Screen Industry Survey Regional Data for 2008/09


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Statistics New Zealand (2010). Screen Industry Survey Regional Data for 2008/09.
Wellington: Statistics New Zealand

Published in May 2010 by
Statistics New Zealand
Tatauranga Aotearoa
Wellington, New Zealand

ISBN 978-0-478-35341-9 (online) 

The Screen Industry Survey

The Screen Industry Survey collects information used to measure the size and nature of the New Zealand screen industry. The industry includes production, distribution, exhibition, and broadcasting of films, television programmes, and other moving-picture productions. The survey is posted to businesses involved in various aspects of the screen industry.

Data is from the Screen Industry Survey 2008/09 and is compared with the 2007/08 year unless specified.

About the screen industry

Screen industry refers to all businesses involved in the four sectors of production and post-production, television broadcasting, film and video distribution, and film exhibition. Businesses may work in multiple sectors in the screen industry.

Figure 1

Chart, Structure of the screen industry.

Locations of screen industry businesses are determined by using the reported physical location of each business. Where a business has more than one location, the location with the largest rolling mean employment (RME) count is used. While businesses may be physically located in these regions, they may spend money in several regions throughout New Zealand.

The regional breakdown used in this publication is Auckland, Wellington, ‘rest of North Island’, and South Island, except where rest of North Island and South Island are combined for confidentiality reasons to give ‘rest of New Zealand’. A further breakdown of the regions is not meaningful because the estimates would be very small and would not meet confidentiality requirements.

Overview of regional data

Total revenue for the New Zealand screen industry was $2,806 million in 2009, as reported in the Screen Industry Survey: 2008/09 (available at Auckland was the region with the highest revenue (77 percent of total), followed by the Wellington region (19 percent), and the rest of New Zealand (4 percent).

Total revenue in the industry grew 3 percent from 2008 to 2009. Revenue in the Auckland region declined 6 percent, mainly due to a reduction in overseas funding. Revenue in the Wellington region grew 51 percent, driven by growth in post-production activity. Revenue from businesses in the South Island increased 21 percent to $86 million.

In 2009, the main contributor to growth in the industry was an increase in post-production activity in the Wellington region.

Screen industry sectors

Businesses in the Auckland region contributed $2,153 million to the gross revenue of New Zealand’s screen industry. Although revenue earned in Auckland declined in all sectors, the region was still the most dominant. Businesses in the Wellington region increased their overall revenue from $352 million in 2008 to $531 million in 2009. The increase was due to a rise in the production and post-production sector.

Figure 2

Graph, Gross revenue received by screen industry businesses

Production and post-production

Revenue in production and post-production grew by 7 percent to $1,347 million and increased in all reported regions other than Auckland. The number of businesses in the production and post-production sector grew in each region.

More than half of the production and post-production sector’s revenue was received by businesses located in the Auckland region. However, Auckland’s revenue in the sector declined due to a 21 percent fall in production revenue in the region, to $537 million. This decrease occurred despite an increase of more than 200 businesses in the sector in the Auckland region, mainly in production.

Revenue earned in the Wellington region for production and post-production grew by 59 percent to $508 million, the biggest regional increase in the sector, and accounting for more than one-third of the total sector’s revenue. This growth was due to a doubling of post-production revenue, which made Wellington the biggest contributor to post-production revenue in 2009.

Businesses in the production and post-production sector are involved in the making of screen production works, for example, films, television programmes, and commercials. Work in this sector includes both production and post-production. Production is all work leading up to and including filming, which includes development, pre-production, and principal photography. Post-production are all activities involved in putting together scenes to make a production complete: for example, editing, visual effects, animation, developing, captioning and sub-titling, transfers or reproduction, and audio and duplication.

Television broadcasting

For television broadcasting, revenue of $1,144 million was nearly all earned in the Auckland region. As 62 percent of television broadcasters worked in the Auckland region, they received more revenue on average than those in other regions. The Wellington region had the least number of television broadcasters.

Television broadcasters air productions such as films and television programmes through media such as television and the Internet (including television on demand). They earn revenue from users subscribing to view programmes or channels, and from advertising aired on those channels.

Film and video distribution

The largest proportion of distributors worked in the Auckland region (63 percent). In 2009 they earned $160 million, which was nearly all of the total revenue for the sector. The number of distributors in Auckland and their revenue both fell by 6 percent from 2008.

Businesses in the film and video distribution sector are involved in distributing completed screen productions (eg, film, television, or software distributors; film library operators; film leasers). Work in this sector includes marketing of productions.

Film exhibition

The Auckland and Wellington regions had the same number of businesses active in the film exhibition sector (each at 15). The Auckland region made up 58 percent, or $89 million of the sector’s revenue, and average revenue per film exhibitor in Auckland was higher than anywhere else in New Zealand.

Film exhibitors show productions such as films to the public at cinemas, drive-in-theatres, or festivals, and as part of museum displays.

Production and post-production

Work within the production and post-production sector is carried out by screen production companies and individuals or businesses providing services to those companies on contract. Data from the Screen Industry Survey relates to both these types of businesses and is not separated in this release.

Figure 3

Graph, Gross revenue received by production and post-production sector businesses

Feature films

Feature films produced by Wellington businesses earned two-thirds of the revenue for feature film production. In the Wellington region, revenue for this subsector grew by 70 percent to $429 million. Auckland’s revenue for feature films declined in 2009 by 42 percent, to $220 million. The rest of New Zealand contributed $5 million to the subsector.

While other regions saw an increase in the number of businesses involved in feature film production, the number of those in the Auckland region remained the same, at 360. More than half of the 996 businesses active in this subsector were based in the Wellington region.

Television programmes

In 2009, the Auckland region had the highest television production revenue ($372 million), accounting for 80 percent of total subsector revenue, similar to 2008. Revenue for the subsector grew by 23 percent between 2008 and 2009. Two-thirds of businesses that produce television programmes were located in the Auckland region (912 businesses), up by 29 percent from 2008.

Revenue for television programme productions increased in all regions, as did the number of businesses active in the subsector.


The production of commercials was concentrated in the Auckland region, with 85 percent of revenue and 68 percent of businesses. Overall, revenue in the subsector fell by 9 percent to $169 million. This decrease was mainly due to a 10 percent fall in revenue in the Auckland region, to $143 million. Although total revenue fell, the number of businesses in the subsector increased in all regions except Wellington. Falling revenue in most regions and an increased number of businesses show that businesses producing commercials earned less on average.


Post-production revenue is driven by digital graphics, animation, or effects (digital animation), which made up three-quarters of post-production revenue in 2009 ($362 million). Businesses in the Wellington region received the most revenue for post-production in 2009, at $244 million, of which 87 percent came from digital animation work. Two-thirds of Auckland’s post-production revenue came from digital animation, the only post-production activity not led by Auckland in 2009.

Digital graphics, animation, or effects

Revenue earned for digital animation in the Wellington region more than doubled, to reach $212 million in 2009, surpassing that earned in Auckland ($147 million). Wellington accounted for 59 percent of the revenue for digital animation. In 2009, there were 45 percent more businesses involved in digital animation in the Wellington region than in the previous year (327 compared with 225).

Revenue for digital animation work earned by businesses located in the Auckland region increased by 20 percent to $147 million. Auckland accounted for 41 percent of the total revenue earned for this activity. The number of businesses active in digital animation increased across the regions.

Editing, captioning, and sub-titling

The region accounting for the most revenue in editing, captioning, and sub-titling was Auckland, which also had the most businesses. At $38 million, Auckland earned two-thirds of all national revenue for this subsector ($57 million).

Audio post-production

Revenue for audio post-production more than doubled, to reach $34 million in 2009. This growth was driven by both the Auckland and the Wellington regions, where the revenue in each more than doubled. Businesses in Auckland received $22 million for work on audio post-production, while those in Wellington received $11 million in 2009. The number of audio post-production businesses stayed relatively stable in New Zealand.


Total funding received in 2009 was $585 million, a 9 percent fall from 2008. Just under half of the funding came from overseas sources. Funding is included in the revenue of screen production companies. Those companies create work intended for final users, such as television stations, corporate customers, advertising agencies, or distributors. Locations of screen industry businesses are determined by using the reported physical location of each business. While businesses may be physically located in these regions, they may spend money in several regions throughout New Zealand.

The fall in funding was almost entirely due to a decrease in the Auckland region, where screen production companies received 28 percent less funding in 2009 than in 2008. Three-quarters of total funding went to the Auckland region, which received $433 million in 2009, down from $599 million in 2008.

In contrast, the Wellington region received funding more than four times higher than in 2008, at $140 million. The rest of New Zealand received $12 million, which accounted for 2 percent of total funding and was similar to the 2008 figure.

New Zealand government funding

Nearly 90 percent of all government funding went to businesses located in the Auckland region in 2009. Government sources provided more funding in 2009 than in 2008, with Auckland the only region to receive more government funding ($233 million, up from $193 million in 2008).
Government funding in regions other than Auckland decreased slightly in 2009. Wellington received $21 million; the rest of New Zealand received $7 million in 2009.

New Zealand private funding

New Zealand private funding is the smallest source of funding across regions, compared with government funding and funding from overseas. Three-quarters of funding from private sources, or $32 million, went to the Auckland region in 2009; down from $39 million in the previous year. Regions other than Auckland showed no change, receiving $11 million.

Funding from overseas

In 2008 and 2009, funding from overseas was the largest source of funding for screen production companies. In 2008 almost all funding from overseas went to the Auckland region. In 2009, however, only 60 percent or $167 million of funding from overseas went to the Auckland region, which was less than half the amount Auckland received in 2008.

Although funding from overseas sources fell, Wellington received $112 million in 2009, or 40 percent of total overseas funding. This compares with $1 million, or less than 1 percent of total overseas funding the region received in 2008. Regions other than Wellington and Auckland received a total of $1 million, similar to the previous year, and again less than 1 percent of total overseas funding.


For technical information please see Technical notes from the Screen Industry Survey: 2008/09.


Next release ...

Full survey results will be published in August 2010.