Local Content Report 2015

Local Content Report 2015 (pdf)
15 Apr 2016

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 2015 report are that 12,836 hours of local content screened, 36% of prime time hours were local content, and Māori Television screened the most local content.


Each year since 1989 NZ On Air has measured the amount of local content broadcast on New Zealand’s main free-to-air television channels. This report is an important way NZ On Air monitors the amount of local programming available freely to New Zealanders. While the numbers fluctuate by year, this data is collated to provide a way to assess trends over time.


Data Collection

This report measures the local content on six major free-to-air channels broadcasting in 2015 (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 The

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, episodes of 60 Minutes are recorded as 20% local content because on average one in five stories during the programme’s 2015 series was a New Zealand-produced story. There is a degree of arbitrariness to these allocations, but the emphasis is on consistency so trends can be observed.

Time Classification

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

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.


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 genres measured in this report. In 2015 one of these eight genres previously known as ‘Information’ has been relabelled and redefined as ‘General Factual’ by NZ On Air. This change is to better reflect the range of content now included in this genre, from studio-based information (e.g. Good Morning) to factual competitions (e.g. Come Dine With Me).

Because of the external categorisation process 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, variety and light entertainment shows.

General Factual

A wide range of programme types that share a basis in factual content. This genre includes magazine formats, information and lifestyle shows, and formats that blend factual content with dramatic or competition narratives.

Māori Programmes

Programmes that have a Māori perspective that do not screen on Māori Television such as Marae, Waka Huia and Te Karere.

News/Current Affairs

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.

Key Results

  • Repeat screenings totalled 6,271 hours (5,694 in 2014) accounting for virtually half of all local content at 49%. 
  • First run local content, meaning new series or programmes, decreased by 4% in 2015, continuing a downward trend that has been observed for the past seven years. This decrease was largely caused by a significant drop in Entertainment hours on FOUR as the daily youth music programme Smash! moved to The Edge TV, a Freeview channel that is not included in this report.
  • Documentaries, Entertainment, News/Current Affairs, Sport and Children’s programming also recorded decreases in first run hours.
  • There was more first run local Drama/Comedy, General Factual and Māori programming.
  • TV One again broadcast the most first run local content with 2,300 hours, followed by TV3 with 1,889 hours. TV3 added 132 first run hours to its schedule (up 8%).
  • The large output of News/Current Affairs programmes on these channels continues to keep their first run content levels high.
  • Overall, local content comprised 36% of prime time schedules (the same as 2014). 
  • General Factual (previously labelled ‘Information’ – see page 5) continues to be the second largest genre of local content after News/Current Affairs. 
  • Drama/Comedy hours increased by 87 to 646 total hours. TV2, TV3, FOUR, Prime and Māori Television all broadcast more hours of local Drama and Comedy in 2015.

For more information read the full report.

Page last modified: 04 Jul 2018