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Screen Industry Survey: 2007/08 – revised 7 July 2009
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  01 May 2009

Screen Industry Survey: 2007/08

The Statistics New Zealand Screen Industry Survey collects information used to measure the size and nature of the screen industry in New Zealand. The survey is sent to businesses involved with various aspects of the screen production industry.

The objective of the survey is to recognise the contribution that the screen industry makes to the economy, and identify any impediments to and opportunities for sustainable growth within the industry. The data gathered is intended to provide information for government and industry to measure and shape policies, plan, market, and make business development decisions.

This is the first release of screen industry statistics using the Australian New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) 2006. For more information, see the 'Technical notes' section of this release.

Information about the screen industry

Screen industry refers to all businesses involved in the following sectors: screen production and post-production, distribution, exhibition and broadcasting.

Screen industry

Production and post-production

Production is all work leading up to and including development, pre-production and principal photography. Post-production is all activities involved in putting together scenes to make a production complete (eg editing, visual effects, computer graphics, animation and special effects; developing, printing and processing; captioning and sub-titling; film and video transfers of reproduction; and audio and duplication).

Television broadcasting

The distribution of works through media such as television or the Internet.

Film and video distribution

The process of distributing the completed work for display to the market. This includes marketing the completed work (eg film, television or software distribution, film library operation, and film leasing).

Film exhibition

The display of a completed work to the public at preset locations, such as cinemas or museum displays (eg cinema, drive-in theatre and festival operation, and film screening). 

Screen production sector

A business in the screen production sector can conduct both contractor and screen production company activity during the same year. For example, while a production company may work primarily on its own projects, it can also undertake contract work for other companies. Similarly, there are times when contractors complete their own screen production activities.

The Screen Industry Survey 2007/08 collects specific data on both screen production company and contractor activity. Reference to the screen production industry includes both screen production company and contractor activities.

For this publication, we refer to screen production and contractor activities as 'business structure'.

Business structure

Screen production company

Creates work intended for the final users (television stations, corporate customers, and advertising agencies or distributors).


A freelancer, sole trader, individual or business that provides services or equipment to another screen production entity on contract.

Screen production subsectors

Production activity for both screen production companies and contractors has been broken down into the following subsectors:

  • feature films and short films
  • television programmes
  • commercials
  • non-broadcast media
  • other.

Gross revenue in the screen industry

The New Zealand screen industry recorded gross revenue of $2,743 million in the 2008 financial year, an increase of 11 percent from $2,480 million in 2007. Production and post-production was the most significant sector in the 2008 financial year, accounting for revenue of $1,266 million, an increase compared with $1,076 million in 2007.

Production revenue accounted for three-quarters of the total production and post-production figure ($945 million). Post-production contributed $321 million to the total screen revenue compared with $253 million in the 2007 financial year.

Television broadcasting increased 7 percent (from $1,081 million to $1,155 million). Film and video distribution decreased 9 percent (from $194 million to $176 million). Film exhibition increased 13 percent (from $129 million to $145 million). 

 Graph, Gross Revenue for the Screen Industry By Sector.

Screen industry growth and development

The number of businesses recording gross revenue of $10–49.9 million increased 29 percent to 27 businesses in 2008. The same number of businesses (six) earned more than $50 million in both the 2007 and 2008 financial years, and 88 percent earned less than $0.5 million in the 2008 financial year.

 Graph, Number of Businesses in Screen Industry By gross revenue range.

Business activity

The number of active businesses in the screen industry increased from 2,157 businesses in 2007 to 2,223 businesses in 2008.

There were 2,106 businesses involved in the production and post-production sector, an increase of 4 percent from 2,028 in 2007. Of those businesses, 1,713 were involved in production work (an increase of 4 percent), while 873 businesses carried out post-production work (an increase of 21 percent). 

Location of screen industry businesses

The physical location of screen industry businesses is obtained using the region where each business is situated. In the case of a business operating out of various regions, the region of the business with the largest rolling mean employment count (RME) is taken as the main region. Location data for the screen industry covers all 2,223 businesses.

The Auckland and Wellington regions again supported the largest proportion of screen industry businesses. When combined, they make up just under three-quarters of the total number of businesses. The total in these regions increased from 1,797 in 2007 to 1,860 in 2008. The South Island represents 10 percent of screen industry businesses.

 Graph, Location of Screen Industry Businesses By region.

Gross revenue for the screen production sector

Screen production companies by subsector

Gross revenue received by screen production companies includes funding, sales income, payments and other financing arrangements. The total gross revenue for screen production companies in the 2008 financial year was $932 million, a 27 percent increase from $731 million in 2007.


Screen production companies generated just under three-quarters of the total gross revenue within the screen production subsectors. Feature films made the highest contribution to gross revenue for screen production companies with $487 million. The 2007/08 questionnaire was changed so that feature films revenue could be split from the previously combined feature films and short films grouping – these are the first results from that split.

Contractors by subsector

For the 2008 financial year, contractors recorded total gross revenue of $334 million, a 3 percent decrease from $345 million in 2007. Feature films was the largest screen subsector for contractors with revenue of $150 million. 

Gross revenue for screen production companies by country

Of the total gross revenue for screen production companies ($932 million), domestic sources contributed 42 percent compared with 59 percent in 2007.

International revenue sources increased by 79 percent to reach $542 million. United States' revenue has almost doubled compared with 2007, recording an increase of 99 percent (from $242 million to $481 million). Revenue from the United Kingdom had a large decrease of 70 percent (from $10 million to $3 million).

 Graph, Gross Revenue Recieved by Screen Production Companies By country of origion.

Funding screen production companies received

Funding is the financial investment made by government or private organisations (located in New Zealand and overseas) towards the production of a particular project or series of projects to help with costs and facilitate the production. Funding is a subset of revenue and is included within the gross revenue figure.

Funding increased 59 percent from $406 million in 2007 to $644 million in the 2008 financial year. International funding has more than doubled from $173 million in 2007 to $368 million in 2008. The largest contributor was funding received from the United States ($340 million). New Zealand funding increased to $276 million, up 18 percent from $233 million in 2007.

Feature films received the highest level of funding with $353 million, making up over half of the total funding received. Television programmes followed with $249 million, a 5 percent increase compared with the 2007 financial year. 

 Graph, Funding Recieved by Screen Production Companies By screen subsector.

Expenditure of screen production companies

Expenditure in the Wellington region more than doubled with 222 businesses spending $285 million, compared with 201 businesses spending $128 million in 2007. The total expenditure of screen production companies in 2008 was $875 million, an increase compared with $674 million in 2007. Of the total expenditure, just over half ($491 million) was spent in the Auckland region by 363 businesses.

 Graph, Expenditure of Screen Production Companies By region.

For technical information contact: Korena Cunningham
Wellington 04 931 4600

Next release . . .

Further results will be published in August 2009.

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