Auckland’s screen sector now earns nearly $1 billion in production and post-production revenue annually, with today’s release of Statistics New Zealand’s annual industry economic data for the 2016 year more good news for the region.
Auckland’s international reputation as a feature film destination continues to grow, with productions such as Warner Brothers/Gravity Pictures’ movie MEG – filmed at Auckland Film Studios and the new Kumeu Film Studios last year – and the New Zealand family feature film Kiwi Christmas helping to fuel a 90 per cent revenue increase in 2016 from feature film screen production in Auckland, to more than $350 million.
Auckland hosted nearly 80 per cent of the country’s television programme production, and nearly 90 per cent of television commercial production. The region’s strength was cemented by filming including the 12th series of US production Power Rangers, the third series of the award-winning Australian TV series 800 Words, the second season of MTV's The Shannara Chronicles, and the third season of US TV Series Ash Versus Evil Dead.
Together, TV programmes filmed in Auckland in 2016 accounted for nearly $390 million in production revenue, and TV commercials another $160 million.
Overall, the New Zealand production industry is in good shape, helped by the New Zealand Government’s globally competitive Screen Production Grant programme which was boosted in 2014. Statistics NZ recorded a 14 per cent increase to $1.78 billion in revenue from businesses involved in production and post-production, and says export income for New Zealand from the overall screen sector was up 32 per cent.
Brett O’Riley, Chief Executive of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) – which works with industry and agency partners to grow the sector in Auckland and New Zealand – says the third straight year of significant production revenue growth is “fantastic news” for the region.
“With a number of key productions in town again, this year is shaping up as another strong one. Our screen attraction specialists continue to field inquiries from significant international productions considering Auckland, which gives the industry confidence the pipeline is going to continue to delivering growth for our region,” he says.
Brett O’Riley says the emergence of the new Kumeu Film Studios, which has world-class assets thanks to a legacy partnership involving Warner Bros, the New Zealand Film Commission, and ATEED on behalf of Auckland Council, is key to sustainable future growth.
“The facilities at Kumeu have given the flourishing west Auckland screen production cluster a superb focal point, and there is already another project for a high-profile company in residence. Production companies from the US and China are inquiring about Kumeu, which will also have a new purpose built sound stage in 2018.
“The interest includes international and domestic future film, TV programme, and TV commercial production work, so the future looks bright for screen production revenue and jobs in Auckland. Animation and visual effects companies contributed strongly to the 2016 growth, and our region’s talent in that area is world-leading.”
So far this financial year (to the end of March), Screen Auckland’s facilitators have issued 474 Council permits for filming in public open spaces – 63 more than to the same point in 2015/16, which finished as a record year for permits issued.
Nearly 370 businesses reported carrying out production activities in Auckland, up 11 per cent on 2015.
Statistics NZ says indicates the screen industry is maturing. The earnings per screen industry job/contract continues to increase, marking screen as a typical ‘gig’ economy sector where workers have more than one job or contract – and these increase in value year-on-year.
Notes to Editors
- ATEED is an Auckland Council-controlled organisation and the region’s economic growth agency. Specialists within ATEED’s Screen Auckland team lead the attraction of international screen productions to Auckland, and help productions – from feature films to TVCs – achieve their objectives by assisting with location scouting, studio booking, and film permits in public open spaces. ATEED is connected to other regional film offices within New Zealand.