. Mask wearing, physical distancing, testing, etc. was no longer a Government requirement in most situations.

See the ScreenSafe latest Screen Industry Guidance here.

We had enquiries from funded entities asking if there was any policy on whether staff/contractors must be vaccinated against COVID-19.

At NZ On Air we encouraged vaccination, as the only clear path forward towards returning to a 'normal' life, getting business back up and running fully.

We referred to Government guidance on how to approach the issue of whether an employer can require vaccination, and if so in what circumstances.

While the guidance here is specific to public sector employees there is some useful framing, especially around what you might do if someone is unvaccinated.

The Platform Initiative was part of the Government media sector support package announced on 23 April 2020 to help media severely impacted by COVID-19 and is intended to provide immediate and urgent support for the media sector.

NZ On Air received a $16.5 million top up so that we could reduce the required platform contributions by 80% (formerly known as the broadcast licence fee) for new local content for the 2020/2021 financial year. This provided cost relief to the sector as well as ensuring that New Zealanders continued to have access to new and high-quality New Zealand content.

To be eligible for the Platform Initiative you needed to demonstrate that your organisation had been economically or socially impacted by COVID-19 and that you had taken reasonable efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on your business. The Ministry for Culture and Heritage (MCH) assessed eligibility for the Platform Initiative.

All funding applications were required to reflect the full amount of the usual platform contribution so we could determine the 80% reduction where applicable. The deduction was applied to funded projects, subject to the platform having their eligibility approved, when funding decisions were announced.

Please read the full Platform Initiative information, eligibility criteria and application process here.

As part of the process around eligibility for the Platform Initiative, NZ On Air asked each platform to enter into a Public Availability Agreement with NZ On Air.

This provided additional safeguards of existing independent producer rights, and the rights of the NZ public to freely access content subsidised by NZ On Air.

Conscious of the profound impact the lockdown restrictions were having on our creative sector, and with the knowledge that some of you are raring to go with projects that could be produced from the confinement of your bubbles - we issued a Rapid Response RFP on 1 April 2020. With around $400k available, the RFP called for Scripted or Factual projects that could be made in lockdown.

Our intent with this RFP was to source some new content for New Zealanders who are stuck at home, provide some much needed paid work for creatives, also stuck at home, and provide some fresh content to the commercial platforms who have lost significant revenue and some content. We received an overwhelming response - 112 applications seeking $5.6m. You can read about the successful projects in our media release here.

One area of Covid-19’s impact was the delivery of scheduled local content to local broadcasters. To help with this, and to ensure audiences see more local content on air we prepared a list of funded projects for which our Extended Platform Rights apply. This is a list of (mostly screen) projects which at some stage would be available for other local platforms to broadcast/host, as per our Production Funding Agreements with each production company.

  • Producers have the right to charge at a reasonable rate for their time in delivering to these local broadcasters.
  • Producers must also ensure that their Primary Platform’s exclusive rights are maintained (these may be anywhere from 2 weeks of exclusive use through to 1 year, depending on the contract).

One way we immediately responded to the fast changing environment was by introducing a new Digital Signatures Policy. This policy allowed us to continue our work processing contracts during the Covid-19 Level 2 and above period, without the need for physical paperwork, and continues.

Many media organisations asked if they were an "essential service" and therefore able to continue to work through Level 4. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage issued the below guidance.

For information on the government's response to Covid-19 . There is a huge amount of information here.

For information on accessing the wage subsidy, whether for employees or self-employed/contractors go here.

For information on Health and safety measures to keep your workforce Covid-19 free go here.

Also check out the Screen Industry Covid-19 Action Group website for more resources.

For music artists needing well-being support check out MusicHelps.