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Contractors are freelancers, sole traders, individuals and businesses who provide services or equipment to another screen production company on contract. A business can be both a screen production company and a contractor in the same year on different projects.

Information is for the 2008 financial year, and for the 2008 financial year compared with the 2007 financial year unless otherwise stated. 

  • 1,683 contractors were active in the screen production sector in 2008. 
  • Contractors earned revenue of $334 million, a small decrease on revenue earned in 2007 ($345 million).

Revenue by subsector 

Note: Before 2008, feature film revenue included revenue for short films. From 2008 short films is included in ‘other’. 

  • Feature film revenue made up almost half (45 percent) of total revenue for contractors. 
  • At $150 million, contractors’ feature film revenue in 2008 was 17 percent lower than contractors’ combined revenue for feature films and short films in 2007. 
  • Contractors’ revenue from television programmes and commercials increased 13 percent and 12 percent, respectively. 
  • The increase in revenue for television programmes and commercials partly balanced the fall in feature film revenue. 
  • Television revenue accounted for 28 percent of contractors’ revenue.

Gross revenue received by contractors, by subsector

International revenue 

Businesses are asked to report revenue earned from a particular country or country grouping based on where the individual or business who pays them usually resides. If the business was paid by a New Zealand business on behalf of a business located overseas, the revenue is recorded as being from New Zealand. 

  • The majority of revenue ($285 million or 85 percent) earned by contractors in 2008 was from New Zealand sources. 
  • The United States contributed 35 percent of contractors’ international revenue. 
  • Contractors received $17 million of revenue from the United States, a 63 percent decrease.


  • Contractors earned $166 million from post-production activities, down 6 percent. However, more contractors were involved in post-production, up from 546 to 624. 
  • Half of contractors undertaking post-production undertook some work in editing, captioning and sub-titling. However, revenue from this activity was only $22 million, or 13 percent of post-production revenue. 
  • The majority of contractors’ post-production revenue was from digital graphics, animation or effects. This activity earned $118 million, or 71 percent of total post-production revenue. 
  • Revenue from digital graphics, animation or effects fell 13 percent or $17 million. 
  • The majority (83 percent) of contractors’ post-production revenue came from New Zealand.

See tables 9–15, 26, 31, 36, 38, and 43 under Available files for more information on contractors in the screen industry. 

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