Government looking at public TV role for TVNZ More media makeovers tipped for later this year

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. 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.

The Voda-Sky merger might make anti-syphoning rules more likely
The Voda-Sky merger might make anti-syphoning rules more likely

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.

Its unlikely National will take NZ On Air funding away from private sector media companies, but there might be amendments that would make a change more viable, I am told. Labour and National are believed be on a similar tack. according to me sources. I asked TVNZ chairwoman Joan Withers where TVNZ stands in the current media storm. She said TVNZ was keeping the government appraised about major changes due the mergers, and confirmed it has big implications. But offered no hints on where the Board or Government wanted to  go with TVNZ

Joan Withers: Local content is the key,
Joan Withers: Local content is the key,

Withers said that TVNZ was in a “good position” to succeed in the changing media environment, due to its focus on local material that was popular with viewers,. It seems highly unlikely either National or Labour would encourage TVNZ to expand commercially or buy assets, so in that sense less commercial role may make sense. There is said to be interest in both parties about reviving anti-syphoning rules that would protection free to air TV especially against the Voda-Sky super company.

Broadcasting Minister Amy Adams
Broadcasting Minister Amy Adams


Anti-syphoning legislation requires that key sports events have to be kept available for free to air TV. The issue has been a damp squib in the past because of  Sky lobbying of both Labour and National to avoid it. Voda-Sky is promising to keep providing sports and other programming on a wholesale basis without fear nor favour to Vodafone, but on the face of  it Voda-Sky is still in a strong position. These issues over wholesale of programme rights may yet me canvased in Commerce  Commission merger clearance hearings for Voda-Sky












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5 thoughts on “<span class="entry-title-primary">Government looking at public TV role for TVNZ</span> <span class="entry-subtitle">More media makeovers tipped for later this year </span>”

  1. I really hope this is true and both parties come to an agreement to make TVNZ less commercial and yes please bring in anti siphoning legislation to bring our national sports back to FTA and help keep FTA broadcasting viable.

  2. Noted your merger musings in the NZHerald this morning too.
    But isnt the more obvious transaction the one where TVNZ buys the stable attractive radio assets from Mediaworks especially given the radio nous on the TVNZ board. Dividends could even fund RNZ.
    And Spark buying the distressed TV assets from Mediaworks?
    It’d be hard to see what benefit Spark would get from owning 49% of TVNZ (and still beholden to the Government) and Kendrick vs Moutter? Would KK really be happy working for the old boss again?

    Such a transaction would be much cleaner and easier than Spark having yet another minority media interest. And trying to get VodaSky over the ComCom hurdle on more TV assets and closing Prime? Really?

    1. One way of looking at – but why would Spark with no understanding of TV buy TV3 – it sort of assumes there is some special value. Media works radio is strong – TV3 is in big trouble – TVNZ is stable and has a strong market share. You may be right though

      1. Why would Spark buy a minority stake in TVNZ? As you say Spark has no understanding of TV, and given the reduction in places in this game of musical chairs can achieve a strong partnership with TVNZ without having to commit to an equity position.
        Spark could gain good access to some distressed TV assets but arguably it would be management destroying value because it felt it had to do something.

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