Mediaweek NZ: News, Sept 15 2017

Mediaweek writer John Drinnan rounds up the media news in the NZ market

Public TV

The Labour Party has unveiled a media policy that would see state-owned public broadcaster RNZ run one or more free-to-air linear channels, delivering public interest content.

A new parliamentary commission would work in tandem with funding agency NZ On Air delivering funding for non-commercial content to commercial media. NZOA has come under pressure to support non-commercial content with networks averse to edgy content.

Prospects for a Labour victory on September 23 and the launch of the new channel – called RNZ Plus – look to be 50:50. Industry views are mixed with many sceptical the $38 million allocation could deliver much. Content makers and journalists are upbeat on another outlet for commercial content, and criticism of the current government’s laissez faire approach. Commercial media question Labour leaving the wholly commercial state-owned broadcaster TVNZ untouched by its policy.

Fairfax response

Fairfax New Zealand has rejected the Labour Party policy saying that the $38 million should be made available for all media instead of being mostly sunk into the new RNZ channel.

Fairfax NZ chief executive Sinead Boucher said: “I would question their approach of piling more money into state-owned media, and their plans to turn Radio NZ into a super-media platform and broadcaster.”

MORE: Mediaweek NZ Profile – Stuff CEO Sinead Boucher

Press editor departs

Joanna Norris has moved on after five years as editor of The Christchurch Press. She has been appointed head of the promotional and economic development agency Christchurch NZ. Norris has also been Fairfax Media’s South Island editor-in-chief since 2014.

Auckland newspaper closure

Fairfax has closed the print twice-weekly community paper Auckland City Harbour City News after 30 years. Fairfax said there was not enough advertising to cover print production and other costs. Other Fairfax Auckland community titles such as the East Bays Courier and Western Leader, The Central Leader, the East Bays Courier and the Eastern Courier will become weekly papers from the beginning of October.

New Google boss

Google has appointed Caroline Rainsford as the new country manager for Google New Zealand. She takes the reins from Stephanie Davis who took up a role with Google in Singapore. Rainsford previously held the role of marketing and product director at Latitude NZ.

Bauer wins

Bauer dominated the New Zealand Magazine Media Awards with the biggest haul winning 20 of the 47 awards, followed by Tangible Media with eight and Fairfax Media with four. The one-year-old Bauer-produced Nadia won Supreme Magazine Of The Year. Damien Venuto of NZ Marketing and Stop Press was named Supreme Magazine Editor Of The Year. John Baker of Tangible Media won The Lifetime Achievement Award.

TVNZ Warner deal

TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick told the NZ Herald that he won’t have to write down its output deal with Warner Bros. In recent results it wrote off $12 million for its remaining Disney content. The two studios are the foundation for TVNZ supply of US content, but they are expensive and TVNZ has said it wants to focus more on local content to draw loyal audiences. TVNZ recently renewed its deal with ITV, which includes its longest-running overseas show Coronation Street.

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