NZME's 'transformation' to survive in today's media climate
Media boundaries are being pushed every minute of every day, in every country around the world. Whether it’s new entrants to market, the role traditional media plays, or how quickly media organisations can adapt to changing audience consumption patterns, sitting still is not an option. So where does that leave New Zealand media organisations like NZME? Transformation. Big word. Big job. Big change – and big difference.
NZME sits about 12 months into the transformation of its business by merging three operations into one – the tangible evidence of a wholesale shift by New Zealand’s best-known media company.
It’s been a unique process and result – the country’s only single ‘creative home’ of digital, radio, print, e-commerce, experiential, video and events. But is that enough?
There’s no doubt the act of bringing the businesses together in 14 locations around the country, including the New Zealand Herald, the nation-reaching Radio Network and e-commerce operation GrabOne has fuelled the fire of integration. It has taken the business into new territory, allowing client campaigns to integrate across platforms and channels as never done before.
But NZME need to continue to push harder.
As new CEO Michael Boggs said recently, while the company’s new direction was understood internally, “I don’t think it all became real until we physically got into one building in Auckland. Once we did, people went, ‘I get it, I know what my role is in this’. They realised their jobs had grown bigger and they had more opportunities to be involved in more platforms.”
So why is all this happening?
Transformation – from a business that operated in different east-is-east and west-is-west channels (print and radio largely) that rarely met. The strategic shift was from a business that reached its audience through those prescribed channels to one that re-oriented itself around the interests of the audiences – news, entertainment and sport.
It sounds simple but is a massive shift for any business. It brings with it a commercial imperative – and opportunity. Grow the content audiences prefer, grow the audience, sell the audiences on what is being produced and then sell to the audience.
The most tangible sign of the integration of the NZME constituent businesses is the integrated newsroom on the first floor of the new building in Auckland. Print, radio and digital journalists work together not only in proximity but across the different platforms, pushing out news stories faster, smarter and across more platforms.
The newsroom is the base for one of NZME’s newest initiatives – NZ Herald Focus, the video news show, delivered digitally and merging the journalistic talents of the New Zealand Herald, Newstalk ZB and Radio Sport teams. Added to the Herald’s recent investigative series (like Auckland’s housing ‘Home Truths’ series, rugby and dementia, tax investigations, the lack of burglary resolution rates), it is clear the newsroom is breaking new ground.
Global competition and advertiser demand continue to place pressure on the commercial side of the business too. Here, NZME has also been innovative. The launch of CreateMe, a whole new division bringing together core commercial content creators, brings into tangible form the benefits to clients of the changing dynamic and capabilities found in market leading organisations around the world.
It includes branded content, one of the key drivers of new business in the transformed company, NZME Experiential, NZME Vision and Strategy & Planning.
Another new element is WatchMe, the free, video-on-demand service focusing on 100 per cent New Zealand-made content designed to feed the audience’s thirst for video. The NZME Vision team who produces the content also enables advertisers to collaborate with talent they believe fits with their brands – something WatchMe’s Matt Heath has experienced through collaborations with advertisers such as Jockey and Mammoth as part of the Alternative Commentary Collective.
Transformation is enabling NZME to navigate the ever-changing media landscape. For now. But as they say, there is no rest for the wicked. Standing still is not an option.
This story is part of a content partnership with NZME.