Kiwi Screen Industry Braces for New Era

Roy Taoho Camera Operator/ Sound Recordist- looking into the future

The Kiwi screen industry is bracing for a new era.  Long heralded online digital gadgets are slicing into PUTS (People Using Television) with it ratings and the advertising dollar.

As a producer for television the impact on production of programmes is devastating.  New Zealand's funding model is struggling to adjust.

TVNZ with TVOne, TVTwo andTVNZ's Kidzone24 is the national owned broadcaster but 90-percent funded through advertising.  Their aggressive marketing and focus on profits has seen it the clear winner in capturing the NZ advertising dollar.   But TVNZ is also feeling the pressure of progressive cuts in ratings and has swung it's focus onto Ondemand and online News.

TVNZ has cut in-house productions - earlier this year I was one of those made redundant with the outsourcing of Maori and Pasifika programmes severing nearly 30-years of indigenous programme making within the national broadcaster.

It is only one area of production that has been cut, downsized or outsourced at TVNZ.

While a devastating personal experience part of me saw the business logic.

People just aren't watching television the same.  Take my household.  Two teenagers, a working daughter in her 20's, my partner and I.   Our television watching has changed dramatically. Where once we all watched the one set and therefore the same channel this is now a rarity.

Morning news is one of the few programmes we watch together as we prepare for the day.  And usually it's TV3's Paul Henry, he's entertaining with dollops of news,lots of quips and sarcasm, it suits the mood of our morning household.

The other is possibly the 6pm news but usually the delayed version at 7pm.  We're still getting home at 6pm, the teenagers straggling in from sports, kapa haka or study classes, the rest of us from work. Dinner and news.

Then everyone heads off.  The teenagers to play an online game or watch a video, or online movie or television programme that is a "must see", or the latest online 'anime' craze.  Of course they swear they've done or are doing their homework.

Our daughter will have downloaded her snapchat for the day, may communicate with her friends  and cousins via her smartphone, uploaded some Youtube must see, then settles down to watch a selected movie or documentary online.

Meanwhile my tane(partner/man) will be watching SKY a documentary or as is happening at the moment rugby.    Sometimes a programme he's had something to do with or his mates have made will mean we turn to that.

Okay and I'm the dinosaur either writing or reading - a book, a real one with paper!

So if our household is pretty typical then where to now for us who work in television production?

And what of the future for indigenous television? I haven't touched on the pain and the agony of producing television programming to promote, foster and entice more viewers to speak and enjoy our language and culture.

More to consider in my next posting!


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