Industry Reacts: Stuff Group Swoops In To Save 6pm News After Newshub Closure

Industry Reacts: Stuff Group Swoops In To Save 6pm News After Newshub Closure

Stuff Group and Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) have announced an agreement for Stuff to provide a daily news bulletin to WBD. The new Stuff-made 6pm news will begin on Saturday, July 6, the day after the final Newshub bulletin airs on Friday, July 5.

Lead image: Stuff Owner and Publisher Sinead Boucher and Glen Kyne, WBD’s Senior Vice President and Head of Networks in New Zealand, Australia, and Japan.

It will broadcast for an hour, Monday to Friday, with a 30-minute programme on the weekend.

The announcement follows WBD’s confirmation of a new structure, which meant closing its newsroom, the Newshub website, and the AM and 6 p.m. TV news bulletin.

In the wake of the announcement the New Zealand media industry has reacted to the news that hopefully signifies the end of a very difficult period for the NZ media landscape.

Hamish Smith, founder of media and brand solutions business PrettyGood told B&T that it was great to see a locally owned and operated media company take the reins of the Kiwi brand. “If New Zealanders want a thriving media landscape and retain our broadcast brands – then we need to put our money where our mouth is and support these traditional channels with ad spend. Well done to Stuff for putting local journalism first and actually walking the talk”.

Richard Thompson, co-founder and partner at D3 said that this was a hugely positive step in the continuation of locally produced news. “Leveraging the expertise of Stuff’s journalists will provide New Zealanders with a credible second source of television news whilst also continuing to provide advertisers with a broadcast platform to reach audiences on-air. We firmly believe that the future of New Zealand media relies on this type of partnership coming to fruition, and so it’s great to see a positive come out of a very challenging situation”.

Kath Mitchell, general manager of media agency IMANZ acknowledged the difficulties the NZ media has had over the recent weeks. “Today’s announcement that Stuff will be stepping up to take on the 6pm TV news bulletin broadcast for Warner Bros. Discovery is incredibly welcome news for the industry. It means some jobs will be saved and, importantly, it maintains competition in the TV broadcast news space. This news will be celebrated by our IMANZ members, who value very highly the power of great journalism to connect with Kiwi audiences”.

“We also need to acknowledge that the underlying market conditions that have brought our local media ecosystem to this crossroads have not been addressed, and the various stakeholders across government, media, tech platforms, advertisers and their agencies have work to do to ensure the health of the sector moving forward. Today, though, I commend Sinead Boucher and her team at Stuff for another incredibly bold move in their already storied history. They are certainly flying the flag for Kiwi journalism,” Mitchell said.

Eddy Whatt, managing partner at Sneakers Media, echoed these sentiments, saying that it had been a challenging few weeks and that the announcement was a welcome boost for the NZ media industry and for journalism as a whole. “There are still large audiences in New Zealand that get their news from TV at 6pm and having more than one option is great for a democracy like ours. Time will tell if the quality will continue at the level we have come to expect. We wish Stuff the very best in this endeavour”.

Glen Kyne, WBD’s senior vice president and head of networks in New Zealand, Australia, and Japan, said the group received several proposals. “This agreement also gives all New Zealanders confidence that there won’t just be one broadcast news option on TV. It’s critical for democracy that we have a strong fourth estate to hold the powerful to account and that there are different voices asking different questions.”

“We were deeply aware of the dampening effect the Newshub closure would have on media plurality, and we’re very pleased that New Zealanders will be able to choose what news they watch at 6 p.m”.

“Our proposal to WBD was to deliver high-quality news now and a news product for the future,” said Stuff Owner and Publisher Sinead Boucher. “We will look to innovate not replicate the 6 o’clock news, building on our expertise in digital audiences and engagement and our ability to deliver live and lively news 24/7 all over Aotearoa”.



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