TVNZ loses more than it makes

TVNZ loses more than it makesThe announcement today that TVNZ has lost $11.1 million as a result of the payouts for redundancies is a bit of a shock. Over 140 redundancies that’s just over $79,000 on average to every person. Quite a tidy sum, more than twice the average wage.While the majority of redundancies were middle management the next biggest sector was news and current affairs:

  • Seven general reporting journalists gone – leaving six in the Auckland newsroom.
  • Two sports reporting journalists gone – leaving six in the Auckland newsroom
  • The Queenstown, Wanganui and Rotorua newsrooms closed
  • The news reference library closed
  • The current affairs show, Sunday closed its Wellington office
  • Close Up lost two journalists and a Christchurch producer
  • Fair Go lost three senior producers
  • Breakfast lost a weather and sports presenter, a producer and one of the hosts (Kaye Gregory)

As well there were rumours that Michael Wilson and the ASB Business team were heading off to TV3 .

What will the long term impact of these redundancies be?

I’m picking a further devaluation of the TVNZ marque. They are already losing viewers hand over fist to TV3. In our household they were the first channel we turned to for news because they told it better – without hype, without mistakes (usually), without sensationalism…but not any more.

I’m not saying TV3 are better but if there is no real differentiation between the two based on quality then I’d rather have a fun, cheeky news item by Duncan Garner any day than be pontificated to by Guyon Espiner .

I could never understand why TVNZ felt they had to change anything about their news service. They always dominated the market by a massive amount. It felt like a knee-jerk reaction to TV3′s popularity with the younger viewer. The TVNZ bosses felt they needed to compete at that level when in fact if they had kept the status quo they’d probably still be leading the news pack by a significant margin. And besides, young people were never in their demograph – they should have let the other side cater to them and keep to their own knitting.

The damage has been done. The tipping point has been reached. TV3 is showing free-to-air rugby – if they can keep a percentage of the TVNZ viewers who head over to 3 to watch the games they’ll be laughing all the way to the bank – and probably employing a few redundant journalists now looking for work.

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