NZ On Air report, Merger update, NZME role, MediaWorks and the minister

Mediaweek New Zealand’s John Drinnan rounds up all the latest media news from across the ditch.

Maori journalist tells critics not to patronise

A top TVNZ Māori journalist has pushed back against public attacks on her coverage of an emerging freedom of speech debate. The high-profile presenter of the Sunday current affairs show, Miriama Kamo, went public against activist demands Māori journalists step down from an item about threats to stop engagements by alt-right speakers Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux. Kamo said: “Many people are insulted, offended and disgusted by the views of the Canadian duo. I appreciate that. However, there have also been suggestions that I, as a Māori woman, should not front this episode. I reject that,” she said, “Sunday’s story this week is told by reporter Tania Page, another Māori woman. The notion that we should distance ourselves from this story is patronising. The story went ahead and there has been extensive coverage of freedom of speech issues, leading to the permanent establishment of a watchdog free speech coalition.”

Where are the audiences?

This week, the funding agency New Zealand On Air presented its second biannual consumption report Where Are The Audiences, 2018. Overall traditional broadcast TV continues to dominate, with 82% tuning into linear TV and 78% tuning into radio. Subscription video-on-demand increased from 35% weekly in 2016 to 62% in 2018. The weekly reach of physical music formats decreased 13% while Spotify continued to rise. More people watched videos on YouTube and Facebook than read a newspaper. On demand viewing was stable, but there was growing use of on demand as a source of content rather than catch-up viewing. The gap between older and younger audiences was narrowing, with older adopting new technology, the NZ On Air report found.

National leaders supports media merger

Opposition National Party leader Simon Bridges has given surprise support for a merger between NZME and Fairfax-owned Stuff. The merger has been knocked by the Commerce Commission and High Court, but is currently awaiting a decision by the Court of Appeal. Asked on Radio Live for his view on the controversial merger, Bridges said: “What we are seeing at the moment is a [business] model that is broken. The economics don’t work. So if this is what media outfits have to do to stay strong and keep providing content that is relevant to us, I see that.”

Start your engines

NZME has appointed Greg Cassidy to be head of the motoring title, Driven. Cassidy has been NZME general manager in the upper South Island where he was credited with “strong success” in five markets.

MediaWorks and the minister

Tensions appear to be high between MediaWorks and Communications minister Clare Curran over chief executive Michael Anderson’s criticism of government policy to create a free-to-air TV channel at state-owned Radio NZ. Planning appears to have stalled with no funding boost in the May budget. But Curran accused Anderson of running a campaign using “Murdoch-like language” in criticising the ABC. Sources say the Government is unhappy that MediaWorks leaked comments that the potential for government policy on TVNZ and RNZ might

TOP PHOTO: Micheal Anderson

To Top