View from the Top banner

With the Youth-focused funding announced yesterday by NZ On Air, and the joint announcement of Scripted funding by NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho to a combined total of over $15 million dollars, there was an audible sigh of relief heard on the bleak New Zealand media landscape.

This is an injection of revenue into our domestic production base that will deliver more work to New Zealand businesses and screen workers, amidst a lowering in production funding from two of our three main funding bodies being NZ On Air and NZFC, while TMP’s funding for the moment remains unchanged.

I wanted to focus in on the Youth-focused funding announcement as it’s a telling signal for a number of reasons.

NZ On Air in its press release said: “The Within My Reach call for proposals was a response to the 2022 Where Are the Youth Audiences research which showed a social media-first approach would be needed to reach 15-24 year old audiences.”

More simply and bluntly put, 15 – 24 year old audiences don’t watch NZ free to air broadcast any more. Every parent knows this.

I thought, however, that its more revealing to look at the funding slightly differently:

 Int’l PlatformsInt’l + NZ Platforms Funding
First Place, 5 x 12′YouTube, Facebook, InstagramThe Coconet TV, TVNZ+ $  970,000.00
Literally Dead, 8 x 8′YouTube $  526,990.00
Bloke Of The Apocalypse, 6 x 6′YouTube $  472,368.00
The Sender, 17 x 2′Instagram Reel, TikTok, YouTube $  375,000.00
The Regions, 5 x 7’YouTube, Instagram, Facebook,Re:, TVNZ+ $  505,115.00
Beyond The Beat, 5 x 8 – 12′, and 50 x 15 – 60”, 1 x music videoYouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook $  500,000.00
Pā Life, 5 x 10’YouTube, Facebook, InstagramTVNZ+ $  463,788.00
Kaputī With The Cuzzies, 10 x 20′YouTube $  194,311.00
Sight Unseen, 5 x 5-10’YouTube, TikTok, $  186,767.00
What Sex Ed Didn’t Teach You, 15 x 90”YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and TikTokRe: $  178,550.00
The Gender AgendaYouTube$  395,115.00
d8talk, 230 x 1’Instagram Reels, Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube $  149,386.00
 $2,613,170.00  $2,304,220.00


What this tells us is that International Platforms get $2.6 million in funded content from NZ On Air with no contribution to the funding as far as I can tell. In other words, free funded programming with NZ content hooks to wrap advertising around, to take advertising dollars away from NZ businesses like TVNZ. Not only that, they also get a bite of the pie going to the local platforms, too. More importantly for the international platforms, though, they still are not required to contribute to local NZ production via mechanisms like the previous government’s proposed Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill, a streamer levy, quota or such like, to make them ante up. At least a small sigh of relief from them, I’d think.

The other clear indicator here is that half the funding went to projects with no broadcast commitment. Free to air, yes, but via digital platforms.

Now you can’t blame NZ On Air for enabling the international platforms. They have a requirement to serve local eyeballs. With 18 – 24 year-old Kiwis not watching linear and getting most of their screen content from the international platforms, they have to go there—this in the hope that young Kiwis will discover and watch that NZ content amongst the global offerings. And that NZ content might find international eyeballs in sufficient numbers to stimulate a positive response.

Example: one of our member directors, Victoria Boult, created TikTok series Noob funded by a NZ On Air, Screen Australia AND TikTok initiative that she turned into a half-hour TV series, which she wrote and directed on. It’s in post now and will play out on Warner Bros. Discovery here.

From a $53,000 TikTok series to a $1.5 million local TV show is definitely a positive for all concerned.

We all know the game has changed in our business. Forever. There’s a new reality.

Global media entities now exert far greater influence on us than ever before. Significant government action is required NOW if we are to have even a small chance of surviving the onslaught. Should that happen, there would be a collective sigh of relief from us all… for awhile.


Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

Last updated on 24 April 2024

DEGANZ members Caroline Bell-Booth, Josh Frizzell, and Charlie Haskell are set to direct the new Queenstown-set detective series A Remarkable Place to Die. The name references the area’s renowned mountain range, The Remarkables.

With four 90-minute episodes, the show will follow Anais Mallory when she returns to her hometown only to find a series of startling homicides. The detective has to confront past ghosts while trying to solve the current mysteries that threaten her and her family.

Creator Philly de Lacey shared in a Variety article,

Queenstown’s stunning landscape paired with its tapestry of unconventional characters, provide the perfect backdrop for this gripping murder mystery. Viewers will be drawn into the world of Detective Anais Mallory as she uncovers intriguing secrets.

The show is a co-production between Screentime New Zealand and Real Film Berlin, in association with Banijay Rights. It will air in Germany, the US, and Aotearoa with ZDF, Acorn TV, and TVNZ.

We look forward to watching when it’s out!

Last updated on 24 April 2024

This news piece contains references to sexual abuse. Please proceed with care.

DEGANZ member Emma Patterson edited TVNZ’s new docu-drama, The Lost Boys of Dilworth.

The hour-long special uncovers the extensive history of abuse within the Auckland all-boys school following the 2023 Dilworth Inquiry and the ongoing impacts on the victims’ lives. The inquiry revealed the experiences of 177 former students and indicated the total number of victims is likely over 230. Mark Staufer, a former student and victim of abuse as a boarder in the 1970s, led the project as the writer and narrator.

The documentary features interviews with re-enactments, shot from the child’s perspective. Co-director Peter Burger shared with Stuff that the dramatised scenes accentuate the true impact of the abuse on the children, which is further emphasised by Emma’s editing.

While covering such dark subject matter, the documentary ultimately hopes to help break the silence around sexual violence.

The Lost Boys of Dilwoth is available to watch on TVNZ+.

Last updated on 24 April 2024

TVNZ’s new drama series Testify, directed by DEGANZ members David Stubbs and Paula Whetu Jones, is out now. Paula was also one of the series’ writers alongside Gavin Strawhan.

The big-budget series is chock full of drama, diving deep into the destructive power dynamics of an Evangelical megachurch based in Auckland. David, a charismatic youth pastor, clashes with Scott, his father and church leader when pushing for more inclusivity within the religious community. He forms an unlikely alliance with a queer podcaster and together, they uncover a conspiracy of historic sexual abuse in the church.

The show also features fellow member Jessica Grace Smith as Emmeline, Scott’s obedient daughter and supposedly happily married with two kids.

All episodes of Testify are available on TVNZ+ now!

Last updated on 24 April 2024

The New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) has offered equity investments to two feature films with DEGANZ members Rebecca Tansley and Rouzie Hassanova involved.

My Name is Pati is a feature documentary with Rebecca as the writer/director and producer. The film will receive up to $865,638. The project is about “The remarkable story of Samoan brothers who sang their way onto the world’s greatest opera stages.”

Fellow member Rouzie is one of three producers for Mārama, a feature drama also granted funding of up to $2,420,000 from NZFC. The film’s logline is “1859. When a young, Māori woman is summoned under mysterious circumstances from New Zealand to North Yorkshire, she uncovers the horrifying truth of her colonial heritage and must destroy the titled Englishman who has devastated her family.”

Read more here.

Last updated on 24 April 2024