“It’s A Day Tinged With Sadness For New Zealand’s Media Landscape”: 300 Jobs Lost As NewsHub Announces Closure

“It’s A Day Tinged With Sadness For New Zealand’s Media Landscape”: 300 Jobs Lost As NewsHub Announces Closure

Warner Brothers Discovery’s Newshub is set to close its doors in June 2024, leaving up to 300 staff, including high-profile presenters Mike McRoberts and Samantha Hayes, out of a job.

In a statement today, Warner Bros. Discovery said it had started consultation on a “proposed remodelling and restructure of its ANZ free-to-air business in New Zealand”.

“The proposal includes the closure of all Newshub’s multiplatform news operations and output, and new local programming would only be in collaboration with local funding bodies and other partners,” the statement said.

Staff members are said to be gutted over the decision. “These are staff who care very much about news, and this is devastating,” one staff member said.

While Warner Bros. Discovery Asia Pacific president James Gibbons acknowledged that there was no one trigger for the closure, he did point to a loss in advertising revenue as one of the critical factors. “Advertising revenue in New Zealand has disappeared far more quickly than our ability to manage this reduction and to drive the business to profitability,” he said.

NZ Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said the news of the closure was “shocking and saddening”. He acknowledged it was a “pretty tough day” for those working at Newshub and their families.

“What was quite obvious to me is that Warner Bros Discovery is one of the largest global media companies in the world. $20 billion, I think, is what it’s worth, and as a result, they couldn’t make that business model work, and so they’re having to face up to declining advertising revenues, also changing consumer habits, and that’s why they’ve come to the decision they have”.

Elaine Gibbons, managing partner at Auckland-based marketing agency Sneakers Media, told B&T that this is a day tinged with sadness for the New Zealand media landscape.

“Newshub offers Kiwis a fresh, relatable news and current affairs voice broadcast into the homes of Kiwis every day, and with its departure, leaves a notable void in households all across New Zealand,” Gibbons said. “Newshub embodied the spirit of everyday Kiwis, positioning itself as the agile and relatable challenger in the media arena. Their exit leaves a significant gap, marking the end of an era and leaving behind a legacy that will be missed.”

Alex Radford, co-founder and partner at D3 Media, told B&T that this is a significant moment for NZ media that affects the dedicated Newshub team and prompts a rethink in how businesses, agencies and media partners collaborate in the digital age.

“The impact on those behind the scenes – journalists, presenters, and production staff – is substantial. It’s crucial as a community that we support those affected, recognising the vital role of journalism and local content in shaping well-informed societies,” Radford said. “Given these changes, let’s commit to building closer ties with our media partners, ensuring our engagement stays relevant and impactful. The changes at Warner Bros. Discovery are a call to action for the entire media industry – let’s innovate, collaborate, and uphold the foundation of our work”.

The news comes after the New Zealand arm of Warner Bros. Discovery posted a $35 million post-tax loss in 2022.




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