The New Zealand media is facing the biggest changes since the first publication of theJMAD New Zealand media ownership report in 2011. In 2019, major New Zealand media organisations were put up for sale, and hundreds of jobs were at risk. In 2019, MediaWorks was seeking a buyer for its television arm including Three. Furthermore, the government was considering a fundamental restructure of the public media sector including TVNZ and RNZ.
In late 2019, MediaWorks was on the verge of becoming partly owned by Australian Quadrant Private Equity (which bought Australian outdoor advertising company QMS in October). Earlier, MediaWorks became partly owned by QMS as the two companies merged their operations. If Quadrant receives the final approvals to buy QMS, MediaWorks will once more become a 100% private equity owned company. Investment management company Oaktree Capital still holds 60% of MediaWorks shares.
In November, NZME confirmed that it was in discussion with Australian Nine about buying Stuff. To this end, NZME had made a proposal to the government about the deal, but the details were not announced. The outcome of the merger discussions is not yet known.
During 2019, pay models for news expanded in the search for extra revenue: the NZ Heraldintroduced a paywall and other outlets introduced other charges and voluntary payments. Our analysis shows that the NZ Herald’s paywall is a ‘soft model’ as the majority of the site’s content continues to be freely accessible. This softness may explain why the NZ Herald traffic has not been severely affected by the paywall.
New Zealand media ownership – key trends and events
- MediaWorks gains new owner, its TV business is up for sale
- Government-owned media facing a fundamental restructure
- New Zealand Rugby became a substantial shareholder of Sky TV
- The NZ Herald introduced a paywall, other pay models expand
- An influx of streaming services entered the New Zealand market
This ninth JMAD New Zealand media ownership report is the first co-produced by the JMAD research team. The report is co-authored by Dr Merja Myllylahti (lead- author) and Dr Sarah Baker (co-author). JMAD’s research assistance Julie Cleaver contributed to the 2019 report for the first time by covering the 1. Trends in the global media section and by assisting otherwise with production. JMAD co-director Professor Wayne Hope provided his meticulous editing skills.
Together we are stronger, thank you for the team work!