July 15, 2024

Economic headwinds continue to batter the New Zealand media landscape with long-running soap Shortland Street confirmed to drop from 5 to 3 episodes per week.

Today the curtain comes down on Newshub, while the broadcast of long-running shows like Sunday and Fair Go at TVNZ has also ended recently.

TVNZ had previously said amid a slump in revenue it was looking at “everything across our slate to ensure we remain commercially viable”.

“This includes Shortland Street,” it said at the time.

Earlier this week Media and Communications Minister Paul Goldsmith said the Government would “tweak” eligibility criteria for the New Zealand Screen Production Rebate for local shows “with strong industry and cultural value, like our longest-running drama Shortland Street“.

“The TV environment is changing fast and we’re moving with our viewers,” TVNZ chief executive Jodi O’Donnell told 1News.

“For some time, we’ve been reimagining what is possible for Shortland Street and we’re delighted to be able to continue the much-loved show with this new, creative format.

“We’re extremely grateful for the external support from NZ On Air, as well as access to the New Zealand Screen Production rebate, to help keep this iconic drama on screen and make it a more commercially viable proposition for TVNZ.”

South Pacific Pictures chief executive Kelly Martin said: “We’re pleased to see the show continue into this exciting new chapter. Fewer episodes mean a greater focus on creating the storylines that will cut through with audiences in a competitive market.

“We’ll bring all the things Shorty viewers love on steroids for three days per week, with stories that dig deep into real-life and topical issues in New Zealand.”

The reduction in episodes follows Neighbours switch to 4 episodes per week and Britain’s Hollyoaks to 3 episodes per week from September.

Shortland Street icon Michel Galvin recently told TV Tonight, “New Zealand’s a small country and it seems to be the only TV show that’s always there. So sometimes it’s fulfilling a lot of roles. We don’t have a comedy that’s always there. We don’t have a drama that’s always there, except for Shortland Street.

“I mean sometimes there are six or seven shows being made in New Zealand, but sometimes it’s just us.”

Shortland Street screens on 7Plus and TVNZ.

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