2006/07 Screen Industry Statistics Show Consolidation09 May 2008
While 2006/7 was a year of tightening conditions for the domestic screen industry in New Zealand the latest statistics from the Screen Industry Survey by Statistics New Zealand do not show any significant decline or long term trends for the industry, according to SPADA, the Screen Production and Development Association.
“The number of active businesses has remained stable, even showing a small increase from 2,052 businesses in 2006 to 2058 businesses in 2007,” says SPADA CEO Penelope Borland.
The figures show that there were 1935 businesses involved in production and post-production, a small decrease of 1.4%. Contractor activity remained relatively stable, decreasing by 27 businesses. While the number of screen production companies decreased by 108 to 480, this is in part likely to be due to the trend towards consolidation of screen production companies that is evident around the world, says SPADA.
“Quite a number of smaller companies also sprang up several years ago in New Zealand when TVNZ was commissioning a wave of new programming with newly gained Charter funding from the Government and with Māori Television Service going to air. There has been a trend for smaller players to go to work with larger companies in the last couple of years, with larger companies acting as mentors and executive producers for other producers. Consolidation has also come about, according to SPADA, because broadcasters have found it more convenient to deal with established and medium to larger companies because the delivery and commercial requirements for screen producers are becoming tighter more complex. Television broadcasting gross revenue showed a slight increase – up to $1,081 million compared with $1,071 million in 2006,” says Penelope Borland.
In terms of activity around key genres, which is not covered by the latest survey figures, SPADA understands that there is a considerable level of development activity in television drama. “Drama requires considerable development time and investment compared with some other less costly genres,” says Borland. It takes much longer to get it into production and a lot of investment in development by screen production companies and New Zealand On Air. “Larger companies are better placed to be able to afford to put some of their own money into the development of drama. We understand that both TVNZ and TV3 have been seeking new drama projects, some of which are in development and pre-production and there are some good new stories out there,” says Borland.
The only genre in which there is an evident downward trend, and it is worldwide, is in one off documentaries, says SPADA. Broadcasters have been commissioning documentary “strands” or series, however there is definite concern in the production community about the loss of opportunity for commissioning of single documentaries.
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