Film and TV pump billions into economy

MICHELLE ROBINSON
Last updated 05:00 03/09/2012
Lost star Matthew Fox
PETER DRURY/Waikato Times
BIG BUDGET: Film's like Emperor, starring Matthew Fox, have landed the film industry millions of dollars.

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New Zealand's film and TV industry has risen to become one of our most lucrative - reeling in more than $3.23 billion last year.

The sector's contribution to gross domestic product was $2.78 billion, representing 1.4 per cent of New Zealand's total GDP, a PricewaterhouseCoopers report found. The sector also supported 21,315 fulltime-equivalent jobs.

Rick Friesen, the chief executive of Think TV, an advocacy group for free-to-air television, said the report would help advocating for further industry growth.

"Our screen industry is an adaptive and fast-moving sector which innovates and creates sustainable careers and jobs."

The industry compared favourably with the New Zealand wine industry, which contributed $1.52b to GDP in 2008.

Film and TV's gross earnings had risen by four per cent since 2008, the Economic Contribution of the New Zealand Film and Television Industry 2012 report indicated.

Film production made up a large share of total gross revenue, raking in $1.4b.

Film Auckland chairman Pete Rive welcomed the study as an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the local screen community.

He hailed Spartacus, Mr Pip, Emperor, starring Matthew Fox, and The Hobbit as examples of recent successes.

"We have built a global brand recognisable for its success in creating and producing world-class content," Mr Rive said.

"This report validates the work of more than 21,000 New Zealanders who are the bedrock of, and are supported by our screen industry."

Michael Hawkins, executive director of National Association of Cinema Operators for Australia and New Zealand, said the report was timely.

"Now is the time to improve legislation involving online infringement of films and television shows," Mr Hawkins said.

"It will not only protect our substantial existing industry but will allow ideas, creativity and business to flourish to their full potential over the next decade."

ONLINE BOOM

The New Zealand market for online movies and TV shows has increased by 55 per cent over 12 months.

Services like iSky and TVNZ Ondemand are rapidly gaining popularity, along with online movie services.

Overseas services available in New Zealand include Caspa, MovieFlix, Movieway, Mubi and Zune Video Europe-based services including Movieurope.

Quickflix New Zealandwas one of the latest to enter the market, in March, with a monthly pay-as-you-go model.

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More providers are expected to enter the New Zealand market with the increasing rollout of ultrafast broadband, increasing competition and consumer choice.

"It will mean high definition broadband across multiple devices in your home," Quickflix managing director Paddy Buckley said.

"With an imbedded app you can join online and browse TV shows, movies and games from your X-Box."

A similar model, Netflix, accounts for about 30 percent of internet traffic in the US.

- Auckland Now

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