NZ Media News: Backing Charles Wooley, TVNZ results + new Sky packages

Mediaweek’s John Drinnan rounds up the latest media news from the NZ market.

Mediaweek’s John Drinnan rounds up the latest media news from the NZ market: March 2, 2018.


National Business Review owner Todd Scott says some ad agencies have been boycotting NBR after it stopped offering commissions. Scott blasted the ad agencies body CAANZ (Communication Agencies Association NZ), but CAANZ chief executive Paul Head told Mediaweek he was not aware of issue raised by Scott. NBR has made a name for itself with an apparently successful hard pay wall, moving from advertising to subscription revenue.

60 Minutes

Tabloid-style media coverage of the Charles Wooley 60 Minutes interview with Kiwi PM Jacinda Ardern has raised eyebrows in New Zealand, illustrating a virulent atmosphere for mainstream coverage of social media outrages. Wooley described the 37-year-old PM as “attractive” and asked the PM about her pregnancy and the timing of her conception. The interview was largely innocuous, but was pilloried from local media quoting Twitter posts. The media commentator and former NZ Herald editor in chief Gavin Ellis was critical about tone and coverage for an interview that was not even shown in New Zealand. High-profile RNZ nine-to-noon host Kathryn Ryan lambasted over-the-top coverage of social media outrages, saying the media risk losing credibility.


NZME, owner of the New Zealand Herald, plans to put up a paywall around premium journalism on its website. Chief executive Michael Boggs says a subscription model for “premium content” would be in the market this year. The company was focusing on improving premium journalism on and nurturing audiences over the coming months. User registration would then follow, with “monetisation” the last step in the process. This week NZME announced net profit of $20.9 million, compared with the previous year’s net profit of $74.5 million.


TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick issued interim results for what he called a positive first half. TVNZ had achieved strong TV and On Demand audience reach, and improved operational earnings through modest revenue growth and tightly managed costs, he said. Total revenue was $170.4 million. Operational expenses decreased $2.8 million to $140.1 million. TVNZ posted an interim after tax net profit of $17.2 million, up $4.3 million on the previous year.

Subscription TV

Sky TV chief executive John Fellet has announced a new lower-priced entry package.

The new package offers just 18 channels for $24.91, less than half the price of the standard basic package.

Sky TV CEO John Fellet. Mediaweek spoke with Fellet last year. Read more here.

Sky reported losing 34,000 customers in second half of 2017, many leaving for lower-cost over-the-top services such as Netflix and Lightbox. The lower Sky entry point is aimed at making the dominant Sky sports more attractive to budget customers.

Customers will be able to pick up the Sky Sport package for a total $54.81, down from the current price $79.81using the standard basic package.

Public Relations

Radio New Zealand is reviewing policies for using PR people in an afternoon comment spot The Panel. Questions were raised in Parliament on Thursday over a PR consultant working the PM’s office appearing on a state radio chat show as political commentator. Elsewhere, there has been a series of articles about a “revolving door” between politics, PR and lobbying and media in New Zealand, including two former chiefs-of-staff for the two main parties joining lobbying and PR firms.


Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran appointed a ministerial committee to implement Labour Party broadcasting policy, including a new low-cost TV channel as part of Radio New Zealand.

Appointees include high-profile businessman Michael Stiassny (founder of KordaMentha receivers), former TVNZ factual TV producer Irene Gardiner, former RNZ director Josh Easby and former State Services Commissioner Sandi Beatie.

Social Media

According to the Magazine Publishers’ assessment, social media is the second-largest channel behind print, making up almost 30% of all magazine touchpoints.

The top five were Habitat with 458,796 followers, Now To Love with 406,094. Homes to Love 456,112, Fashion Quarterly 286,555 and the online current affairs website Noted with 276,622.

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