Since last year, MediaWorks has been on a mission to pull together the disparate departments of the business to offer a fully integrated service across the various available channels. And this will be continued with the launch of Newshub on 1 February.
In a release sent out today, MediaWorks confirmed that 3News, Newsworthy and RadioLive news teams would be consolidated under the new brand.
“Newshub combines the power of our radio, TV and digital newsrooms and is focused on providing tailored content to all platforms," says group head of news Mike Jennings. "Specialist teams will work on breaking stories in the areas of most interest to New Zealanders. We won’t just be telling you what is happening, but why it is happening,”
Mike Roberts and Hilary Barry will continue to present the 6pm news bulletin, but the programme will now be called Newshub Live at 6pm.
In addition, Newsworthy will be dubbed Newshub Late, with Samantha Hayes anchoring the show by herself, following the recent departure of David Farrier.
While the Newshub team of journalists will feed news into the bulletins of The Paul Henry Show, Story and RadioLive, all these brands will retain their current identities.
The afternoon news update will be presented by Jeff McTainsh, while the weekend news will be delivered by Melissa Davies and Tom McRae, who are both returning from posts abroad (current weekend news presenter Carolyn Robinson has left MediaWorks, while her co-anchor Simon Shepard will continue reporting for Newshub).
There is also a strong emphasis on digital channels, with the service operating across digital, servicing web, mobile devices and social media 24 hours a day.
This move is in line with comments previously made by MediaWorks chief executive Mark Weldon in an interview with StopPress.
“For the last seven years or so MediaWorks was run as three very rigid silos," Weldon said. "And the reason it was done like that is because we might be forced to sell one of those assets. It was a silo-based company with finance separated across different areas, content not shared particularly well and not a lot of common sense of a mission or a vision, really. So the last year has been around making the infrastructure, organisational and sometimes visible changes that will allow us to move increasingly smoothly and with growing momentum over the next three years to what myself and the executive team see as becoming New Zealand’s leading integrated multi-media company.”
The transition to multimedia programming like this is already evident in Paul Henry's cross-platform show, and this move is really about taking the other news brands in a similar direction.
Weldon described Newshub as a "very big piece of work" that has taken six months and involved the whole company.
Weldon says the architecture of the new brand is extraordinarily flexible and the metaphor is almost like a subway system (the brand and the creative, which launches today, was all created in-house).
“You’ve got different colours representing different areas of specialisation, so weather or health, or technology or money, or politics, so we’ll develop a number of other sub-brands across it. It will play across TV, it will be the brand that drives all of our radio bulletins on all our radio stations 24 hours a day, it will be the brand on our website and on a new news app that is genuinely quite exciting. It represents a vision of moving to a 24/7 news service model, which is a fundamentally different model than a TV newsroom, so there’s a shift to occur which is very exciting, much more digitally-led. During the day we need more specialisation in digital so that’s something we’re doing, but it is something that’s accompanied by major investment both into digital platforms as well as a new TV set for 6pm news and our other flagship news programmes … The physical manifestation is bringing the teams that have been sitting across multiple premises across the company into a newsroom that is fit for purpose, future proofed, future leading.”
Read the full interview with Weldon here.