One Plus One Equals Three: Edition Seven

  • Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister Kris Faafoi has announced the Government is exploring merging TVNZ and Radio New Zealand into “an independent multiple-platform, multi-media operation”, aiming to ensure public media assets remain sustainable in the changing media environment.
  • Complicating things further are MediaWorks’ ongoing plans to sell its television arm, while current daily news director Sarah Bristow enters her new role as Newshub’s chief news director later this month, following Hal Crawford’s resignation.

  • Another potential shift set to influence New Zealand’s media landscape is NZME’s ‘Kiwishare’ proposal to merge with Stuff (which was previously rejected by the Commerce Commission in 2017). In her article on The Conversation, Merja Myllylahti highlights the consequences, including significant job cuts and a decrease in journalistic quality, should all these proposed changes go ahead.
  • Merja Myllylahti, Co-Director of the Journalism, Media and Democracy Research Centre at AUT also says rising competition from online streaming services is threatening local broadcasting. As the author of the recently released annual report on media ownership, she has shone a much needed light on the pressures impacting the Fourth Estate in New Zealand.

  • According to Stuff, the arrival of Disney+ and Apple TV+ in New Zealand reflects a growing global trend that will further compromise the perilous state of the Kiwi broadcasting community. In line with the growth of the online streaming industry, the upcoming merger between Lightbox and Neon is set to create further competition for the once dominant platform Netflix, states media commentator, Finlay Macdonald.
  • Internationally, Facebook agreed to pay a $550 million settlement for illegally collecting and storing biometric data (such as facial recognition) of millions of users without their consent.

  • Recent InternetNZ survey results showed that 71% of New Zealanders want legal consequences for social media companies exposing users to harm. These findings have emerged at the same time as new Government legislation (which will be introduced in March) will make it illegal to livestream objectionable content and give the Government authority to issue takedown notices to online content hosts.
  • On a more optimistic note, BusinessDesk has expanded its team of reporters, after successfully launching a business news website in December, and following a decade of valuable newswire and email services. Minor shareholder (and former NZ Herald columnist) Brian Gaynor has authored this paywalled piece on the commercial success enjoyed by the Australian Open.