Where is the local scripted drama in 2014?

Nothing TrivialThis year, The Blue Rose, Go Girls, Nothing Trivial, Harry and The Almighty Johnsons have all been axed by their respective networks, putting and end to jobs for countless cast and crew.  Granted, the ratings haven’t exactly been stellar but 2014 is going to be very scant when it comes to local drama and we, the viewers, will be worse off for it.

At the TVNZ launch, they lauded themselves as being champions of local content.  While Sunday Theatre will provide some expected good viewing on Sunday’s and Step Dave and Cover Band are looking promising (albeit more comedy than drama?), the TVNZ schedules are going to be pretty lacking of local drama compared to what we’ve been used to.  TV3 isn’t any better.

Instead, networks are choosing low cost, and relatively higher rating, “unscripted” reality formats.  When it comes to choice, the options are becoming increasingly less.

The question is, who is responsible for this disappearance of local content from our screens. It can’t be the production houses like South Pacific Pictures, The Gibson Group or Great Southern Television.  The funding body, NZ On Air, seems to be happy throwing money at local drama, even if the ratings aren’t all that wonderful which only leaves the networks.  They, of course, blame you for not tuning in.

This raises a number of issues around the ratings and what data is included.  Traditionally, broadcast has been the only revenue source for the networks but with ondemand able to provide additional income, the landscape is certainly changing. Should this data be included in the ratings? The time shifted data now is and it would seem appropriate that ondemand viewing over the course of the week also be included in the consolidated reports.

The latest NZ On Air annual report included ondemand streams of funded content which showed Nothing Trivial as the most streamed local drama (5th) with 210,589 streams followed by Go Girls (6th) with 191,136, The Blue Rose (9th) 158,866 and Harry (10th) 100,752.

New Zealand’s Got Talent came out on top with 725,601 streams followed closely by The X Factor NZ with 721,042.  3rd and 4th place went to comedy series’ 7 Days with 430,803 streams and Jono and Ben at Ten with 287,928.

We’ve asked TVNZ for comment and will publish this when they get back to us we have posted it here.

In the meantime, for those who want to join the campaign to bring back Nothing Trivial:

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About the author

Regan is one of the co-founders of Throng Media.
If they're on, I'm usually watching Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, 24, Battlestar Galactica, The X Factor, Survivor, House of Cards, Mad Men and the NRL.
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  • Jeseta

    Is ondemand not included in the timeshifted ratings? I thought it must have been. So is it just the plus one channels and DVR?

  • Kyle Wadsworth

    I’d rather have The Blue Rose 🙁

  • NZ just isn’t good enough at producing drama. I’ve never found any of the latest NZ dramas over the last few years decent to watch. The US ones are much better made, because their industry is worth so much more and is so much more competitive.

    Don’t get me wrong – we need local content, but our strength just isn’t in drama.

  • Trevor Ashman

    Has ” The Almighty Johnsons ” being axed? I won’t be surprised to see a 4th series 🙂

  • Dave Ian Batten

    Good to see some sence in TV.

  • Lawrence Hakiwai

    I have all of this season of Nothing Trivial saved on my hard drive for the TV dead zone of the summer holidays. What is the point of ratings anymore?