John Drinnan

Media writer for the New Zealand Herald

NZ $3 billion screen industry soaring

Much of the film industry in Wellington revolves around projects by Peter Jackson - including 'The Hobbit,' starring Martin Freeman. Photo / Supplied
Much of the film industry in Wellington revolves around projects by Peter Jackson - including 'The Hobbit,' starring Martin Freeman. Photo / Supplied

Thirty-five feature films were made in New Zealand in the 2011 year, according to a Statistics New Zealand survey.

The survey, covering the 12 months to March 31 last year, reflects the ebb and flow of the screen industry economy, with overall turnover including advertising up 4 per cent to $2.99 billion.

The figures show how the film business is focused on activity in Wellington attached to Sir Peter Jackson's interests, including his post-production house and Weta Workshop.

The period covered would have included preliminary work on The Hobbit.

Figures represent economic activity as a whole rather than success for individual companies, and do not include detail about individual screen projects.

They do incorporate more than $200 million of state grants and subsidies for both the film and television production industry, as well as advertising production and sale of television time and subscriptions to pay television.

Total broadcasting industry revenue - including free-to-air and pay TV subscriptions - was up 7 per cent to $1.26 billion.

That represents 40 per cent of the gross revenue for the whole screen industry.

On a smaller scale, cinema exhibition revenue was up 6 per cent to $163 million, largely due to the higher charges on tickets for 3D movies.

"These figures highlight the determination of those making local films and working on international productions to make great movies," says New Zealand Film Commission chief executive Graeme Mason.

"It also emphasises the importance of the sector's contribution to the New Zealand economy."

The survey shows fewer businesses were taking part in the industry but 180 earned over $1 million a year - 18 more than in 2010.

The majority of these businesses are in the production or post-production sectors.

The film industry in Auckland has sought to define screen industry activity as being based here.

But regional data in the survey continued to define Auckland as the base for broadcasting and television production, while Wellington was the main base for film.

Auckland-based businesses that took part in the screen survey increased gross revenue by $135 million to $2.3 billion in 2011.

The vast majority of revenue for Wellington-based screen industry businesses was in feature film work, which overall was worth more than $500 million in 2011.

Revenue for South Island-based businesses rose 17 per cent to $91 million, with most of the growth from increases in production and post-production.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n1 at 24 Sep 2014 07:33:15 Processing Time: 572ms