Shortland Street Resuscitated for 2025

Shortland Street will screen three nights a week from next year as part of a funding overhaul to save the long-running soap.

Here’s the TVNZ media release:

And here’s the NZ On Air media release:

Life-saving funding injection for much-loved Shortland Street

Shortland Street fans can breathe a sigh of relief, with NZ On Air giving a shot in the arm to the much-loved daily hospital drama.

Following on from the Government’s decision this week to adjust the rules for applications to the Screen Production Rebate (SPR) making the 32 year old show now eligible*, NZ On Air has also approved a $3m injection of public media funding to help secure another year of the show.

In the latest funding round decided this week just over $14.1m in production funding has been confirmed for nine Scripted projects, of which NZ On Air has confirmed Shortland Street is one.

NZ On Air Chief Executive Cameron Harland says the decision is consistent with the  agency’s fundamental purpose to reflect New Zealand identity and culture.

“NZ On Air exists to ensure Aotearoa’s stories and voices are seen and heard in our media. But that’s under serious threat right now due to the rapid decline in ad revenue that has hit every commercial media organisation,” said Mr Harland.

“In the past, platforms have been able to commercially fund a lot of local content, but that’s changed.

“In an environment in which a huge quantity of global content is readily available, it is vital to our culture that we retain as many local stories on screens as possible ,” he continued.

NZ On Air funded Shortland Street for its first four years, until it had reached the point of commercial viability.

This week’s funding decision will allow South Pacific Pictures and TVNZ time to come up with a more viable commercial business model for production and distribution beyond the next year.

“The current financial stress on the media environment has further increased the pressure on NZ On Air funding.

“As always, we weigh every funding decision carefully, ensuring there’s a breadth of content available, serving many different New Zealand audiences.”

The decision provides a strong return on investment given the size of the engaged audience, the volume of content produced, and the training and industry capability-building aspects of the show.

* The Screen Production Rebate is administered by the NZ Film Commission, which assesses rebate applications against the criteria. NZ On Air’s funding commitment is subject to Shortland Street ultimately being approved the rebate.

Funding details:
Shortland Street, 138 x 22’, South Pacific Pictures for viewing on TVNZ+ and TVNZ 2, up to $3,000,000

And if you missed Goldsmith’s announcement, here’s the media release:

Government taking action to support media sector

The Government is taking immediate action to support New Zealand’s media and content production sectors, while it develops a long-term reform programme, Media and Communications Minister Paul Goldsmith says.

“Firstly, the Government will progress the Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill with amendments, to support our local media companies to earn revenue for the news they produce.

“I have looked closely at the design of the legislation and will be changing the approach to align more closely with the Australian digital bargaining code to give all companies greater certainty.

“The key change is adopting a ministerial designation framework. This will enable the Minister to decide which digital platforms are captured by the bill, allowing the Government to manage unintended consequences. We’ll also ensure an appropriate independent regulator is appointed as the Bill’s Authority.

“ACT have indicated they will not support the Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill. However, the leaders of the three coalition parties have agreed ACT can hold a differing view. This means the bill will rely on the support of other parties to pass.

“In addition, much of the legislation underpinning our media landscape is outdated and stifling innovation. While full legislative review takes time, we are starting by removing outdated advertising restrictions for Sundays and public holidays.

“The Government will also tweak the eligibility criteria for the New Zealand Screen Production Rebate for local shows with strong industry and cultural value, like our longest-running drama Shortland Street.

“Finally, I have spoken to NZ On Air about the role it can play in supporting local news and current affairs. They have committed to reporting back to Cabinet on progress by the end of the year.

“All of these short-term measures will be in effect by the end of this year.

“On a wider reform programme, proposals for a truly modern and streamlined regulatory landscape are currently under development and the Government will be announcing next steps later in 2024.”

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2 Responses to “Shortland Street Resuscitated for 2025”

  1. Pity it wasn’t left to die a natural death. It’s had its day.

  2. True, but it remains a pivotal flagship for local content and while the overnight ratings have plummeted, still rates better than most.

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