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Monday, July 22, 2024

Funding Injection for NZ’s Shortland Street Hospital Drama

Long running NZ hospital drama Shortland Street has been given a shot in the arm from NZ On Air following a New Zealand Government 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 NZD$3 million injection of public media funding to help secure another year of the show.

In the latest funding round 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. Outside of New Zealand, Shortland Street can be seen on 7Plus in Australia, RTÉ in Ireland, Fiji One, and Amazon Freevee in the UK.

“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.”

According to NZ On Air, 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.


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