Sky pulls the plug on Igloo on March 31 next year. It’s four-year lifespan is a tribute to Sky TV and its finessing of the New Zealand pay TV market. The set top box was a hybrid of free to air channels and 13 basic sky channels for $19.95 a month. It allowed movie streaming of pay-per-view movies on broadband but it never really caught on. Until September Sky TV will offer Igloo subscribers the basic Sky package at the Igloo price of $19.95 fee and partial refunds on set top boxes. Initially a joint venture with TVNZ, Igloo was an attempt by arch-rivals to work together rather than against one another. Sky was more ambivalent about the venture than TVNZ.
CAPTION: Sam Hayes has been a breath of fresh air.
MediaWorks has problems ahead. But Hilary Barry’s exit from Mediaworks has not been the cataclysm TVNZ might have hoped for. Last month journalists shed tears in column inches because the “much loved” newsreader had resigned. Many of us expect she will wind up at TVNZ in a revamp of its programme Breakfast. (See “An Angel at Our Newsdesk”, zagzigger.com passim)
Partial privatisation of TVNZ makes sense. Or it would do if the Government provided more than lip service to the new organisation having some cultural obligations. Sale of a minority stake is one of the options that was being considered by the Government so that the State broadcaster can adjust to big changes in the NZ media sector. TVNZ, MediaWorks and Spark have not merged or entered joint venture deals and as a result they risk becoming media midgets in a land of giants.
More media changes are likely later this year, according to my sources in the sector. The proposed merger of NZME and Fairfax New Zealand was followed on Thursday by Vodafone’s proposed takeover of Sky TV. Zagzigger.com has questioned whether MediaWorks will be left out in the cold, (Room For Me, I Got 3, below) and the same question applies to Television New Zealand.
In my opinion TVNZ cannot afford to sit back and do nothing. And it is hard to see how it will compete in the new world order of merged digital media firms. Sources familiar with Government thinking said that Broadcasting Minister Amy Adams is considering a “slight” change to more public service content TVNZ, though this is not defined.
Spark is pooh-poohing the Sky TV-Vodafone merger. But by playing down the importance of its own TV venture called Lightbox, Spark implies it does not really plan to compete in the emerging video market. Reacting to the merger announcement today, Simon Moutter said Spark did not compete with Sky.
The real competition in the future of media is with global over-the-top players like Netflix, YouTube and Apple or with direct-to-consumer premium sports content owners, he said. “The reality is that Spark has been competing successfully with a tightly integrated partnership between Vodafone NZ and Sky TV for a couple of years now. Vodafone NZ has been bundling and deeply discounting Sky TV products while Sky TV actively resells Vodafone NZ broadband, he said. “During that time Sky TV’s core subscriber base has declined while Vodafone NZ’s broadband base has had little or no growth since they acquired Telstra Clear nearly four years ago.
CAPTION: Former star interviewer Mihi Forbes left Maori TV to join Carol Hirschfeld at Radio New Zealand.
For those who support public broadcasting there is a good case for both Maori Television and RNZ to be handed more money. In my opinion, National has helped Maori TV because it needs Maori Party support. It has ignored RNZ because it just doesn’t like its flavour of news. Which is why if there was any hope of RNZ getting relief in the Budget, it probably disappeared with the appointment of John Campbell for the new-look Checkpoint. (Realistically there was no chance at all).
Sky TV is breaking the first rule of Fight Club and talking about their fight. The good news is that it offers some transparency about the changes to modern media and the way it affecting what we see. Sky is cracking down on TVNZ use of clips from Sky exclusive sports on its news bulletins and websites and chief executive John Fellet saying the state broadcaster is in breach of “fair dealing” and wrongfully undermining its rights and subscription revenue. “We are happy for use in news but TVNZ is going well beyond fair dealings,” he says. TVNZ says it is within the rules, and Sky is not up with changes to the online world (ouch).
CAPTION: Tim Murphy (left) and Mark Jennings.
Former MediaWorks news boss Mark Jennings and former New Zealand Herald editor-in-chief Tim Murphy have formed a new media consultancy with the tagline “all things media”. Zagzigger.com has confirmed the firm – Jennings Murphy – will work on editorial content and how to monetise it. The new firm is based at offices in Greenlane.
Jennings Murphy is launching at a pivotal point for journalism and the media. Continue reading “Top newsmen form media agency Jennings and Murphy will work with MSM and indies “
Batts: My favourite ad while Toby Talbot was executive creative director at DDB New Zealand.
Toby Talbot is to join Peter Biggs and Philip (Duster) Andrew at Assignment Group soon, and I wonder if as a result there will be a change of style at the mysteriously low key marketing company.
Talbot has left his job as chief creative officer at DDB in Australia, and is due to start at Assignment in July. The move brings three top names in New Zealand advertising together in an agency that famously shuns publicity.
The following item reads like a situations vacant advertisement, but appeared in the editorial pages of Stuff. It shows Fairfax is looking at in the bold new era at a time just as its parent company works on a a merger of its New Zealand business with NZME. You might think suggests this hyper-local approach will be an aspect of the new local listed company, which has not yet been formed. Australian owners for the two are not addressing the issue publicly.
“Fairfax Media New Zealand is embarking on an exciting new chapter of hyper-local journalism in our communities – and we are looking for great talent. With a key focus on hyper-local journalism and innovative digital storytelling, we are changing the world of journalism. We want clever journalists and newsroom leaders who want to reach out to their communities, and engage and build bigger audiences.”
Fairfax wants reporters, senior Reporters News Directors – Communities and a Chief News Director and despite the changes ahead. According to the Stuff item:
“We are confident about our strategy. We are also passionate about our newsroom teams and our strength and ability to keep delivering the best news and information to our audiences well into the future. Be part of our new journey. If you are forward thinking and want to stretch your boundaries, engage with local communities and have some fun along the way then get in touch,” the item says.