NZ On Air’s annual report hit the shelves today, marking the funder’s twentieth anniversary. Chairman Neil Walter said the broadcasting landscape had changed dramatically since NZ On Air was created in 1989. “It was a lot simpler back then,” said CEO Jane Wrightson.
“They used to just sink a few beers with the guys from Avalon, leave the cheque on the bar and try to drive back to the office. Now, every bugger with a computer thinks they can run a TV station and wants a slice of the pie. It’s a bloody nightmare.”
Releasing the report, Chairman Neil Walter said that 2009 was a fitting year to celebrate twenty years of local content. “In 2009 we launched NZ On Screen, our first digital initiative, on that internetty thingamabob and we saw some of the highest ratings ever for our Top 10 funded television programmes, because everyone lost their jobs and couldn’t afford to go out, and we introduced a new Platinum Fund to create even more high quality television programmes and we saw NZ On Air-backed songs dominate the radio airplay charts, not that I know the words to any of them but I do hum that one by Hayley Westenra in the shower.”
Pausing only to take some air on board, he continued, “Finding New Zealand content, amongst the international programming, is even harder now it’s not all on TVNZ. More than ever before there is a place for a specialised independent agency whose job it is to advocate for the New Zealand voice and our stories, wherever people are watching and listening, unless they’re in Australia.
“The challenge for the next decade is to keep a space for diverse, well made local content in a complex and fast-changing environment awash in foreign programming. 7 am on Sunday mornings sounds good,” Mr Walter said.
“On Prime,” added Ms. Wrightson.