Local Content Report 2016

2016 Local Content
20 Apr 2017

Since 1989 NZ On Air has measured local free-to-air television content. The Local Content Report compares the schedules of the seven 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 2016 report are that 13,126 hours of local content screened, 31% 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.


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 seven major free-to-air channels broadcasting in 2016 (TVNZ 1, TVNZ 2, Three, Prime, FOUR, Māori Television and Choice). 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 Sunday are recorded as 75% local content because on average three in four stories during the programme’s 2016 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 Three, 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.

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 Sunday, 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

The amount of New Zealand programming on free-to-air television increased in 2016, continuing a general upward trend. More first run content was broadcast while repeat programming made up a smaller percentage of all local content.

However, the amount of local content in peak time slots, when the largest audiences are watching, decreased slightly in 2016. Local content makes up 31% of the free-to-air schedule, in a challenging economic environment for broadcast television. 

  • First run local content, meaning new series or programmes, increased by 4% in 2016, returning to levels seen in 2014 and 2013. 6,831 hours of new local content screened on television (266 hours more than the previous year) making up 17% of the broadcast schedule. This increase is partly due to Prime’s coverage of the Olympic Games and the new inclusion in this report of the channel Choice. Three and Māori Television both also had significant increases in first run local content. °° Sport, Entertainment, Drama/Comedy, Māori programming and Children’s programming all recorded increases in first run hours.
    • There was less first run General Factual programming, and News and Current Affairs.
    • For the first time since this report’s inception, Three broadcast the most first run content in the 18-hour day. Three screened 2,128 hours of first run local content, an increase of 239 hours, accounting for 32% of the channel’s 18-hour schedule.
    • The large output of News/Current Affairs programmes on TVNZ 1 and Three continues to keep their first run content levels high.
  • The media landscape is changing, as reflected in this report. TVNZ launched a new channel, Duke, in March 2016. The channel FOUR closed on 2 July 2016 and Mediaworks launched the new channel Bravo. Those two new channels are not included in this year’s report. However this year Choice has been added to the group of measured channels. As this report measures trends over time the decision to add a new channel is made after careful consideration. The addition of Choice reflects the growing number of channels and platforms on which local content is available.
  • Repeat screenings totalled 6,294 hours (6,271 in 2015). Repeat programming made up 48% of all local content in 2016, down 1% on the previous year. 64% of that repeat programming screened on Māori Television in 2016.
  • Overall, local content comprised 31% of prime time schedules (down from 36% in 2015). TVNZ 2 was the only channel measured to record an increase in prime time local content.
    • The biggest decrease in prime time content was seen on Māori Television, which scheduled more international content in peak time slots.
    • This percentage decrease was also caused by the inclusion of Choice in this year’s report. The channel broadcast a small amount of local content in prime time which brought down the collective prime time percentage.
  • News and Current Affairs programmes have a high quantitative effect on prime time hours. If they are excluded, six of the seven channels screen less than 20% local content in prime time.
  • By genre, News and Current Affairs remained stable, up 13 hours to 4,055 (4,042 in 2015). TVNZ 1 and Three continued to broadcast a high volume of first run News and Current Affairs in prime time and off-peak slots.
  • Entertainment programming increased to 813 hours (from 569 hours in 2015). Three greatly contributed to this increase, screening 214 more Entertainment hours than the previous year due to the launch of the game show Family Feud.
  • Sports content increased by 324 hours to 1,825 hours due to Prime’s coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and new sports programmes on Māori Television.
  • General Factual programming continues to be the second largest genre of local content after News/ Current Affairs. General Factual hours decreased by 564 hours to 3,029 in 2016.
  • Māori programming for a general audience continued an upward trend, increasing by 48 hours to 374 hours.
  • Documentary hours increased in 2016 to a total of 1,154 (928 in 2015), caused by a general increase in repeated documentaries. The five channels that screen local documentaries (TVNZ 1, TVNZ 2, Three, Prime and Māori Television) all recorded increased hours in 2016.
  • Local Drama/Comedy hours increased by 76 hours.
  • Children’s programming decreased by 77 hours due to a reduction in Sticky TV repeats.
Page last modified: 08 Aug 2018