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 2014 report are that 12,538 hours of local content screened, 36% 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 2014 (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 scheduling changes and unlisted short filler programmes to be included in the research.
Programmes have, in most cases, been counted according to the amount of New Zealand content within the programme. For example, some episodes of 20/20 are recorded as containing one third of an hour of New Zealand content as on average they had 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.
Unless specifically noted, hours are measured and reported on the 18-hour broadcast day (6am to midnight) as introduced in the 2003 report.
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. Programmes that are made in New Zealand with no New Zealand flavour are not counted.
Note: Small differences in tabled figures are due to rounding.
Programme hours are divided into eight genre categories defined below. Nielsen designates the genre from a list of more than 40 typographies which are automatically assigned to the eight genre 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 6.
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 such as stand up comedy are in some cases counted as Entertainment.
One-off documentaries 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.
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.
All sports programmes packaged and produced in New Zealand. Where New Zealand teams are playing in overseas events it can be classified as local content if it is shot by a local crew, or if New Zealand athletes are playing a major part.
In 2014 local content on the six free-to-air channels monitored increased by 3%, making up 33% of the combined schedules.
First run local content levels remained steady in 2014 after five years of gradual decline. This steadiness was largely caused by the high volume of News/Current Affairs and Sports programming, which made up 45% of total local hours. The static nature of first run content reflects the ongoing difficult economic environment for free-to-air television broadcasting.
Repeat screenings totalled 5,694 hours (5,302 in 2013), accounting for almost half of all local content at 45%. Māori Television extended its broadcast hours in 2014, with its morning broadcast beginning at 6.30am from September 2014 onwards. The 378 additional hours on this channel were filled with repeated programming which accounts for the overall increase in repeat local content.
Local content comprised 36% of prime time schedules (up 1% on 2013).
- News/Current Affairs and Information hours were up, due in part to repeat content screening during Māori Television’s extended broadcast hours.
- Sports hours also increased. This genre fluctuates from year to year due to major sporting events; in 2014 the Sochi Winter Olympics and Glasgow Commonwealth Games inflated hours.
- Documentary and Drama/Comedy hours decreased in 2014.
- Information, Entertainment, Children’s and Maori programming hours were all up.
For more information, read the full report.