Since 1989 NZ On Air has measured local free-to-air television content. The Local Content Report compares the schedules of the six national free-to-air channels to observe trends and changes in the local content landscape. The report uses Nielsen Media ratings data to gather a list of all programmes, cross-checks with Listener and TV Guide programme schedules, and then measures the amount of time local content is broadcast. Some highlights from this 2013 report are that 12,145 hours of local content screened, 35% of prime time hours were local content, and Māori Television screened the most local content.
This report measures the local content on the six major free-to-air channels broadcasting in 2013 (TV One, TV2, TV3, Prime, FOUR and Māori Television). Data from Nielsen Media ratings software, Arianna, is used to list all New Zealand made programming. The Nielsen Media data is compared with Listener and TV Guide programme schedules and any variance is investigated and corrected, in some cases in consultation with broadcasters. This allows for all scheduling changes and unlisted short filler programmes to be included in the survey.
Programmes have, in most cases, been counted according to the amount of New Zealand content within the programme. For example, the series 20/20 is recorded as containing one third of an hour of New Zealand content as on average it has two overseas stories and one New Zealand-produced story per episode. There is a degree of arbitrariness to these allocations, but the emphasis is on consistency so trends can be observed.
If a programme straddles prime time (6pm to 10pm) and off-peak it is counted as prime time if the majority of the programme screens in prime time. For example, if a programme begins screening at 9.15pm and concludes at 10.15pm, it is counted as one hour of prime time. If the programme is divided equally between prime time and off-peak it has been counted as prime time.
Programmes are counted from the minute the programme starts to the minute the programme ends. This includes the length of advertising and promotion breaks. This can affect the duration of repeated programming. For example, a 30 minute programme during prime time might be 25 minutes in length when repeated in an off-peak slot.
First run programmes mean programmes that appear on the free-to-air national network for the first time. If a programme screened on Māori Television first, and was then repeated on TV3, the latter screenings are counted as a repeat. Previous screenings on pay television, regional television, or other channels the report does not measure are not counted as the first run.
Local content is classified as material that is made in New Zealand by New Zealanders and which reflects New Zealand identity and culture. Thus programmes that are made in New Zealand with no New Zealand flavour are not counted.
Unless specifically noted, hours are measured and reported on the 18-hour broadcast day (6am to midnight) as introduced in the 2003 report.
Programme hours are divided into eight genre categories defined on the next page. Nielsen designates the genre from a list of more than 40 typologies which are automatically assigned to the genres measured in this report. Because of the external categorisation there are some variances in programme classification and two similar programmes may appear in different genre.
A full list of each programme and the genre it is assigned to is in Appendix 5.
Definitions of Genre classifications
Programmes for young people, including cartoons, variety programmes, magazine-style programmes and information for children. Often in this genre New Zealand presenters are used to provide links between cartoons and other overseas material. Every effort is made to ensure only the New Zealand content is counted in this report. Programmes dubbed or subtitled into te Reo Māori but that are otherwise foreign content are not counted as local content.
New Zealand-made Drama/Comedy. Generally only scripted Comedy is counted in this genre by broadcasters. Variety shows, stand-up or panel Comedies are in some cases counted as Entertainment.
Documentaries One-off programmes and series in a non-magazine format.
Game shows, music programmes, music videos, quizzes, competitions, and light Entertainment shows.
A wide range of programme types, generally with a magazine format and/or an information flavour, as opposed to an entertainment or competitive purpose.
Programmes that have a Māori perspective that do not screen on Māori Television such as Marae, Waka Huia and Te Karere.
This comprises all New Zealand-produced News/Current Affairs programmes. For programmes that are a mixture of New Zealand and overseas material, such as 60 Minutes, only the New Zealand portion is counted.
This category includes all programmes packaged and produced in New Zealand. Where New Zealand teams are playing in overseas events it can continue to be classified as local content if it is shot by a local crew, or if New Zealand athletes are playing a major part.
In 2013, local content on the six free-to-air channels monitored increased by 0.8%, making up 32% of the combined schedules.
Trends are heavily influenced by the volume of hours of News/Current Affairs and Sport programming, which makes up 43% of total local hours.
An 11% decrease in first run content in 2013 continued a five year downward trend. This indicates reduced spending on new productions, and is a reflection of the ongoing difficulties faced post-global financial crisis by free-to-air broadcasters.
Repeat screenings comprised 5,302 hours (4,384 in 2012), accounting for almost half of all local content at 44%. A major reason for the increase in repeats is that 2013 was the first full year that Māori Television broadcast from 10.00am daily, and the additional five hours a day were primarily repeats of Māori language learning programmes.
Overall local content comprised 35% of prime time schedules (the same level as 2012).
By genre, Information and Documentary hours were up, as were Children’s Programmes, Drama/Comedy and Entertainment.
Sports hours had the largest decrease, down 509 hours on 2012. This genre fluctuates from year to year due to major sporting events; in 2012 the London Olympic Games inflated hours.
For more information, read the full report.