How We Invest

We add diversity and choice to content available to New Zealand audiences.


Our approach

Our funding strategy has three goals:

  • Quality content – NZ audiences enjoy well-made local content that matters
  • Diverse content – NZ audiences value local content made for a range of communities
  • Discoverable content – NZ audiences can find and appreciate local content

Our job is to invest in important local content that New Zealand’s small market cannot provide alone. Our flexible funding model, unique in the world, allows us to go where the audiences are, as we are not tied to a particular platform.

The NZ Media Fund is the main way we deliver on our investment goals.


Where we invest

The NZ Media Fund has three contestable streams and one closed stream. The contestable streams are Scripted, Factual and Music. The closed stream is Platforms, where we support a number of platforms and services to provide public media content (this includes RNZ).

Scripted

We aim to invest roughly $40m a year in Scripted content. This funding stream includes audio/visual drama, comedy, animation and other entertaining content requiring a planned creative approach. Projects range from relatively large budget television series and tele-features to smaller-scale quality projects such as webseries.

Factual

We aim to invest roughly $40m a year in Factual content. This funding stream invests in audio/visual documentary and factual projects for diverse audiences. Projects may involve different New Zealand regions and cultures, investigate significant local topics, cover events or issues important to our culture and identity, or reveal an aspect of te ao Māori.

Music

We fund the recording of single songs and multi-song projects, music videos, and music promotion to make sure great NZ songs can connect with the widest audience possible. We invest roughly $4.2m a year in music.

Platforms

We support a number of specially targetted platforms so they can create and deliver audio/visual public media content of particular cultural and social value. This is a closed fund – only currently funded platforms can apply. Funded entities include RNZ, 12 community access radio stations, Pacific radio, two content aggregator websites (NZ On Screen and AudioCulture), and captioning and audio description services.

Industry Development

Sitting alongside the NZ Media Fund, we also provide a small fund to invest in industry support. It supports capability building initiatives and sponsors national pan-sector events and awards.

Applications for the Industry Development Fund are made through our online application system, Eric.


How we invest

We use nine investment principles:

  1. Cultural value: We prioritise content that tells engaging New Zealand social, cultural, political or historical stories; takes an innovative approach; is particularly appealing to a specific audience that is less well served with local content; and/or contributes to the Rautaki Māori.
  2. Balance: We balance mainstream content and special interest content for audiences cited in the Broadcasting Act.
  3. Risk: We are generous with creative risk in funded content; conservative with business risk.
  4. Competition: We support a range of content and entities, both to encourage multiple views and voices, and to encourage competition for the best ideas. We expect commissioning platforms to show a sustained commitment to New Zealand identity and culture.
  5. Value for money: We use efficient processes and focus on cost-effective content with a reasonable shelf-life that attracts audiences of an appropriate size.
  6. No duplication: We invest in content and entities that add diversity to content already available and which the market alone cannot support.
  7. Leverage: We prioritise content and entities that attract other investment (for market validation and to help offset the cost to the taxpayer), and which can leverage others aspects of our work ( eg. which intend to commission or license NZ music.)
  8. Capability: We prefer content and entities run or supported by capable partners. This means we can monitor efficiently, balancing robust accountability for public funds with a minimum of red tape. Investment support for unsupported start-ups will be unlikely.
  9. Fairness: We require accurate, reliable information from applicants to ensure good decision-making in a contestable environment.

Our Staff Investment Committee has decision-making authority delegated from the Board for the following application types:

  • television and multimedia project applications where the requested funding is $1,000,000 or less; and
  • development applications for projects where a full production budget will be $1,000,000 or less
  • funded applications requesting additional funding of $100,000 or less; and
  • other applications where the requested funding is $300,000 or less.

Other funding decisions are made by the Board of NZ On Air.


What we don’t do

Setting straight a few myths and misconceptions about what we do and don’t do.

  • We are not a broadcaster. 
  • We don’t give editorial direction to content producers. This is the job of the commissioning platform.
  • We only fund content that’s available free to audiences (we won’t fund content for a paid platform for example).
  • We don’t fund live music; we fund the recording of music.
  • We are not in the regional development or business development business. We support projects on their individual merits.
  • Our music funding is not means-tested; its about great songs. It doesn’t matter if the artist has been funded before, or is a first-timer: it's all about the song.