It’s a shook-up screen world out there:
- TVNZ – RNZ merger
- Screen Sector Investment Review
- Screen Industry Worker Bill
- Reform of Vocational Education
- Netflix losing 200k subscribers, forcing a change in direction.
- European film funding bodies reviewing their roles as guardians of national culture and identity, whether or not film has a place in it still, and how best to utilise soft government money funds in the face of the streamer investment onslaught.
- Theatrical box office making a comeback and a possible relook at a theatrical window before streaming release.
- Sales agents and distributors becoming production entities and getting in on scripts at an early stage to help ensure their existence in the SVOD world.
- The loss of IP, rights and secondary revenues in return for streamer commissions.
- Production costs up 20 – 40% to deal with COVID.
As if all the above wasn’t enough, we have:
- the Head of TVNZ News on gardening leave and an internal review of recruitment policies, processes and practices there after the Kamahl Santamaria fiasco.
- And at NZFC, the CEO is also tending the veges while an independent review of conflict of interest policies and practices is underway in regard to the CEO role and board members.
All that said, there’s some positivity for us all:
- Nude Tuesday and Whina are about to get their releases.
- Kid Sister has brought a new perspective to NZ TV series.
- There are close to 20 Premium Production Fund projects funded, the majority of which will come to screen in the next three years.
- There are multiple projects underway with the usual NZ On Air and TMP funding.
- Netflix has at least two projects shooting here at the moment.
- Taika’s HBO Max Our Flag Means Death is announced to come our way for Season 2.
- Power Rangers continues to bam and kapow.
- A few other internationals are eyeing up the NZ scene.
One could be forgiven for thinking it’s all rosy. Commercials however have not recovered from the COVID hit, with few being shot here.
Meanwhile, we have the real estate market tanking (good news some say), inflation on the rise, food prices increasing, a possible recession on the way, a war with global impact in Ukraine and climate change hitting Fiji as well. No wonder post-apocalyptic films and shows are on the rise.
On TVNZ Breakfast this morning, refreshingly sans its over-effusive, regular team, one of the topics of discussion was the US Federal Reserve on Wednesday raising its benchmark interest rate by 75 basis points—marking its biggest rate hike in 28 years—and the impact it would have for NZ. TVNZ political reporter Katie Bradford, when prompted to give financial advice, suggested to be “careful with your money” (with a disclaimer to consult your financial advisor). Seemed like sound advice to me.
As far as our screen industry goes, I don’t have any wise words to offer. But I would say there’s definitely something in the air. Hopefully it’s the sweet smell of perfume rather than silage.