NZ Media News: December 8, 2017

Mediaweek’s John Drinnan rounds up the last fortnight in NZ media news

Mediaweek’s John Drinnan rounds up the last fortnight in NZ media news.

NZ’s Dancing With The Stars

MediaWorks will be running Dancing with the Stars on its free-to-air channel Three in 2018, hosted by Dai Henwood and Sharyn Casey (pictured). The commissioning of the famously expensive-to-produce show marks a big push for Three whose big success from The Block has eased a difficult year for revenue. Three has also seen improvements to news ratings. As expected, the radio-TV simulcast breakfast program The AM Show has been renewed after a promising first year, and 7pm show The Project has been confirmed for a second series.


The final GfK radio survey shows NZME talk station Newstalk ZB’s share was up to 10.7% national share and the station reaches more than 500,000 listeners. NZME managing editor Shayne Currie believes more growth is to come after strong election coverage. Meanwhile, NZME rival MediaWorks reports More FM took the top spot in Christchurch with 15.8% share. More FM Wellington also saw an increase with the Polly & Grant breakfast show extending its strong debut audience to a 7.5% share.

Stuff Pix to launch

Fairfax-owned Stuff announced a New Zealand streaming arm will begin next year. Stuff Pix will be a partnership between Stuff Fibre and content specialists MuviNow Australia and will offer movies-on-demand through a series of content partnerships, which were previously held by Quickflix. Quickflix was an early player in the Kiwi streaming market but was pushed out by Lightbox and Netflix. Users will be able to watch online for $1 to $7 each. Stuff Pix will not offer subscriptions.

Boardroom move

Sir John Anderson has stood down as chairman of New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME) and a replacement is to be named soon. Anderson is one of the most senior company directors in the country and headed NZME from the time it was created with the demerger of the New Zealand assets for APN News & Media. His tenure has coincided with regulatory wrangles that halted the merger of NZME with the New Zealand assets of Fairfax Media, subsequently renamed Stuff.

Sky TV delay

Sky TV had to delay the launch of a new chat show after a Twitter storm and media campaign against one of the panellists: high-profile sports executive presenter Tony Veitch. Veitch oversold his role in the show saying it marked his return to television. The kerfuffle led to an attack on the reason he was taken off air, over a high-profile conviction for domestic assault. Fairfax journalists and feminists argued that Veitch should not be allowed back on TV. Amidst a campaign on social media, Veitch withdrew from the chat show, hosted by Bernadine Oliver-Kerby, and Sky TV delayed the launch until next year.


RNZ Public radio bosses faced flak over a policy to introduce Maori language greetings to the flagship news show Morning Report. The row led to attacks from conservative columnists and politicians, partly due to an approach where presenters are only required to “do their best” with pronunciation. Radio NZ has always had a liberal audience, but over the past 12 months it has promoted a shift to a younger more liberal approach, clashing with its older audience.

Facebook trans-Tasman appointment

Andrew Hunter has been appointed to the new role of Facebook’s news partnerships lead for New Zealand and Australia.

Hunter will lead Facebook’s increasing collaboration with Australia and New Zealand’s media networks and help with the local rollout of products specifically designed for the publishing industry. He joins from Microsoft where he was Microsoft’s market lead of information and content experiences.

Sky content deals

Sky TV has concluded long-term exclusive content deals for its linear and streaming platforms. The company has finalised the deal with 20th Century Fox Television Distribution to position Sky as the exclusive Kiwi home for all upcoming titles broadcast on the US FX network. The announcement comes hot on the heels of Sky’s recently concluded exclusive first-run content deal with Warner Bros. International Television Distribution.

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