Streaming Rivals Split Rights for NZ Drama

The Sounds’ Rachelle Lefevre and Matt Whelan.

The media landscape’s just fragmented further, with Sky NZ and Acorn Media Enterprises sharing Kiwi streaming rights for the new local drama series The Sounds.

The eight-part South Pacific Pictures co-production is Sky NZ’s first drama series investment since The Brokenwood Mysteries.

Despite being set ostensibly in the South Island, it’s filming this month and next in greater Auckland and Northland, and will screen next year on a channel Sky has yet to disclose.

Sky also will have exclusive SVOD rights for six months in NZ before co-producer Acorn can acquire them for its rival local streaming service.

Acorn has secured all rights in the US, Ireland, and UK, secondary rights in Australia, and home entertainment and non-exclusive SVOD rights in NZ.

The psychological thriller is being produced in association with CBC, who have the Canadian broadcast rights, while Acorn TV has the home entertainment rights and will offer the series to its Canadian subscribers; All3Media International will distribute the series in the rest of the world.

Here’s the Sounds press release Acorn distributed to trade media:

South Pacific Pictures (New Zealand), in association with production company Shaftesbury (Canada) announce that new thriller series The Sounds (8 x 60) has been greenlit by Acorn Media Enterprises (AME), All3 Media, CBC and Sky NZ. The New Zealand-Canada co-production iand will be directed by Peter Stebbings (Frankie Drake Mysteries, Killjoys, Wynonna Earp). The series is currently filming on location in New Zealand and is slated for a 2020 release.

An eight-part psychological thriller, The Sounds is set against the stunning backdrop of New Zealand’s South Island and the exotic landscape of Marlborough Sounds.

When Maggie and Tom Cabbott move to the town of Pelorus to escape the oppressive influence of Tom’s family, they plan to start a new business venture that will reinvigorate the local economy and set them on a new life path.

But when Tom disappears, unsettling facts about him soon come to light, and the search brings long-buried wounds to the surface.

As Maggie struggles to navigate the escalating events, it becomes clear that in this small, seemingly close-knit community, nothing and no one is quite what they seem.

Meanwhile, filming’s also started of another local drama series, Great Southern Television’s NZ On Air-funded One Lane Bridge, which will air next year on TVNZ 1.

Here’s the press release in full:

One Lane Bridge is a character-focused crime drama with a dark, supernatural edge. The series stars Dominic Ona-Ariki (Jonah, Filthy Rich, Shortland Street) as Ariki Davis, an ambitious young Cook Island Māori Detective who, during a murder investigation at Queenstown’s infamous One Lane Bridge, inadvertently reawakens a spiritual gift that endangers the case, his career and his life.

Ona-Ariki is joined on screen by a veritable who’s who of New Zealand acting talent, including Joel Tobeck (Jonah, Runaway Millionaires, The Luminaries), Alison Bruce (Ablaze, The Gulf, The Brokenwood Mysteries), Aidee Walker (In Dark Places, Catching the Black Widow, The Brokenwood Mysteries), Sara Wiseman (A Place to Call Home, Between Two Worlds, Rake), Jared Turner (Power Rangers, Ablaze, The Secret Daughter), Peter McCauley (Netherwood, Nothing Trivial, Tangiwai), Michelle Langstone (800 Words, The Almighty Johnsons, McLeod’s Daughters), Phil Brown (Mistress Mercy, Resolve, Catching the Black Widow), Dean O’Gorman (The Bad Seed, Hillary, Trumbo, The Hobbit) and Ryan O’Kane (Shortland Street, Home & Away, Tangiwai).

Newcomers Alexander Walker and Nathalie Morris (coming up in TVNZ On Demand’s new webseries The Basement) round out the cast, which will also feature Queenstown locals in guest roles.

One Lane Bridge was created by Philip Smith and Pip Hall who in 2018 won the New Zealand Television Award for Best Script – Drama for The Dance Exponents: Why Does Love? and is being shot on location in Queenstown over three months.

The series directors are Peter Burger (The Dead Lands, Straight Forward, Resolve) and Danny Mulheron (Jonah, The Dance Exponents: Why Does Love?, Hillary) and it is produced by Carmen J. Leonard (Runaway Millionaires, Jonah) and co-produced by Deb Cope (Runaway Millionaires, Jonah). Great Southern Television CEO Philip Smith is Executive Producer.

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