Shortland Street Sharpens Up for 20th Birthday Bash

Next year Shortland Street will look sharper than ever in HD.

On the eve of its annual cliffhanger (TV2, 7pm Friday), South Pacific Pictures has revealed the top-rating serial will look even more refined for its 20th anniversary.

“We will move from an interlaced to progressive capture system, which gives us the ability to refine the look of the show,” publicist Rachael Keereweer says.

She also confirmed plans are afoot to record the serial in 5.1 audio.

“But at this stage we don’t have a specific date for this.”

Shortland Street switched to HD at the start of this year.

“It is incredibly hard to be able to say either way whether HD has had an impact on the show’s popularity,” Keereweer says.

“No specific research has been done to indicate this theory and we can’t really hazard a guess.”

But she points out switching to HD has has taken the storytelling into a new era.

“The new HD system means our production values fit with the times and keep the look of the show fresh as we look forward to celebrating the show’s twentieth anniversary.

“As with any changes to Shortland Street, viewers were initially very vocal on their thoughts on the transition to HD.

“For every person that complained that they didn’t like the look however, there were an equal number who were excited about the new look.

“After a couple of weeks, viewers had virtually forgotten what the show used to look like before HD and accepted the changes as status quo.”

Ratings were up this year compared to the same period in 2011. The household shoppers with kids rating improved from 19.9% to 20.6%, and the share of the audience went from 45.1% to 48%

With TV2’s target audience, the rating slipped from 17.1% to 16.5% because of lower PUTs [people using TV].

But Shortland Street’s share of this audience rose year-on-year, from 47.3% to 48.9%.

Meanwhile, for a fascinating insight into how the Shortland Street production team plan their annual cliffhanger, see this excellent Dominion Post analysis.

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