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Commissioning Programmes

Commissioning Protocol

Commissioning of Programmes
The majority of local programmes commissioned by Television New Zealand come through external production companies rather than being made 'in-house'. Producers wishing to submit a formal proposal should do this via Commissioner of the relevant genre.
Funding bodies such as NZ On Air and Te Mangai Paho may not accept applications unless you have secured support from a broadcaster. If your programme concept is accepted by TVNZ, an application may then be lodged with the relevant funding authority. On approval of funding and in consultation with the commissioner, pre-production may proceed.
Once a programme is commissioned the Commissioner will report regularly to the General Manager, Commissioning & Production, on a work-in-progress basis. This will include any financial, creative and production issues arising from the commission.
The Commissioners will be held accountable for the success of the programmes they are overseeing. They are responsible for maintaining positive relationships with the production community (even when programmes are rejected), and for ensuring that any programmes experiencing difficulties receive helpful feedback and support where possible.

Programme Commissioners

TVNZ has recently restructured its Programme Commissioning Department to provide a stronger focus on its commercial objectives.
The current structure is based on genre specific commissioners. The General Manager of Commissioning & Production oversees the commissioning of programmes for all channels and has responsibility for managing the output of TVNZ's internal production unit.

The Process

Simple straightforward processes that do not inhibit, slow or remove the decision-making processes of all channels, but protect both the producers and TVNZ form part of TVNZ's Commissioning Protocol:
Each proposal submitted to TVNZ from a producer will be confirmed as being received in writing, all materials will be destroyed or returned if subsequently rejected.
Where co-development exists it will be documented at the outset. This will include an agreement on ownership of the copyright and any equity participation by either party.
Where it is a TVNZ developed idea or purchased as a format from an overseas source, the idea will be put to the market (within reason). In this case production companies invited to quote on a programme will submit material in confidence.
When rejecting a programme proposal the Commissioner will explain the reasons for the rejection in a professional manner.
Production budgets will be negotiated which take into account the needs of both TVNZ and the producer.
It is the intention of both TVNZ and the producer to complete contracting before production commences.

Relationships with Funding Authorities

When appropriate, all genre Commissioners, TVNZ's Head of Maori Programmes and the General Manager, Commissioning & Production will represent TVNZ at NZ On Air and Te Mangai Paho Board meetings to discuss commissioned programmes.
The overall management of the relationship with NZ On Air/Te Mangai Paho and the independent production community is the responsibility of the General Manager, Commissioning & Production. Day-to-day management with these funding authorities will be conducted by the Commissioners.

Submitting a Programme Proposal

We prefer programme proposals to be submitted by production companies, if you are not a production company we suggest that you contact one to assist you with developing your proposal.
A formal proposal and complete production budget should be submitted to TVNZ by email along with theProposal & Assessment Form
When your proposal has been received, we will confirm in writing that we have received it. The relevant Commissioner will review the proposal and contact the production company within six weeks should they wish to proceed further. If your proposal is not commissioned the Commissioner will let you know and any hard copies will be destroyed.
We take the utmost care to protect the intellectual property of all programme ideas received. We log all proposals and store hard copies of which are kept until a decision has been made after consulting with programming.
We treat all proposals in confidence. You may consult a lawyer and use a personal confidentiality agreement if required. In the interests of respecting confidentiality, material is not kept on file if a project will not progress to production. All materials will be returned to you.

Proposal Guide
There are a few simple steps to follow to submit a proposal.
1. Complete the Proposal including Production Budget
A complete formal proposal and budget explaining your programme idea is essential to ensure the Commissioner has sufficient information to properly evaluate your proposal. Please include a return postal address on the proposal, together with daytime telephone numbers.
2. Complete theProposal and Assessment Submission Form
A Programme Assessment Form is the first step in our assessment process and provides summary information about your proposal. The Proposal & Assessment Form should be attached to the front of your proposal. 
3. Send in your proposal
Email a copy of your proposal and completed Proposal and Assessment Submission Form

Technical Standards

TVNZ has introduced a new technical grading system with 3 levels of production standards that all commissioned content must adhere to:

  • Gold Tech Specs  A top end high definition (HD) production to the highest possible standards. HDCAM SR tape option ( HDCAM tape stock not accepted for Gold grading )
  • Silver Tech Specs A second tier HD production where the content or environment makes achieving Gold standard production quality impractical or uneconomic. HDCAM or HDCAM SR tape options.
  • Bronze Tech Specs  A high quality standard definition (SD) production. Digital Betacam tape option.