Funded by Te Māngai Pāho, with NZ On Air kicking in support to subtitle the show, Pūkana is just about at the end of its production run for the year. It continues to air for a while yet but Hoey’s well into planning for 2017.
Pūkana has a strong social media presence to support its broadcasts, and the opportunities of a digital world are something our conversation keeps cycling back around to.
It’s a hot topic at the moment. At the Ngā Aho Whakaari hui over the two days leading up to the Māori Screen Awards, NZ On Air’s Jane Wrightson and Brenda Leeuwenberg, Te Māngai Pāho’s Larry Parr and several directors and producers all spoke about the changes coming to “platform-agnostic” changes coming to funding strategy.
“It’s unavoidable,” Hoey said. “We can’t bury our heads in the sand.”
What still seems important to both NZOA and TMP is viewer numbers, which suggests pretty clearly that the OnDemand platforms of broadcasters are well-placed to remain the major players. Although the funders’ requirement for a broadcaster commitment only applies to content destined for TV, and although NZOA has made it clear that broadcasters will be required to pay a realistic licence fee for any NZOA-supported content they license for online, a major platform that curates NZ content and has significant viewing numbers is in good shape.
A two-term board member of NZ On Air, Hoey isn’t sure how much change to who gets funded the strategy will deliver in the short term. “It’ll be interesting to see how far NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho go.”
That’s not to say the existing TV ratings data is much more helpful as far as programmes like Cinco Cine’s are concerned. As Hoey diplomatically states it, “The viewing habits of Māori tamariki and rangatahi don’t really get captured well.”
Captured, well or otherwise, on TV or online, the information does help Cinco Cine develop its understanding of how best to support its programmes online.
“We’ve been active online, on social media, for about five years now,” Hoey says, “and we have a good understanding of how we can reach our audience, how we can engage with them. We need to be on [our social media campaign] from the moment a show goes into production, capturing content that will be used on social media, and start rolling it out well before the show is ready to air.
“To be successful a show needs to be trending ahead of release.”
(For a look at the social media campaign for a recent feature release, take a look at part one of Ande Schurr’s interview with Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa about Three Wise Cousins.)