Media competitors to merge?
Media competitors to merge?
Once fierce competitors, soon they could merge into one.
The Australian parent companies, Fairfax and APN, are currently in talks to merge their New Zealand businesses.
So, what does this mean?
APN will demerge from NZME (that’s The New Zealand Herald, www.nzherald.co.nz, Newstalk ZB, The Hits, ZM, Radio Sport, Hauraki, Mai FM and Coast), and it’s proposed that NZME and Fairfax* would then merge, and be listed on the New Zealand stock exchange.
Between Fairfax and APN (owners of NZME), they publish the NZ Herald, The Sunday Star Times, The Dominion Post, The Press, Herald on Sunday, plus many other magazines and newspapers, www.stuff.co.nz, www.nzherald.co.nz, and NZME runs Newstalk ZB, plus several other stations.
The potential of the two merging opens up so many doors for them. In Auckland Fairfax doesn’t have a huge presence, apart from Stuff, but with NZ Herald they would get close to national coverage. So the first question is how will this affect independent players in print such as Allied Press, NBR, and others?
If merger talks conclude with a positive result, it still needs to be put forward to the Commerce Commission to look into whether the merge is against competition rules.
There is no word on the logistics of who would work where, or how many jobs would be lost, but the potential could be that the likes of the NZME newsroom could combine with The Fairfax newsroom, as an example. This newsroom would then source and publish news through the Fairfax newspapers and the NZ Herald, along with both websites www.stuff.co.nz and www.nzherald.co.nz and the radio stations such as Newstalk ZB etc.
There are so many questions to answer, such as will they keep both the Stuff and Herald websites? What will happen with the advertisers? They’ll have more options to choose from and it will be easier to book spots and spaces across all brands and channels but will prices rise through the monopoly grouping?
What about staff? How will they be affected? Will wages stagnate (as there will be fewer work options)?
How about all the media educators who are pushing out new students each year, but with a sharp decline of spaces to be filled? Will a journalist have to be more versatile – having skills across radio, print and online?
What will happen with us – the consumer? Will we still be presented with a variety of stories, or will it all be the same?
And finally who would their competitor be? MediaWorks – with television, radio and online? Perhaps the biggest loser in this merge could be TVNZ as they’re purely television and online. Maybe they will have to look at forming a partnership on content sharing with the new combined group of NZME and Fairfax?
In today’s media world the one certainty is that change will happen and with this new proposal we are seeing one of the biggest changes in the media landscape since The Radio Network (TRN) merged with APN to form NZME in September 2014.
This new grouping, if it does goes ahead, will argue their biggest competitors in news and advertising are the giants of Facebook, Apple and Google etc and for them to survive and compete against these international companies they must combine or slowly wither and fade away.
Whatever happens, we’re sure to let you know the outcome and look at consequences.
*Fairfax publishes two national weeklies, nine dailies (3 Mets), 60+ communities, from Kaitaia to Bluff, such as The Press, The Dominion Post, Waikato Times, AucklandNOW, The Southland Times, Taranaki Daily News, Manawatu Standard, Nelson Mail, The Marlborough Express, The Timaru Herald, and 25 national magazines such as NZ Gardener, Cuisine magazine, NZ House & Garden, etc.