Inertia and turbulence: television and innovation in New Zealand’s documentary production ecology
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Internationally, documentary content has been a key area of innovation and experimentation for public broadcasters and public funding bodies as television moves beyond broadcast and into online and multiplatform environments. This has not been the case in New Zealand where the production of an online or convergent television documentary has had little or no support from either the primary funding body (NZ On Air) or any broadcaster. This paper examines the factors that have slowed the adoption of new platforms and technologies in television documentary in New Zealand from a critical political economy perspective, with an emphasis on the unique conditions that have shaped New Zealand’s documentary production ecology. Through analysis of opportunities for innovation and barriers to participation in an emergent global new media ecology, this paper argues that a continued lack of investment in public service media significantly inhibits the development and wellbeing of New Zealand’s documentary production ecology.