May 20, 2024

The Australia Letter is a weekly newsletter from our Australia bureau. Sign up to get it by email. This week’s issue is written by Natasha Frost, reporting from Auckland, New Zealand.

In a few short months, New Zealand is likely to lose about 20 percent of its journalists and television news producers.

“We’ve had death by a thousand cuts going on for at least a decade in New Zealand,” said Colin Peacock, the producer and presenter of the Radio New Zealand show Mediawatch. “This feels like a tipping point.”

Last week, Newshub, the news arm of Three, a television station owned by Warner Bros Discovery, announced that it would shut down by June 30. That means the elimination of more than 200 jobs and the death of one of two free TV news stations in New Zealand.

Today, its main competitor, TVNZ, said that it too would be eliminating dozens of jobs. On the chopping block are two daily newscasts; Sunday, a long-form current affairs show; and Fair Go, a consumer rights program that has run for 47 years.

Many of the shows that so far have survived the ax, like Seven Sharp and Breakfast, are lighter fare, with more obvious commercial viability. “They’re keeping the ones that they can put integrated advertising — basically sponsored content — into,” Mr. Peacock said.

At both outlets, executives cited challenging economic conditions and declining advertising revenues, problems that have also hit the media industry in the United States. TVNZ, for instance, expects to lose 15.6 million New Zealand dollars, about $9.6 million, for the year ending in March.

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