Be watching for big local event television, a doubling down on TVNZ’s commitment to new audiences and a quadrupling of its OnDemand offering, says TVNZ announcing its content plans for the year ahead.
“Every day over two million New Zealanders choose to watch TVNZ content – it’s what drives us,” says Chief Executive Kevin Kenrick.
Size matters. "To be a sustainable player in this business we need to reach a critical mass of New Zealanders,” he says. “We believe that people will always need to be informed about what’s happening in their world and will always want to be entertained. The great thing for consumers is there’s never been more content available or more devices and platforms to view it on. It’s sharpened our focus for the year ahead so we continue to deliver the moments that matter to New Zealanders.”
TVNZ’s three key priorities for the year ahead are investing in local content, new viewers and OnDemand, he says.
“We know viewers want to see the best of global and local content and we’ll continue to offer the best of both but with a stronger emphasis on unique local content that we know viewers love to watch.
“We’re doubling down on our commitment to attract new audiences. This time last year we talked about our New Blood initiatives, geared towards non-traditional TV viewers. We’re placing a big bet on Re:, our socially driven news voice, and will continue to foster new talent and innovative short-form multimedia content made available where viewers choose to watch.”
TVNZ will accelerate its online development to expand the content offering and enhance the digital viewing experience, he says. “We’ll be quadrupling our OnDemand content offering and enhancing the user experience with features like content recommendations, auto play and enhanced search functionality,” he says.
A lot of great content is coming to a screen near you, Director of Content Cate Slater says: “Local is at the heart of TVNZ’s offering. Viewers can expect bold, new local content including Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s new comedy Paranormal Unit, and new series Project Runway NZ, which will celebrate our world-class fashion designers and unearth a new sartorial star. TVNZ will be the first to bring rebooted fantasy series The Legend of Monkey to New Zealand audiences. Plus, there’s Heartbreak Island, where 20 Kiwi singles will battle it out for a partner and a $100,000 prize.”
These are joined by new factual series Cold Case, which looks at New Zealand’s most intriguing unsolved crimes, deeply personal stories about extraordinary Kiwis in I Am; and Nigel Latta’s new series, The Curious Mind.
Returning local favourites include Shortland Street, Country Calendar, Survivor NZ, My Kitchen Rules NZ, First Dates NZ, The Big Ward, Karena and Kasey’s Kitchen Diplomacy, Coast New Zealand, another season of Sunday Theatre and Police Ten 7.
There’s also a raft of new initiatives hitting our screens. “Our New Blood content initiatives are attracting new viewers and supporting local up-and-coming producers, directors, writers, filmmakers, comedians and actors,” Slater says.
“Auckland-based filmmakers Ashleigh Reid and Isla Macleod won TVNZ’s inaugural New Blood Web Series Competition with their pilot, Oddly Even. They’ll receive $100,000 from TVNZ and NZ On Air to create a full series that will screen on TVNZ OnDemand.”
TVNZ is also launching an ad-free, safe online environment to host children’s multi-media content with NZ On Air in 2018. “The continued support of NZ On Air and the local production community helps us get a lot of amazing and diverse local content out to over two million New Zealanders a day.
“News and current affairs remains the cornerstone of TVNZ 1’s content offering,” Slater continues. “The agenda-setting 1 NEWS team is New Zealand’s most watched news with nearly 1 million Kiwis tuning in to watch daily.
“TVNZ is excited to deliver coverage of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. New Zealanders love live sport and we’re preparing to bring viewers the most extensive free to air coverage of a Commonwealth Games in New Zealand history,” she says.
TVNZ will complement its local content offering with the best in international content from the world’s biggest studios.
“One series I’m particularly excited about is the big, beautifully filmed drama about a British army unit fighting a Yemeni insurgency in the Middle East in the ‘60s, The Last Post. It will be exclusive to OnDemand,” says Slater.
“Across both our on air and online platforms, we’ll be showing the new Will & Grace, Young Sheldon (which shows us Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory’s childhood in Texas) and Reverie, a new virtual reality thriller. As well as our swathe of OnDemand exclusives, we’re now buying extended online rights to the full series that we have on air. Rather than people getting the traditional 30 days to catch up on their favourite broadcast show, they’ll have access to the entire broadcast of the series and in many cases much longer. Online is a big part of our future. Four times more content will be made available to viewers OnDemand and we’ve added an additional 400 hours of content this month alone.”
For further information or publicity material, please visit the TVNZ media portal.
Imagery from tonight's TVNZ Showcase presentation is available via Getty.