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Mike's Minute: Newshub's demise is sad, but context is needed


While fully accepting these are difficult days for the media in this country, it is important to put the Newshub news into a little bit of context. 

You can still be successful in this country, and to take one sad case and lump it in with everybody else is to fail to understand the nuance of the landscape. 

For a start, this country, as Adrian Orr pointed out yesterday, has massive economic troubles. 

The media, or the commercial, non-taxpayer funded media are at the sharp end of that, always have been. 

Also worth remembering, the story is being played out all over the world at the moment, everyone from Time Magazine to Vogue to the LA Times is laying people off, and that's before you get to the Disneys and Paramount and BBCs. 

The Newshub story of yesterday is in many respects the TV3 story of the past several decades. 

They have never really been loved. 

Owners have come and gone. 

Owners have owned them for the wrong reasons. 

Owners have tried to sell them unsuccessfully. 

Ask yourself why.  

The company was split recently after they couldn't sell it as a combined going concern, hence it became Discovery and MediaWorks, the radio arm, went their own way. 

Discovery has issues or Warner Brothers Discovery has issues for themselves all over the world, see, a tiny player at the bottom of the Earth would not have been high on their old ‘let's bail them out scale.’ 

The politicians weighing in largely had it right, I thought, National said there was basically nothing they could do. 

Hipkins was also right when he said it's problematic that the linear TV landscape now is solely, or the news division anyway, solely operated by TVNZ. 

The last thing TVNZ needs, I can tell you, is the laziness that inevitably ensues when you have the place to yourself. 

Which is why radio remains as robust as it ever has. 

There's plenty of competition, and competition keeps you sharp. 

If we're to be a little bit blunt, you might want to look at some of the decisions MediaWorks, TV3, Clear Channel, the equity companies, all the various owners have made over the years. 

It's been a bumpy old ride, basically for three long decades. 

TV3 news, in many respects, never really got a hold of the New Zealand psyche, it was never really that successful. 

TV1 killed and kills them every night by some margin. 

Yes, they did some innovative things, but at the end of the day, numbers count. Numbers in audience and numbers in revenue. 

This company, for example, NZME is profitable, I'm told the years got off to a good start. 

Sky TV is profitable, their results came out last week, they look more than solid. 

TVNZ is losing money, and if Seymour gets his way, we'll have to pay some sort of dividend to level the field, that's no bad thing. 

Lord knows what's happening to Stuff and what they're up to, if you've seen their new website, but they're private, so we don't know. 

Minor players like the Spinoff and Newsroom still seem to keep their head above the water, magazines still seem to be available to read. 

So, it's not the end of the world, and it's not the end of the media. 

It's how you do it, that's clearly the difference. 

 

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 February 28, 2024  2m