Local content levels lose sporting edge

Dispatch - New Zealand

AUCKLAND – Broadcasters are boosting local content even though a drop in sporting action last year meant overall hours of local TV dropped, according to a new report.

New Zealand On Air, the state body that disburses TV funding and monitors broadcasters’ performance in skedding home-made shows, reported May 17 that one in three programs screened on the three major terrestrial channels last year was locally made.

However, the number of local content hours dropped from 7,201 in 2002 to 6526 last year.

NZ On Air chief executive Jo Tyndall said that reflected 2002’s high levels of sport including the Winter Olympics, the Commonwealth Games and yachting’s Louis Vuitton Cup.

Pubcaster TVNZ’s flagship channel TVOne screened an average 54.6% local content in the 18-hour period between 6am and midnight, which NZ On Air has now adopted as its survey period. The pubcaster’s more commercially driven TV2 screened 24.3% and CanWest-owned rival network TV3 20.4%.