Māori Television appears before Māori Affairs Select Committee

By Talisa Kupenga

Māori Television's new Chairman Jamie Tuuta and CEO Keith Ikin appeared before the Māori Affairs Select committee today for the station's annual review. Questions were raised about the station's future strategy, how it would raise third-party revenue and if any plans had been made for a second production studio.

Māori Television is looking at a strategy refresh over the next three to five years, changing tact to target the under 24 years demographic in the online space following a decline in linear audience numbers and an increase in online consumption.

Mr Ikin said the station was engaging with youth focus groups around this.

The past five years have seen an increase in other major broadcasters vying for Māori content funding knowing there is a market for this content.

Māori Television would want the first shot at Te Māngai Pāho funding but its contestable nature has seen around $6mil a year recently being put to other television services.

The committee was alarmed to hear that there had been no increase in TMP production funding to the station for 14 years.

A fixed studio is out of reach right now at a cost of $7-8-mil but there were discussions around a possible mobile studio in the short-term at a cost of $1.5mil.

The station was also in discussions with TVNZ around the potential sharing of resources meaning utilising its studio spaces.

Whether or not the station receives additional funding will be announced at the Budget tomorrow.