Who owns NZ media?

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no_corporate_media

When I am not blogging on this site I organise a research centre entitled Journalism, Media and Democracy (JMAD).

In 2011 we published our first New Zealand media ownership report. Before then Bill Rosenberg documented the sad story of our media system, mostly taken over by transnational corporations during the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. His last report in 2008 is a culmination of these developments. It is easily available online if one does an author, keyword, date search.

The JMAD reports, since 2011 have been compiled by Merja Myllylahti a former London financial journalist who got on the wrong side of Goldman Sachs before the 2008 financial crash, an indication surely that she was good at her job.

As of 2011 there were four major commercial players in the New Zealand media market: APN News & Media, Fairfax Media, MediaWorks and News Corporation/Sky. In other words 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. This was also the state of play in 2008 when Bill Rosenberg wrote his last report. The last two years though has seen a structural shift in New Zealand media ownership.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

To explain this some context is necessary. From the early 2000s the financialisation of global capitalism reshaped the strategies of transnational media conglomerates. As financial institutions expanded their operations, non-financial corporations became seen as an assemblage of business units that ought to be continuously restructured to maximise share price performance and profit rates. Thus, media corporations moved away from conglomeration toward a strategy of rationalising holdings around strong market positions in certain sectors. Aggressive, unlisted financial operators such as private equity companies grab media holdings as a lucrative source of revenue via acquisition and/or a leveraged buyout. In this context those transnational media corporates that have colonised the New Zealand mediascape are themselves becoming colonized, and dessicated by listed and unlisted financial institutions.

Such a process has ocurred in the cases of Ironbridge/Mediaworks, Fairfax and Sky Television. APN News & Media is now the only major player where the majority of shareholdings are held by a media company or companies. These developments point to an uncertain future for commercial media organisations and media professionals alike.

At the same time a historic decline in print media ownership has coincided with concerns about the viability of on- line news provision. Together, the trends mentioned here contribute to a hyper-commercialsation of the entire mainstream media domain. Consequently, public debate over economic, political and social issues has partly migrated to the internet in general and the blogosphere in particular.

The pieces I and others have written on the Daily Blog would not get mainstream media coverage. The same can be said about JMAD`s 2013 Media Ownership report which accompanies this blog. Yes, the report has had some favourable mainstream media mentions but no sustained discussion.

So…..loyal readers download the report and read it! You will see all the points made in this blog corroborated by statistical evidence.

23 COMMENTS

  1. So my fears are true . We’re being colonized by a faceless colonizer who uses money to wage war . And it will even eat itself if necessary ? How utterly , totally bizarre and alien .
    To make a totally bizarre concept even more bizarre are the ads I’ve just been hiding behind my sofa from . I sneaked a peek and saw leering smiles coming from wax heads who looked like spray tanned porn stars . The gushing urgency to blow their lives by frantically throwing themselves at earning then spending is … well , bizarre and terrifying because when the MSM goes , we go with it , we’re so intrinsically woven into it’s fabric now . OMG !
    Excuse me while I run around screaming . Yaaarrrrrggrhrgrghrhr z1 ! !! ! !

    And off topic , or is it ? Did you see the Kojac clone who’s probably ( bald ) heading up ACT ? A degree in psychiatry etc ? Uuuurrrggghhh ! Think phlegm coated spiders . That was how I felt .

    Thanks for the exercise Dr Wayne Hope . Running AND screaming .

    And this might also be relevant .
    The consequences of head tinkering .

    http://evolutionarymeans.com/2013/11/10/obedience-and-the-death-of-conscience/

  2. Quotes:

    “In 2011 we published our first New Zealand media ownership report. Before then Bill Rosenberg documented the sad story of our media system, mostly taken over by transnational corporations during the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. His last report in 2008 is a culmination of these developments. It is easily available online if one does an author, keyword, date search.”

    And –

    “Together, the trends mentioned here contribute to a hyper-commercialsation of the entire mainstream media domain. Consequently, public debate over economic, political and social issues has partly migrated to the internet in general and the blogosphere in particular.”

    Thank you Wayne for this informative contribution!

    Indeed this is a must read, and one must lean back and let all this sink into the brain. New Zealand has one of the most commercialised and least informative media when compared with most other “developed” countries.

    It is shocking what governments here have allowed to happen, and the destruction of public broadcasting, to barely recognizable “public” television and radio stations, has led to a brainwashing and dumbing-down that is unprecedented, probably even beats the US.

    I have lived through the 1980s, the 1990 and the later decade and a half, and I witnessed how the media here deteriorated, especially over the last few years.

    To me it does not matter so much, whether it is listed public corporations with their shareholders, or private equity ones, that “own” the media here, it certainly matters and scares me the most, that it is the “private” media that has become the totally DOMINANT norm, and has even influenced the remnants of TVNZ and now increasingly Maori TV, to fill their airtime with endless adverts and light-hearted entertainment or infortainment programs.

    I remember some good documentaries still being shown in the 1990s, and fewer every year after that, and how we hardly get good ones now. I remember real current affairs programs, which now seem to be viewed as too costly and too unpopular to broadcast. I remember some good films and comedy and more having been shown “once”, all replaced with stuff that is shallow, silly crap, if you ask me.

    The papers have shrinking readerships, and soon we will have pay-walls as the new norm, for the online versions. The websites are already so full of adverts and popups, and various apps working in the background, there is too much distraction from serious reading, well, that is, if there ever is “serious” stuff to read.

    Forget investigative journalism, and we have tweeting “media personalities” increasingly making “news” of trivial nature, rather than inform and report on what matters.

    No wonder we get less participation in elections, less interest, scrutiny and therefore less quality in the political human capital.

    Re the social media and blogs, the problem with them is, they cater mostly for certain groups with a particular interest or focus, and they remain amongst themselves, rather than be widely appealing. We are becoming sectarian, voluntarily segregated, divided even more, and with Facebook and Twitter, some are more focused on their “following” too, often just serving niche groups.

    The whole development is a real threat for democracy and freedom. I see fewer and fewer go out and participate in pickets, protests, assemblies and forums in the physical world, as most seem to think it is enough to push buttons and vote on “The Vote” or other debates. Most seem to think sending online submissions is enough to do, and leave it at that. But with this we all become rather “anonymous”, not visible enough, and we forget to learn what social interaction and a real, physical SOCIETY actually means.

    No wonder the oil and mining industries are like this government now on the full attack, and simply ignore Greenpeace and others, as they know that creating established physical realities will have a greater effect than thousands of text messages or tweets.

    People should take this stuff seriously, and also read what Wayne offers here, as they need to become aware and wake up, or all will be lost. You depend on technology that is actually run by big business and corporates, and you become totally dependent on it, while you read this here! Stop handing over control and giving away your “real” freedom!

    • “I remember some good documentaries still being shown in the 1990s, and fewer every year after that, and how we hardly get good ones now. I remember real current affairs programs, which now seem to be viewed as too costly and too unpopular to broadcast. I remember some good films and comedy and more having been shown “once”, all replaced with stuff that is shallow, silly crap, if you ask me. ”

      For all it’s faults, Australia still has ABC and SBS. Browsing the 2 networks you can still access good, informative and thought provoking docos and current affairs. However, the Coalition is back in and the knives are out once again……..

      NZ as bad as the USA – surely to god not! What I saw of the media in the US was utterly appalling! Has NZ sunk to those low levels in just the 7 yrs I’ve been away…..?

      • Well, I was playing onto that, and I feel there is not much difference between NZ broadcasting and media and the US versions. I actually think that apart from broadcasting, the US still has some better print media and online services, of which NZ only has a poor quality service.

        It may have passed your attention, but perhaps do a count on the minutes spent on commercial ads per hour, on radio, tv and so forth, you may get some realisation.

        I find it disgusting and appalling, and having grown up in continental Europe, we simply never had such a degree of commercialisation and dumbing down there. It seems NZers have no problem with being “dumbed down”, that is the majority, I mean.

  3. My understanding is that pretty much every international news story we receive comes from either Reuters or Associated Press, both of which are owned by the Rothschild family. In other words, all of our international news is given to us by one source, who are a profit making entity and who might decide what stories we should or shouldn’t receive?

    • There are a multitude of news sources that are published or aired in a multitude of ways that do not come from Reuters or Associated Press. I have read articles in NZ papers from papers such as The Guardian or Washington Post and have seen many, many news clips from organisations such as the BBC. I think you are basically scaremongering with your views.

      • Gosman – think about Mike S’s comment that you responded to then re-evaluate your contribution. You don’t appear to have a very strong hook to hang the ‘scaremongering’ cloak on.

        • Ummmm…. he mentioned that pretty much all our international news are being provided by two news agencies and that these were controlled by the Rothschild family. Ignoring for a moment that this is basically wrong why is it not scaremongering given it is a variation of old school conspiracy theories about certain sections of society controlling the media?

          • Still can’t read eh Gosman, even with a polite cue in. See you have now managed to stretch to ‘old school conspiracy theories’ on top of ‘scaremongering’.

            • Please tell me why spreading misinformation, most likely unintentionally admittedly, about the ownership of two international news agencies by linking them to the Rothschilds is not similar to old school conspiracy theories about who controls the media?

              • Gosman – are you saying that the Rothschilds don’t have an interest in Reuters or Associated Press, or that our international news does not come through those sources, that the newspapers you cite do not transmit information through those organisations to be picked up by our media, that the news disseminating organisations are not profit making, that Mike’s understandings are invalid or all of the above? OK, once those issues are resolved, where is the conspiracy theory or scaremongering in someone expressing his/her understandings? It is again suggested you learn – to – read. It might prove instructional if you discover that there are more than just your own knee-jerk reactions that are valid! You have had more than enough of my time for today – off to do some more constructive things but it’s fine if you have to go for the last word anyway!

                • Even if we ignore that the Rothschild do not own AP or don’t currently have a major interest in Reuters it is not accurate that the vast majority of international news comes from these two sources. Even Newspapers get stories from a multitude of other places such as articles from papers such as The Guardian and the New York Post etc. Television news uses overseas news from networks they have arrangements with e.g. BBC or ABC.

                  Ultimaty MikeS’s view is wrong on many levels.

                • Hang on, last time I looked AP was a non-profit co-op owned by the hundreds of newspapers that use it and contribute material.

                  • Exactly. Not owned by the Rothchild family and not making a profit. In fact it is losing millions of dollars.

          • You are right Gosman – control on the number of voices is important but making stuff up does nobody any good

      • Most news items come from only two major sources, and I believe that Mike S is close to the truth. But yes, there are of course certain large news services that are part of the BBC and other broadcasters, same as larger newspapers.

        But they cannot have journalists and reporters in every place on earth (they usually have few offices and report otherwise only from hot-spots, or certain world capitals). So even they rely heavily on what comes off “the ticker” (now in by email or even twitter), and they also contract to many professionals who operate privately and independently as reporters.

        Hence there is a concentration for the bulk of “news” coming from few sources, and much is self-edited and even self-censored, depending on the “value” of the “news item”.

    • Point was that MikeS referred to something he had heard and raised a hypothetical question that was worthy of an informed debate within the context of the question originally raised by Wayne Hope. Gosman dived in with the dog whistle comment, “scaremongering” then subsequently (admittedly, with a modicum of baiting) went on to drive an agenda rather than contemplate the question then follow up with researched, informed and/or rational debate as Malcolm succinctly did. If Gosman can’t read or respond rationally, he should inhabit the Whale Oil type blogs and leave The Daily Blog for the grown-ups.

  4. In his book ‘Amusing Ourselves to Death’, media theorist Neil Postman critiques the whole idea of the “news of the day”, which he claims was an adaption to the technology of the telegraph and its ability to emit streams of decontextualized fragments of information from around the world. He contrasts this with the pre-existing mediasphere, mostly based around long-form printed writing, and live oratory and debate, in which information presented was usually directly relevant to the lives of those receiving it, and with its deeper context intact.

    >> Consequently, public debate over economic, political and social issues has partly migrated to the internet in general and the blogosphere in particular. <<

    This is actually a historical opportunity, as the net has given us an opportunity to return to a contextualized, sustained form of discussion, rather than the sound bites and pot shots typical of the print and tv. An opportunity where are only just beginning to take up. This is why it’s so important that we speak out against the current spate of attacks on online free speech, even when they're happening to our political opponents (eg Slater). The Harmful Digital Communications Bill includes some provisions which are a much greater threat to our basic liberties than anything in the GCSB or TICS Bill, and seen in combination with them, the picture that emerges is terrifying:
    http://techliberty.org.nz/safe-harbours-in-hdc-bill-are-a-threat-to-freedom-of-expression/

    We need internet freedom much more than we need a non-corporate “news” media.

    • : “Was all this just so that Sky can save on replacing its satellite
      and sell its content via fibre? Have we strengthened the monopoly?” (“Did we just
      spend $1.5 billion on a network for Sky TV?”, 2013). In October Sky TV announced
      that its customers should be able to view Sky TV content on their iPhones and iPads
      by the end of the year (Meadows, 2013).

      Thanks for pointing that out J.B.

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