Introduction

This page is intended to help funded content creators, platforms and service providers find information on what NZ On Air is doing in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The page is updated regularly - but if you can't find what you need to know here send us an
email and we will help you.

Current status

Updated 1 April 2020

NZ On Air is able to operate remotely - all our staff are well-equipped to work from home and we are keeping all our usual functions going, with the exception of face-to-face meetings.As of today we have three key focus areas:

  • Gathering information so that we have a good picture of the impacts of Covid-19 on the sectors we support, both immediate in the lockdown phase, and in the longer term
  • Providing immediate advice and support to our stakeholders - including adjusting delivery deadlines and deliverables where needed
  • Processing payments for completed work.

The information we are gathering is both to inform our own response, and to ensure Government understands the sectors' needs, especially where these are not helped by the government's extensive relief package.

Rapid Response RFP

We are very conscious of the profound impact the current lockdown restrictions are having on our creative sector. And we also know that some of you are raring to go with some excellent ideas for projects that could be produced from the confinement of your bubbles.

So we've reached down the back of the couch and set up a modest fund for a lightning fast RFP round. The RFP is calling for Scripted or Factual projects that can be made now, in lockdown. We're looking for fast turnaround, innovative ideas. Our intent with this RFP is to both source some new content for New Zealanders who are stuck at home, but also to provide some much needed paid work for creatives, also stuck at home!

Full details are in the RFP document below. Proposals must be submitted via our online application portal by 4pm next Monday 6 April. We will be making decisions by 14 April and fast-tracking contracts so that successful projects can get straight into the creating.

Available Extended Platform Rights content

One area of Covid-19’s impact is the delivery of scheduled local content to local broadcasters. NZ On Air has been thinking of ways we can help, and ensure audiences see more local content on air. We have prepared a list below of funded projects for which our Extended Platform Rights apply. This is a list of (mostly screen) projects which at some stage (if not right now) will 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).

Digital Signatures Policy

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

We will review it again once NZ has returned to Level 1 permanently.

If you have any concerns about this policy, or wish to check on the status of your contracts, any questions should be directed to Benedict Reid and Conall Aird in the first instance.

Advice on News and Media as an essential service

Many media organisations have been asking if they are 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 have put out the below guidance.

Potential for rental rebate

With respect to property leases and rent payments, we understand there are emerging legal views are that many tenants can now claim a full rental and OPEX abatement if their lease contains a “No Access in Emergency” clause (typically clause 27.5 in the ADLS lease template). That clause requires that there is both an emergency AND “the tenant is unable to gain access to the premises to fully conduct the Tenant’s business from the premises because of reasons of safety of the public or property……..”With non-essential business directed to close their places of work, legal views are that the second limb of the test is now met.This ability to abate rent and outgoings (for non-essential business) could provide a cash flow benefit.

  • If you are an essential business operating from your leased premises OR not on the current ADLS Lease form the position is more complex and you may need separate legal advice on your rights and obligations.

You may wish to start with a conversation with your landlord about the clauses in your lease and potential options in the current circumstances. We understand that some landlords are actively seeking to confer generous rent abatements in the interim period whilst others are adopting a wait and see approach.

Scripted and Factual content

We have been hearing from a large number of content producers about the impacts on your productions. In Alert Level 4 with the national lockdown you are all very limited in what you are able to do. And, importantly, you have whanau and staff/contractors to consider.

Below we answer some of the questions we are being asked:

I can't complete my project to the deadline in my contract, there will be cost overruns, and I might need to change what I deliver. What do I do?
Get in touch with us via funding@nzonair.govt.nz . One of our funding team will be able to help. Our priority is on ensuring the content can be delivered safely, at some point. We will be flexible.

I've just completed my project , or will do shortly, can I still get paid?
Absolutely! Please send your final cost report as normal. Please don't send hard-drives at this stage as we are unable to get a mail redirect - we will ask for these later. We will require an email confirmation that the project is delivered.

Where do I go for help or advice on staying safe and healthy, or applying for government assistance?
See the useful links and resources section below.

I submitted an application to the May round - will it still be considered?
The current round is going ahead. We are assessing the submitted applications with a particular eye to what projects can feasibly progress in the current environment. We will be contacting supporting platforms to provide additional information about each application in this regard, which will inform our assessment.

Will you still be running the July round?
We have been hearing from a lot of people in the industry that the certainty of having funding rounds and the ability to plan to start cranking up production again as soon as possible is really important. While it's clearly not BAU at present, looking to the future it is vital so that jobs in the sector can be sustained, and great creative ideas keep flowing. We are thinking about what the appropriate priorities we will be for the July round and will issue Information for Applicants as usual when the round opens.

Music

We are working closely with the wider music sector to understand what help is needed right now, and in the longer term, so that NZ music stays vibrant and healthy. There are a number of initiatives underway. Resources and updates from the music industry organisations Recorded Music NZ, Music Commission, APRA, and Music Helps can be found through the Recorded Music NZ updates page.

Please make sure you register your lost live gig opportunities at I lost my gig NZ.

There is a great deal of uncertainty at present and we know that's unsettling.
Here are a few of the questions we can answer at this stage:

I have received funding to record a song/video or album/EP but I can't work on it right now. Will I lose the funding?
Absolutely not. Please get in touch with the Music team at newmusic@nzonair.govt.nz and we will work through this with you. Our goal is still to ensure there's great NZ music on radio and online - we just may need some patience and innovation to get there!

Will my song release still get promoted or is there no point going ahead with releases at the moment?
We are still here doing what we do - promoting great NZ music to radio stations and the streaming platforms, and pushing it out via our social channels. New Zealanders need music to get us all through!

Can I still apply for funding?
Yes we will be continuing to run our funding rounds as usual.

What else can you do to help - we are struggling?!
We are gathering information and liaising with all parts of the industry to ensure we do the right things. We are thinking hard about what we can do and will keep you informed as things progress. In the meantime, make sure you have looked at all possibilities for assistance via the government's announced relief package.

Funded platforms and services

Firstly, to all those people making sure these vital public media platforms and services continue to be delivered to NZ audiences, thank you! Your presence is vital and especially so right now.

We have been contacting many of you for information so that we understand the logistical and financial pressures you are under as a result of Covid-19. We are providing this information to Government so that they understand the immense pressures you are working under. And we have been thinking hard about what we can do to help.

Here's what we can tell you right now:

Will our annual operational funding come through as normal?
Yes we are on top of this and pending approvals of funding applications (in the current round) payments will continue as normal.

Can we get some immediate help - we need new equipment or just help to cover extraordinary costs?
Please get in touch and tell us what your needs are. Email funding@nzonair.govt.nz and tell us what your problem is. We can and will look at innovative solutions so that NZers can continue to enjoy your services.

Are we classed as 'essential services' under the Level 4 lockdown?
Please read the advice issued by the Minister and Ministry. But remember that safety comes in all situations.

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 Corona-virus free go here.

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

If you are a music artist who has had gigs cancelled please register on I Lost My Gig NZ

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