Mediaweek New Zealand: News, August 18 2017

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

TV Awards

The broadcasting industry has revived the New Zealand Television Awards after a five-year gap. It has also opened the door for new digital media players in the key current affairs category. The latter move is seen as symptomatic of networks withdrawing from the genre on New Zealand TV. Under new rules the awards are open to new video productions from digital players like NZME Fairfax and Newsroom. The awards will be held in November. Craft awards will be run in a separate ceremony earlier.

Online audiences

MediaWorks has nearly doubled the audience for its Newshub news website over the past 12 months. It has overtaken and the Mail Online website, according to figures supplied by Nielsen. Digital news in this country is dominated by two websites – Stuff, owned by Fairfax, and, owned by NZME. Respectively they draw a unique audience of around 2.1 million and 1.9m per month. When Newshub was launched as a brand in March 2016, it had an audience of 420,000, compared to 577,000 for and 418,000 for the Daily Mail Online.

Last month, Newshub drew 752,000, 543,000 and Daily Mail Online 421,000.

Communications exec moves

High profile corporate public relations executive Richard Llewellyn leaves the dominant telco Spark today to handle communications for energy infrastructure firm Vector. For 10 years Llewellyn has worked closely with Simon Moutter, who has been chief executive of Spark, and before that CEO at Auckland international Airport.

TVNZ anger

TVNZ is under pressure to overturn its assigning of politically conservative commentator Mike Hosking to moderate party political debates in the run-up to the election. As of today more than 58,000 people have signed a petition claiming his on-air role as a presenter for the TVNZ1 7pm show Seven Sharp shows a bias for the incumbent National Party. TVNZ head of news and current affairs John Gillespie says that Hosking – who also gives opinionated commentary for NZME – has run TVNZ election debates before and been neutral. Gillespie has no plans to change the debates.

TVNZ future funding

In the 2014 elections the Labour Party called for TVNZ to pull Hosking off debates. The broadcasts went ahead without controversy. This year the populist New Zealand Party has objected. NZ First leader Winston Peters is an arch critic of media under New Zealand’s voting system, and will likely be influential forming the next government. This week NZ First announced a policy to remove all advertising from the older-focused TVNZ1 and partially fund the platform with a levy on the telecommunications industry. Younger-focused TVNZ 2 would be separated from TVNZ1, and any income generated by this commercial channel would subsidise the new TVNZ1.

Radio Retirement

Popular radio host Lloyd Scott has ended a 53-year career in radio including the past 15 years as host of the overnight show on Radio New Zealand National. Scott was also a well-known actor and appeared in an iconic award-winning campaign for Toyota. Scott had a cameo role as a tourist in Taika Waititi’s successful movie Hunt For The Wilderpeople.


Vodafone New Zealand has hired a Chinese digital marketing company so the telco can engage with more local Chinese people. The company called United Media Solution will also work with Vodafone to adapt advertising and marketing into Chinese and improve strategy to the market segment, UMS is a full-service independent digital agency that specialises in social media. The agency already works with local brands such as Air New Zealand, Auckland International Airport, Ecostore and Tourism New Zealand.

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