Networks still drawing on NZ content as producers await “loophole” closure
Updated: Producers are not happy some networks are still drawing using NZ content to meet local quotas.
Producers are again calling on the government to shut a loophole which allows networks to pass off New Zealand content as Australian.
It follows data from the Australian Communications and Media Authority which found in 2017 networks played plenty of NZ content.
TEN: 65.78 hours
Nine: 56.84 hours
Under the Australia-NZ Economic Trade Agreement, NZ titles continue to be qualify as “local content.”
TEN acquisitions included Being Me: Sam, Forensics, Coverband and The Barefoot Bandits.
Nine drew upon NZ dramas including Step Dave, The Brokenwood Mysteries, Westside and Filthy Rich.
Updated: Seven screened 290 hours in factual titles across its channels including Border Patrol, Motorway Patrol, SCU: Serious Crash Unit, Nabbed and NZ on a Plate. A Seven source maintains Seven hit all its local Australian quota in factual content.
But Matthew Deaner, CEO of Screen Producers Australia, has called on commercial broadcasters to do the right thing when it came to local content compliance.
“To be honest, I’m disappointed, but not surprised; the trend to undermine the system continues. In 2017, over a dozen regional broadcasters didn’t meet their local content obligations. New Zealand content accounted for 25 per cent of Nine Network’s drama, 25 per cent of the TEN Network’s documentaries and the Seven Network broadcast 290 hours of New Zealand content. This makes a mockery of our local content system to the detriment of Australian audiences, Australian producers and the many thousands of Australian workers in the screen industry,” he said.
Late last year a House of Representatives committee proposed a solution to the New Zealand content loophole.
“We await the Government’s response to that report. But we need timely action because the current situation is farcical and if trends continue, it will become unsustainable for the industry. If there is no change, the Australian government will have a better system for New Zealand producers than the New Zealand government.”
Deaner also noted the broader context of the timing of the content compliance results.
“These results come at a time when commercial broadcasters have been handed hundreds of millions in broadcast licence fee reductions, called on the Government to launch a series of measures aimed at strengthening their competitive position to the detriment of all others in the supply chain and the market. Elsewhere, $140 million has been found for international productions and $84 million has been cut from the ABC. Most gallingly, the commercial broadcasters want their children’s obligations removed. Collectively, they spent $6.7 million on children’s drama in 2016-17. SPA stands ready to work with the commercial broadcasters on a mutually acceptable solution to children’s television, but the broadcasters must come to the table.”