I have just heard the news that the New Zealand government programme funding agency NZ OnAir has announced that, effective immediately, the scheme of revenue splitting between the producer and the agency for subsequent distribution of a work will be turned into a mirror image of itself.
Instead of 75% of future earnings for a TV show being returned to NZ OnAir, leaving 25% for the producer. Now the producer will receive 75% of the future earnings.
I believe this will generate a surge in revenues for the New Zealand producers, who are key players in the creative economy.
The motivation of the producer to find markets and outlets will be dramatically amplified. With 'long tail' distribution outlets now important considerations (rather than mass media) there is a correspondent increase in the number of commercial opportunities.
While the government agency would be unable to economically pursue deals on a micro scale, the same cannot be said of the copyright owner, especially when the incentive is there for them to actively seek out markets, however small.
This move is the smartest thing I have heard come from central government in a long time. It will probably exponentially increase NZ OnAir's return on investment in production with a similar effect to that of dramatically dropping tax rates in 1984/5 - producing equally dramatically increased the revenues.
I don't know what other constraints will be placed on the creators at the application for funding stage (it wouldn't surprise me - bureaucrats are not famous for being savvy), but on the face of it I think there is cause for celebration.
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Perhaps lowering the bar for funding in the first instance, providing more micro financing to more independent creatives would make sense - especially as the cost of production falls due to access to cheap, readily available technology (it's amazing what you can do with iMovie and a handicam) and the number of media outlets multiply exponentially.
I'm off on holiday now and I'm not taking the laptop with me. Look out Hokianga harbour, here we come.