Mediaweek New Zealand: News, September 1 2017

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


NZME has appointed chief commercial officer Laura Maxwell to the new role of chief digital officer. She will head a new unit that will include the e-commerce platform GrabOne and bring together digital teams from across the company including sales, operations, NZME Vision and iHeartRadio.

NZME chief executive Michael Boggs said the changes allow the company to fast-track digital innovation plans.

“In addition to recent investments in Ratebroker, Restaurant Hub and the Chinese Herald joint venture, we have ambitious plans for our real estate, automotive and employment verticals, along with paid digital content,” Boggs said.


TVNZ’s net profit fell by 89% over to just $1.4m in the year to June 30 compared with $12.7m in 2016.

The state owned broadcaster reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation, and fair value adjustments of $17.4m, down mostly due to an onerous contract provision for Disney product. Advertising revenue was down marginally from $303.9m to $299.2m. TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick said a content agreement with Disney had become loss-making and it has booked a $12.4m provision in FY2017 to recognise future losses. Kenrick said the year had been one of “big challenges, big projects and a few tough decisions”. The state broadcaster has confirmed looking at further reductions to staff numbers.

Pay TV

Sky TV chief executive John Fellet has surprised with an attack on what he said was biased news media coverage of the company, which he linked with Sky’s legal challenges on alleged copyright breaches screening Sky sports clips. The claims were dismissed. Fellet had reported financial results to June 30 that showed net profits falling 21% to $116 million, and the loss of nearly 28,000 subscribers.

Weta Digital

Special effects firm Weta Digital has confirmed it is looking to extend further into television projects. Weta has focused on feature films but it was reported last week it had worked on Game of Thrones shooting the “Zombie bear” segment in episode six of the latest series.


Dentsu Aegis Network has bought digital shop Little Giant, which will be linked with digital marketing agency Isobar. Little Giant was founded in 2011 and has more than 40 employees. Agency clients include brands such as Fonterra, Les Mills, Harcourts, Firth and Spark.

Interactive ad dollars

Interactive advertising revenue reached $431.1m over the first half of 2017 according to the IABNZ’s internet advertising report. Desktop received $129m (30% of total) of display, classified and directories revenue served. This is compared to the mobile devices total of $27.9m (6.5% of revenue) across smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. Smartphone revenue reached $22.7m (5% of total revenue). The IABNZ New Zealand smartphone revenue significantly lags compared with Australia where mobile currently grabs a 17% share of total Interactive revenue. Across all devices, display advertising revenue landed at $67.8m with general display advertising hitting $44.1m (10% of revenue). Video remained buoyant generating $14.8m over the period. Programmatic accounted for $46.8m in the first half of the year.


Bauer Media Australia and New Zealand chief executive Paul Dykzeul confirmed to me the company is looking to acquire radio assets, amid speculation it may bid for MediaWorks. Dykzeul dismissed reports the company was in the market for TV assets. MediaWorks radio assets represent about half of the commercial radio market and have traditionally performed well. But like previous owners, Oaktree Capital has insisted on selling radio and TV assets together, acknowledging there is more interest in the former than the latter.

Print trial

Bauer is testing expansion of its print media venture, Paperboy. It is running month-long trials in Wellington and Christchurch. Launched in Auckland nine months ago the free weekly magazine is focused on urbanism, food culture and style. There will be a print run of 30,000 issues per city, with launch dates of September 7 in Christchurch and October 26 in Wellington.

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