Xena: Television Hit

by unknown author
Unknown New Zealand Newspaper

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The film and television industry earned a record 5119 million last financial year while pumping an estimated $670 million into the economy.

The 28 per cent increase in foreign exchange earnings was driven by a massive boost in the amount of overseas investment, which now contributes nearly half of all funding for film and television in New Zealand.

However, domestic investment has remained static over the same period, prompting the industry's export-promotions group, Project Blue Sky, to warn that the economic growth may not be

The project chief executive, Jo Tyndall, said that if productions such as the drama series Hercules and Xena: Warrior Princess finished and were not replaced, the industry would suffer.

Foreign productions dominating the industry might also have the effect of compromising New Zealanders ability to tell their own stories, she said. "[But] I think that the New Zealand industry is remarkable for what it has managed to achieve with very low levels of Government or public support compared to other English-speaking countries."

The Colmar-Brunton survey, which does not differentiate between New Zealand-originated film and television pro-New Zealand as a location, showed a 40 per cent increase in foreign investment.

It climbed to $115 million compared with $69 million last financial year, with most of the overseas money spent on television dramas and feature films.

Although $237 million was pumped into the economy through production costs, Jo Tyndall said this figure did not take into account other goods and services such as accommodation, equipment hire and hospitality which added an estimated $434 million to the total.

Auckland was by far the most popular filming location, with Wellington second and Dunedin third.

Project Blue Sky, which is behind the legal challenge to allow New Zealand programmes access to Australian quota on commercial networks, plans to establish next year a "one-stop financing shop" for New Zealand producers, said Jo Tyndall.

The "shop" would help to arrange bank financing and New Zealand or foreign investment in "tailored packages" for individual projects.

She was confident growth in investment and foreign exchange earnings would continue at a similar rate next year, with projects such as Steven Spielberg's sequel to the blockbuster movie Jurassic Park due to be filmed in this country.

Australia's full bench of the Federal Court has reserved its decision on the television quota challenge.

Television Hit

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