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New Zealand media landscape announce plans to cease its newsroom operations

In a significant development within New Zealand’s media landscape, Three, one of the country’s major free-to-air television networks, unveiled plans on Wednesday to halt its newsroom operations, television news broadcasts, and website, potentially leading to the termination of up to 200 media positions.

Should this decision be executed, it would mark the conclusion of 35 years of broadcast news coverage on the Three network, leaving the state-owned TVNZ as the primary source of televised news content in the nation.

Warner Bros Discovery, the parent company overseeing Newshub, which airs on Three, attributed the proposed shutdown of the newsroom to the necessity for further cost reductions. Glen Kyne, a senior vice president at Warner Bros Discovery for Australia and New Zealand, emphasized the economic challenges confronting the industry, asserting, “Free-to-air and news are expensive businesses to run. Put simply, the economic headwinds means the returns are not there.”

While recognizing Newshub’s significance within New Zealand’s media landscape, Kyne underscored the imperative nature of the proposed alterations regardless of their potential repercussions, stating, “These proposed changes will be hard if they are implemented, but we think they are necessary.” The prospective closure, if finalized, would reshape New Zealand’s media environment, solidifying TVNZ’s dominance as the primary broadcaster of news content.

In a statement posted on its website, Newshub acknowledged that the proposed closure could result in the displacement of approximately 200 professionals, including journalists, producers, editors, camera operators, and supporting staff members.

This development has raised concerns regarding the outlook of journalism in New Zealand and the broader ramifications for media diversity and public access to information.

Despite the planned cessation of its news operations, Warner Bros Discovery intends to sustain the operation of its digital platform ThreeNow and network channel Three. The network aims to feature programming from its extensive library and produce local content whenever feasible funding can be secured.

Nonetheless, this move underscores the wider challenges confronting traditional media outlets globally as they navigate evolving consumer preferences and shifts in advertising revenue dynamics.

The proposed restructuring of Three’s news operations is subject to consultation processes mandated by New Zealand law, with a final determination anticipated in early April.


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