The New Zealand wing of Bauer Media publishes a range of New Zealand magazines including the NZ Woman’s Day, New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, The Australian Women’s Weekly, the Listener, North & South, Next, Metro, Kia Ora, Home NZ and Your Home & Garden.
The closure brings to an end many decades of publishing in New Zealand and affects all staff, reports The New Zealand Herald.
A staffer spoken to by the Herald said they were “devastated” and “didn’t see it coming”.
Chief executive Brendon Hill told staff the news this morning in a company-wide Zoom meeting.
In a statement, Bauer said the closure was due to the “severe economic impact of Covid-19”.
Accounting firm EY has been appointed to work alongside Bauer New Zealand to facilitate an orderly wind-down of the business.
“This is a devastating blow for our committed and talented team who have worked tirelessly to inform and entertain New Zealanders, through some of the country’s best-loved and most-read magazines,” Hill said.
“We understand the New Zealand Government’s decision to move to Covid-19 Level 4, but it has put our business in an untenable position. Publishing in New Zealand is very dependent on advertising revenue and it is highly unlikely that demand will ever return to pre-crisis levels.”
The Herald continued: Bauer carried out an urgent review of its New Zealand operations and considered all options to keep part or all the business open, including engaging with the New Zealand Government, Hill said.
“An active search is underway to find buyers for our New Zealand assets, including our many iconic titles, however, so far an alternative owner has not been found.”
There is speculation now surrounding the future of Bauer Media in Australia. Not only does it seem unlikely that it won’t take the Pacific titles, there is uncertainty about the scale of operations in Australia.
However overnight in Germany, Bauer Media managers Heribert Bertram and Andreas Schilling said their business was well-armed against the corona crisis.
Germany’s Kress News has reported the majority of the employees of the Bauer Media Group were transferred to the home office at short notice to protect their health. Nevertheless, the creation of all journalistic products runs at a consistently high level – including editorial adjustments of the content to the current situation and the needs of the target groups. Printers for the Bauer Media Group had managed to avoid bottlenecks – they produced continuously and on time. The logistics also work, so that the sales outlets could be reliably supplied.
Bauer Germany is currently not losing significant retail sales. Heribert Bertram, managing director Bauer Sales and member of the German publishing board, said: “We notice more than ever in the loyalty of our readers: We reach people with our content and are close to the reality of their lives. Limiting losses in retail sales is also due to the structure of our portfolio and sales channels.”
According to Bertram, 60 to 70 percent of Bauer Media Group’s titles are sold through food retailers.