For those wondering why our quality of journalism has declined ,and why current affairs television has disappeared amidst a deluge of `reality` shows, tabloid pap and advertising, help is on its way. As co-director of a research centre entitled Journalism, Media and Democracy (JMAD) I announce the publication of our 2015 New Zealand Media Ownership report.
Since 2011 these reports have been compiled by Merja Myllylahti a former London financial journalist who knows her way around company reports and corporate doublespeak. Five years ago there were four major players in the New Zealand media market; APN News and Media (now NZME), Fairfax media ,Mediaworks and Sky. These four companies, all overseas owned predominated. There was a near duopoly in print and radio, a monopoly in pay television and only three significant competitors in free-to –air television, including the state owned channels.
From 2012 to 2014 listed and unlisted financial operators (banks,hedge funds,private equity companies) acquired media holdings as a lucrative short term source of revenue. Thus the transnational media corporates that had colonised the New Zealand mediascape were themselves colonised by financial institutions .
Our two previous reports outlined this process in the cases of Mediaworks, Fairfax and Sky Television. At the same time there was a growing convergence between New Zealand mass media and the communications sector generally. Spark, along with on-line video subscription services started to compete head-to-head with traditional broadcasters.
The consequences of these developments are clearly evident in this years media ownership report. As hedge fund Oaktree Capital assumed control of Mediaworks tabloid shows and reality formats extinguished current affairs journalism. Traditional media moguls have not disappeared, in 2015 Rupert Murdoch became the second largest owner of NZME.
Across print and broadcasting newsrooms journalists were laid off,those remaining were expected to perform multiple tasks quickly ie take pictures, shoot videos,sub-edit and produce stories all on precarious incomes.
This year`s report also reveals an increasingly competitive broadcasting market as Coliseum Sports Media challenges Sky television and as Netflix and Yahoo join the video streaming market alongside Lightbox ,Neon and Quickflix. There is some good news to report; Scoop remains with us as a non-profit trust owned on-line newspaper and progressive parts of the blogosphere continue to challenge the slants of mainstream media.
In the latter context take a look at our 2015 report here on the Daily Blog, share it among friends and file it next to all previous reports (freely available on-line). None of this information will be published in the mainstream media