TVNZ’s new drama series Dirty Laundry might need a promotional spin given ratings for its first four episodes. It is a tough new world where local dramas don’t just have to compete with Sky movies and Soho, There is also a pile of drama on Netflix, Neon and Lightbox, as well as material pirated online. Nielsen consolidated ratings for Dirty Laundry started okay at 537,000 on September 21, went down slightly to 530,000. Later figures are for overnight ratings only. It dropped to 364,000 then 368,000. The best numbers were for the audience aged over 55, women and Aucklanders. The numbers for the TV One target demographic aged 25-54 years, went from 187,000 for Episode 1, to 235,000 for Ep2, 136,000 for 3 and 146,ooo for Ep 4 on October 12. New Zealand On Air gave the project $6.8 million for 13 x 60 minute episodes and believes once time-adjusted viewing (such as on PVRs) and on demand are taken into account, numbers will improve.”Its early days. but a lot of people now save it and watch it three episodes in a row, ” said NZOA tv manager Glenn Usher. Dirty Laundry was created by veteran writers Rachel Lang and Gavin Strawhan Dirty and follows Donna (Jennifer Ward-Lealand) and the Rafferty family: daughter Kat (Tai Berdinner-Blades), son Matt (Tim Carlsen) and daughter Bianca (newcomer Victoria MacCulloch).
Ward-Lealand stars as money-laundering matriarch Donna Rafferty in Dirty Laundry, who has been channelling ill-gotten gains through various businesses for years. But it is a revelation to her family when the police cart her off to jail NZ On Air is accentuating the positive, but ratings might cause more furrowed brows for TVNZ after numbers for linear TV and negative reviews for TV One’s Filthy Rich. This was balanced by significant uptake of the show on demand, the delivered a decent-sized audience that justified taxpayer funding. But the ad revenue from OnDemand is significantly less than for linear TV. That is an anomaly faced by TV networks, both here and overseas. TVNZ spokeswoman Georgie Hills said; “We’re a big believer in local shows and we’re fully behind this original commission. It’s still early days – we’re four episodes into its 13 episode run. We think the quality of the show deserves a bigger audience than it achieved this week and we’re committed to promoting it to realise its full potential with viewers,” she said.
New Zealand On Air has released plans for a big shake-up in the way it hands out public money to producers and it allow digital media a bigger share of the funding pie. The New Zealand Herald media column this morning previewed the proposals which gives expanding digital media firms digital businesses such as as NZME and The Spinoff. Currently digital video players are at a distinct disadvantage to established broadcasters. Under NZOA proposals the networks will still control big budget projects and allocations more than $500,000. That means the big dramas. Networks have the ability to deliver on linear TV platforms (the main TV channels) and digitally through On Demand platforms. Combined these two provide big audiences. The focus on the number of bums on seats will also mean that they have big advantages for accessing the next run of allocations for taxpayer allocations of $100,000 to $500,000. The fundamental change to allocations has been inevitable for some time and TV networks have accepted the change. But two TV producers I spoke to were wary. Some believe it will open the door to content with lower production values and said thatNZ ON Air needs to improve its oversight on quality. Others reject that view as self serving and believe change – while substantial – is a stopgap measure, and more expansive change to the role for NZ ON Air will be needed the future. The new proposals are planned to take effect in mid 2017
The Herald media column speculating correctly on changes and is attached below:
Taxpayers are subsidising content for Google-0wned YouTube, while some New Zealand media are in trouble and face a shortfall in subsidies. Now New Zealand On Air and You Tube have started a fund for Kiwi You Tubers. The initiative fits perfectly into the rationale for the funder to adjust to the New World Order by encouraging more digital content. The audience is shifting to digital platforms like You Tube. New Zealand On Air is platform agnostic and subsidises content for platforms that deliver enough bums on seats.
CAPTION: I doubt the NZ networks would be brave enough
It is an astonishing story. Helicopters, firepower, a ridiculous mansion on the edge of town and a comic book German tech hero who finances the subversion of the political system. There was the spectacle of the damp squib Moment of Truth – and his appearing on bus backs to advertise his very bad record. This was a certain time and place in New Zealand history that should be recorded in more than newsreels, and Australian TV would have done it ages ago.
Obviously there would be legal issues. It was wonderfully surreal, and the government took it so seriously. I would play it for laughs.
Yet I cannot imagine New Zealand TV networks making this show, either as a comedy or as a dramatised documentary. At least not while National is in power. This topic will have to wait a few years till it is no longer too hot to handle. And that is the trouble living in a little country like New Zealand. It seems like nobody in TV would take the risk. Maybe it would work better as a movie.
New Zealand On Air is considering using its control of taxpayer money to get more women and minorities in top jobs behind the camera. Chief executive Jane Wrightson said: “While we encourage the industry to take the lead in helping redress the gender and ethnicity imbalances, we will also be considering what levers we have as a funding agency.” On Monday, the government agency unveiled its first “Diversity Report” revealing disparities in the number of male and females in key jobs like producer, director and writer. The survey also looked at the proportion of Maori and ethnic minorities in senior jobs. Continue reading “Political Correctness Gone Mad?TV funding should not be linked to giving more top jobs to women and minorities“→
MediaWorks might well feel disgruntled with the latest NZ On Air grants. Yesterday, TVNZ announced TVNZ had been allocated $5 million for two short-run dramas. One is a five part series about the eighties celebrity lawyer Mike Bungay, and one was the second series of a six part family drama with a science fiction theme, called Cul-de-sac.