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NZ loves Shortland Street

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders showed their love for TVNZ’s Shortland Street last night, with a bumper audience of 630,000 watching the special feature-length episode of the nation’s favourite drama.

Last night’s 25th birthday episode featured a volcanic eruption that rocked the hospital to its very core - and saw the return of former core cast members Marj (Elizabeth McRae), Stuart (Martin Henderson), Nick and Waverley (played by Karl Burnett and Claire Chitham), along with the seeming reappearance of Lionel (John Leigh). Screening straight afterwards, the documentary Shortland Street 25 Years: A Kiwi Icon then explored the show through the eyes of the people who love it most.

"There’s a lot of love that goes into making Shortland Street and it’s wonderful to see it returned by our viewers," says Jeff Latch, TVNZ’s Director of Content.

"Last night’s huge audience for Shortland Street’s 25th anniversary feature episode underlines the special place it has in the hearts of New Zealanders. Shorty is the number one drama series on New Zealand television and our number one show OnDemand, where it tops a million streams a month. The success of the show is a tribute to the hard work and talent of everyone involved in front of the cameras and behind the scenes. Long live Shorty!"

"We are overwhelmed by the extremely positive reaction we have received from the public for last night’s anniversary episode," comments Maxine Fleming, Shortland Street Producer. "The surprise eruption and the many loved faces from the past truly made the episode a celebration of the last 25 years of Shortland Street."

Shortland Street’s 25th anniversary feature-length episode

Total audience (All People 5+): 627,000

18-49 audience (TVNZ 2’s target demo): 318,000

Shortland Street 25 Years: A Kiwi Icon

Total audience: 551,000

18-49 audience: 292,000 has recorded over 45,000 streams of the episode since last night. The anniversary episode is available via TVNZ’s YouTube channel for another day, allowing expats to get their Ferndale fix. There’s been 8,000 views to date.

As part of the birthday celebrations this month, broadcast partner Mercury teamed up with TVNZ to offer fans up and down the country an opportunity to take a starring role in a virtual reality roadshow.

More than 10,000 people took part. Fans were able to meet their favourite characters from Ferndale and try out a one-of-a-kind virtual reality experience that put them right in the midst of the action at Shortland Street hospital. Over 1,400 fans walked away with a Mercury prize.

One fan at the Palmerston North roadshow had Ben Mitchell sign her arm. She has since made the autograph permanent with a tattoo.

"Mercury is all about ‘energy made wonderful’. We love celebrating wonderful moments, and the 25th anniversary of one of New Zealand’s most-loved icons gave us the perfect opportunity to be both part of something great, and to also help celebrate in a wonderful way - by giving over 50,000 Kiwis free power for the day, on the day," says Julia Jack, Mercury’s Chief Marketing Officer.

TVNZ’s Content Solutions and Blacksand teams led Mercury’s Shortland Street campaign development, in close collaboration with Shortland Street’s producers South Pacific Pictures, and Mercury’s marketing team and their agency FCB Media. Blacksand brought in Satellite to manage the national roadshow and Staples to execute its innovative virtual reality concept.

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