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The Hot List 2019: Vote for the media industry's best thinkers, creators and products

For our next issue of NZ Marketing magazine (on sale in July), we’re getting in on the listicle action by selecting the best of the bunch in the media business. While the editorial team put their heads together to figure out who and what comes out on top, we need avid readers with their fingers on the pulse to vote for their favourite magazine, TV channel, radio station, media companies, visionaries and more. Voting closes 31 May.

By StopPress Team | May 13, 2019 | features

Hottest Magazine

Dish

Magazine readers certainly have an appetite for recipes and food-related stories as Dish is going against the current trend of magazines audiences shrinking. Since 2017 Dish has increased audiences in each quarter, up to an average of 139,000 readers each issue in 2018 according to Nielsen, with the Magshop People’s Choice Award at the 2018 Webstar Magazine Media Awards reinforcing its popularity.

M2

At a time when magazines are losing grip, men continue to pick up M2 magazine. This year, the title is celebrating both its 14th birthday and its growing readership across 2018. Nielsen figures showed the monthly magazine had an average issue readership of 90,000 New Zealanders (10+) in compared to the 63,000 in 2017. Online, its paywall is also keeping it in-line with the changing media times.

Homestyle

With aspirational interior design trending, it’s no surprise to see Homestyle magazine growing. Nielsen readership figures show its readership has grown from 90,000 in 2017 to 111,000 in 2018. Its own design is on point with its art designer Juliette Wanty taking home Best Designer – Home & Food at the 2018 Webstar Magazine Media Awards.

Metro

Metro magazine kicked off 2019 with Henry Oliver joining the team as its new editor. No pressure for Oliver but with the magazine increasing its readership to an average of 167,000 an issue in 2018 from 122,000 in 2017, according to Nielsen, it’s a hot magazine with momentum.

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Hottest Editor

Naomi Larkin

After joining Dish in 2018, Larkin led the title as its readership numbers grew to an average of 139,000 readers per issue last year. Winning Magshop People’s Choice Award at the 2018 Webstar Magazine Media Awards is a sure reflection of her, and her team’s dedicated work.

Murray Kirkness

NZ Herald editor Murray Kirkness is at the helm of a newspaper that’s grown its average issue readership from 415,000 in 2017 to 453,000 in 2018 – definitely something to be celebrated. Alongside this, his team of business journalists has grown and its sports offer has stepped up giving it a greater premium offer to now sit behind the paywall.

Mark Jennings and Tim Murphy

After launching Newsroom two years ago, Mark Jennings and Tim Murphy have created an independent news site serving New Zealanders with in-depth local news and current affairs. The pair have led a team that’s exposed sexual assaults and harassment at Russell McVeagh and an investigation into the fundraising, products and inventions claimed by Ray Avery. This work resulted in Newsroom being named the joint winner of Website of the Year with Stuff.co.nz at the 2018 Voyager Media Awards.

Miriyana Alexander

Leading the New Zealand Herald to be the first major New Zealand media company to put up a digital paywall is no mean feat which is why its premium content editor, Miriyana Alexander, deserves a spot on this list. “I consider journalism to be an important part of our society and democracy, and it does take a lot of money to pay for good journalism,” she said when the wall went live, and we agree.

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Hottest Publisher

The Spinoff

Since its creation in 2014, The Spinoff has continued to add topic tab after topic tab to its website. Once a little TV website, it’s now keeping New Zealanders informed across 11 areas including politics, business, food, science and society. It’s accessible online via its app — which was made free last year —  as well as on YouTube and podcasts, ensuring it has well and truly embraced journalism in the multimedia age.

NZME

It’s a bold move to be the first major New Zealand media company to build a paywall and the New Zealand Herald has taken it in its stride. While its efforts to merge with Stuff finally came to an unsuccessful end last year, it’s not resting on its laurels. The nzherald.co.nz website was the eighth most popular in New Zealand for 2018, with an average monthly audience of 1,750,000 New Zealanders who were visiting to consume a range of different content. It’s playing in the podcast space with daily The Front Page and keeping video coming with NZ Herald Focus and WatchMe.

RNZ

Along with its position as New Zealand’s biggest radio station in the first GfK radio survey of 2019 — 696,600 New Zealanders (10+) tuning into Radio New Zealand each week — it is also keeping listeners informed with more than 20 podcasts. At the time of compiling this list of finalists, RNZ: The Detail, created with Newsroom, was top of the iTunes Podcast chart. It is worth noting RNZ has help through the NZ On Air Innovation Fund.

Newsroom

After launching Newsroom two years ago, Mark Jennings and Tim Murphy have created an independent news site serving New Zealanders with in-depth local news and current affairs. The pair have led a team that’s exposed sexual assaults and harassment at Russell McVeagh and an investigation into the fundraising, products and inventions claimed by Ray Avery. This work resulted in Newsroom being named joint winner of Website of the Year with Stuff.co.nz at the 2018 Voyager Media Awards.

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Hottest Radio Station

RNZ National

As the station drawing in the most listeners each week, RNZ National most definitely deserves a spot on this list. With 616,000 New Zealanders (10+) tuning in according to the latest GfK Radio Survey, this makes it somewhat untouchable as the country’s favourite station. And RNZ isn’t resting on its laurels in the wake of the result. It has put Indira Stewart in the 5am news and current affairs programme slot while Corin Dann will join Susie Ferguson for the Morning Report team.

The Edge

The country’s biggest commercial radio station can’t be ignored when putting together the list of hottest radio stations. With 608,500 New Zealanders (10+) tuning in each week (according to the latest GfK radio Survey), its pop offer continues to please while its lineup of hosts, including Jono Pryor and Ben Boyce, keep listeners entertained.

Newstalk ZB

In GfK’s first radio survey of 2019, NZME’s Newstalk ZB came out shining, boasting the biggest growth across the board. It grew 48,300 listeners since the last survey of 2018 and with a weekly cumulative audience of 555,600 New Zealanders (10+) it currently sits in second place when comparing it to New Zealand’s commercial stations. The station’s growth also highlighted the importance of radio as a source of news and analysis as Kiwis tuned in for updates on the Christchurch terror attack.

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Hottest TV Channel

TVNZ 1

TVNZ 1 was home to all the programmes in Nielsen’s Top 10 television programmes for 2018 including 1 News, Hyundai Country Calendar, Fair Go and Coast New Zealand. Not only is it a success for TVNZ, the channel is a success for New Zealand in telling local stories that can’t be found on international SVOD services.

Three

It’s hard to deny the channel that brings us Married at First Sight a place on this list. This year, the show averaged a 32.2 percent share and 175,859 viewers in the 25-54 demographic. On local shores, the channel is also home to Dancing with the Stars NZ. And beyond reality TV, the channel is telling New Zealand stories, with coverage of the ‘You Are Us Aroha Nui – A Concert for Christchurch’ in mid-April and soon-to-come local highlights Patrick Gower: On Weed and Jonah.

Soho

According to Parrot Analytics, Game of Thrones is 95 times more in-demand than the average TV show in New Zealand. And where can New Zealanders watch it first? Soho. Sky might be facing some challenges right now but its drama and entertainment offer competes with SVODs.

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Hottest TV/Radio Host

John Campbell

After leaving MediaWorks in 2015 John Campbell is back on our screens hosting Breakfast. It was last year Campbell left RNZ’s Checkpoint for TVNZ, excited at the time to be a reporter in the field. Now in the studio hosting Breakfast the audience interest in his position has sparked headlines such as ‘John Campbell’s first week on Breakfast - the good, the bad and the bizarre’. And with the Breakfast’s audience declining more than 30 percent in three years, interest has turned to whether or not he can breathe some new life into the show.

Mike McRoberts

In 2018 Newshub’s Mike McRoberts came close to breaking the internet with a shirtless pic on Twitter. A year later and his abs are on show for this year’s Dancing With the Stars. As well as causing a stir on social media, in the news and current affairs realm he’s also a standout, winning the Best Presenter: News & Current Affairs award two years in a row at the New Zealand TV Awards.

Scotty Morrison

Presenter of Marae and Te Karere, TVNZ’s Māori language news and current affairs show, Morrison has become a well-known face on our screens. In the role he’s become an advocate for te reo Māori and has used it to educate audiences. Off-screen, he’s a professor of te reo Māori at Massey University and has published a series of language guides including The Raupo Phrasebook of Modern Māori and Māori Made Easy, and Māori at Home.

Mike Hosking

Love him or hate him, Mike Hosking pulls in an audience, with the Mike Hosking Breakfast show sitting in the top spot for the time slot nationwide (when compared to other commercial stations), with 408,400 listeners tuning in between 6am and 9am. No doubt helping his popularity is his regular opinion pieces on the New Zealand Herald that get the nation talking.


 

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Hottest Media Product

Jessica’s Tree

This year, New Zealanders are getting a close look at suicide through Jessica’s Tree, a web series based on the true story of Jazz Thornton who lost her close friend Jess to suicide. Thornton has been suicidal herself and the series tells of how she lost her friend and how that changed her life. It looks at suicide from the inside and has been produced in response to New Zealand’s suicide statistics. It was created with Augusto and the full 45-minute documentary is available to watch on NZherald.co.nz.

The Spinoff’s On the Rag Podcast

This year The Spinoff’s feminist On the Rag podcast launched a web series thanks to NZ On Air. Each episode sees Alex Casey, Leonie Hayden and Michele A’Court set out to “jelly wrestle with every issue under the sun”. While the web series is new, the podcast was born in 2016 and is still released at the end of every month sponsored by The Women’s Bookshop.

ZM’s Fletch Vaughan and Megan podcast

For those who don’t spend their mornings tuned into the radio or prefer to consume it without ads and music, ZM’s Fletch Vaughan and Megan podcast is the answer. While recycling shows into podcast episodes is not unique to Fletch Vaughan and Megan, when we’re scrolling through podcasts charts the trio are frequently present and have earned a 4.9 star rating on iTunes.

RNZ: The Detail

One of the newest podcasts to hit is RNZ: The Detail, made with Newsroom. In it, hosts Sharon Brettkelly and Alex Ashton make sense of the stories making headlines. Since its launch in April it’s earned a 4.8 star rating on iTunes, with one reviewer summing up what we think: “Become educated and evolve a critical mindset. This podcast will help you.”

‘Oat the Goat’

Last year, the Ministry of Education tackled bullying with a goat called Oat. The protagonist of the interactive web story, Oat embarks on an adventure to make friends but not without a few challenging situations arising. He becomes a bystander to bullying and the child reading or viewing has to decide how Oat should respond. The hope is the interactivity helps cement the moral of the story in readers’ minds so they are empowered to support the targets of bullying if they see it happen in real life.

Squawk’s Journey

Social enterprise Squawk Squad aims to connect and engage people in the protection and growth of New Zealand’s native bird life. Last year it partnered with with the Department of Conservation, the Christchurch City Council, Ngāi Tahu, Genesis Energy, WhioForever and AR and VR studio M Theory to create a VR experience that details the adventures of a young robin bird who interacts with friends (a tui and kiwi) and foes (a stoat) in the forest. The experience can be viewed through VR or YouTube and to get kids involved Squawk Squad distributed 800 cardboard VR headsets to over 25,000 Kiwi kids from more than 400 schools.

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Hottest Creators

Wrestler

Last year’s winners of Idealog’s Most Innovative in AR/VR Wrestler deserve a spot on this list. The Wellington-based company is on a mission to create VR/AR experiences that have real world impacts and it’s building up a portfolio that supports it. Looking back at the past few months, it’s made headlines on StopPress for creating a VR game promoting Wellington, while its co-founder and chief executive Ben Forman made it into the 2019 Forbes Asia in the media, marketing and advertising category.

Augusto

Hybrid production and creative agency Augusto is keeping the content pipes full. As well as its client work, it has worked on non-commercial projects including web series Jessica’s Tree with NZME based on a real life suicide experience made in response to the suicide statistics in New Zealand. Co-founder Leon Kirkbeck doesn’t shy away from the storytelling as he, Rhys Darby and Dan Schreiber host and produce the Cryptid Factor Podcast. It’s a passion project for the trio who each week discuss strange, hidden and mythical animals. Last year, its popularity saw them host Animal Planet’s Monster Week.

Eli Smit

Last year, Idealog magazine profiled emerging talent in New Zealand. One young Kiwi who stood out was Eli Smit, a 10-year-old entrepreneur hosting the business-themed Ground Breaking Podcast. What does a 10-year-old know about business? Well with his guests including PledgeMe’s Anna Guenther, Weirdly’s Dale Clareburt, and Moustache Milk & Cookie Bar’s Deanna Yang, he's had plenty of advice and hs even started his own business called Get Mowed that sees him plant a tree in New Zealand for every lawn he mows. He's also started a business club at school with 10-15 regular members.

Jake Millar

One of Eli Smit’s interviewees was Jake Millar, the 23-year-old owner of video company Unfiltered. This year Millar’s own interviewees have included founder and chief executive of 90 Seconds Tim Norton, founder of Touchdown Productions Dame Julie Christie and WordPress lead developer Matt Mullenweg. On top of the videos, he’s also expanded Unfiltered into live events.

Radio New Zealand

A list of hottest creators could not overlook Radio New Zealand. As well as producing New Zealand’s biggest radio station in the first GfK radio survey of 2019 — Radio New Zealand with 696,600 New Zealanders (10+) tuning in each week — it’s keeping New Zealanders informed with over 20 podcasts. At the time of compiling this list of finalists, RNZ: The Detail, made with Newsroom, was top of the iTunes Podcast chart. It is worth noting RNZ has help through the NZ On Air Innovation Fund.

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Biggest Media Move

oOh!media acquiring Adshel

2018 was a big year for outdoor, with one of the movements seeing oOh!media acquire Adshel from Here, There & Everywhere. The coming together of the two companies gave oOh!media 1,600 street furniture assets to add to its offer and contributed to its double-digit revenue growth in its CY18 financial results.

Sky appointing a new CEO

Following John Fellet’s departure from the chief executive seat, Sky appointed Martin Stewart to the role. It’s no secret Stewart is joining a company in a time of struggle and he’s publicly criticised its performance. However, with that criticism came with it an ambitious plan to make Sky a loved brand: by changing the brand’s name, its price, what’s in it and what customers can do with it.

MediaWorks and QMS merger proposition

MediaWorks and QMS have laid plans to create a new company by merging their offer. The new company, which would keep the MediaWorks name, will have QMS’ out-of-home, digital media and production business as well as MediaWorks’ TV, radio and digital assets. Should it be confirmed the new company will offer advertising across TV, radio, digital and outdoors. Completion of the merger is subjected to financial approval as well as other conditions.

Magic and RadioLive coming together

Music met talkback radio this year when MediaWorks brought together Magic and RadioLive to create a new entity called Magic Talk. Offering both music and talk, the station features a live simulcast of The AM Show and Newshub.

NZME and Stuff merger rejected by court of appeal

A two year quest came to an end last year when the Court of Appeal rejected the merger of Stuff and NZME. The latter followed up the move with an announcement that it would call it quits on the attempts to merge. Both companies have since been pressing on with digital initiatives.

NZ Herald Paywall

After a year of build up, on 30 April NZME put up a paywall on NZherald.co.nz with managing editor Shayne Currie calling it a “watershed moment”. Those who are already subscribers to NZME’s newspapers have automatic access to the digital subscription where they will also have access to articles from the New York Times, the Financial Times, Harvard Business Review and The Times (UK) as a result of new syndication deals signed with these iconic mastheads.

NZME and Go Media sales partnership

2018 saw NZME and Go Media enter a sales partnership that will see the out-of-home company’s media solutions be included in the media company's multi-platform offering. NZME’s suite now includes radio, print, digital and Go Media’s portfolio.

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Hottest Big Media Company

NZME

Last year we saw NZME venture into recruitment, automotive and property with new digital channels. We saw the move as one of future-proofing and today that momentum is continuing. While it reported a drop in net profit, it has armed itself with a Go Media sales partnership to add out-of-home to its suite of radio, print and digital offerings and most recently put up its paywall. While we have yet to see how that paywall pays off, there’s no denying the company is one to keep an eye on.

TVNZ

When TVNZ’s financial results for the six-months to 31 December 2018 were released earlier this year, its total revenue was up $3.1 million to $173.5 million, driven by stable TV advertising revenue and double-digit growth in online advertising revenues. Beyond the numbers, TVNZ OnDemand has become a competitor to paid SVODs alongside great sports offerings with the Commonwealth Games and Winter Olympics, and upcoming New Zealand Winter Games and the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Radio New Zealand

As well as producing New Zealand’s biggest radio station in the first GfK radio survey of 2019 — Radio New Zealand with 696,600 New Zealanders (10+) tuning in each week — it’s keeping New Zealanders informed with over 20 podcasts. At the time of compiling this list of finalists, RNZ: The Detail, made with Newsroom, was top of the iTunes Podcast chart. It is worth noting RNZ has help through the NZ On Air Innovation Fund.

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Most Influential in Media

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

In the wake of the Christchurch terror attack, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has come out with a call to action for social media giants to stop feeding extremist content. She’s encouraging global co-operation to address the issue and showing how New Zealand is willing to take on the media giants.

Melissa Lee

Last year National’s broadcasting spokesperson Melissa Lee put a bill before parliament to force the funding agencies to reveal more about the audiences the programmes attract. If it passes into law, it would oblige New Zealand on Air and Māori broadcasting funding agency Te Māngai Pāho to release data every three months on who has consumed the content they fund. Lee says it will “maintain and conserve public funding opportunities for the content that New Zealanders care about”.

New Zealand On Air

There’s no denying NZ On Air’s power in the content space despite Melissa Lee proposing data be released on audiences consuming content funded by it. The broadcast funding agency grants local producers the ability to bring their work to life in the form of financial support and therefore plays a crucial role in what is available to audiences.

Māori Development Minister, Hon Nanaia Mahuta

In an effort to make sure Māori broadcasters are responsive to a changing media environment, Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta has kicked off a review of the Māori broadcasting sector. Called the ‘Māori Media Sector Shift’, the review will consider options on the funding, delivery, retention and access Māori media have to Māori language programming content. It will include Māori Television, the Māori radio network and Te Mangai Paho.

Comms Council and ANZA

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern isn’t the only one wanting to see changes in the social media space. The Commercial Communications Council and Association of New Zealand Advertisers has asked the local advertising and agency industry as well as the government to petition Facebook to make changes to the security of its live streaming platform.

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Hottest Media Visionary

Martin Stewart

Following John Fellet’s departure from the CEO seat, Sky appointed Martin Stewart to the role. It’s no secret Stewart is joining a company in a time of struggle and he’s publicly criticised its performance. However, with that criticism came with it ambitious plans including notes on how he will change the streaming app Fan Pass.“I’m going to change the name, the price, what’s in it, and what you can do with it,” he told Newsroom.

Jason Paris

Former MediaWorks chief executive Jason Paris is heading up Vodafone and he has a strong vision for its future. Days into taking on the chief executive role, he told Newsroom he sees the company’s role to be a content curator and aggregator through Vodafone, a different direction to Spark which has gone down the acquisition road. In face of the company’s recent fine for billing customers after their contracts had finished, Paris stayed firm on his view: "Every customer deserves an accurate bill every month. We clearly fell well short of that in this instance, and for that I apologise. If you get it wrong, you should put your hand up, acknowledge it, and make it right”.

Ian Taylor

Named the 2019 New Zealand Innovator of the Year, Ian Taylor is making moves in the media space. As the founder of Animation Research Ltd and Taylormade Productions, he’s a pioneer of the virtual world.

Jonny Hendriksen

Shuttlerock founder and chief executive Jonny Hendriksen is playing with the likes of Facebook, Instagram and YouTube from his home in Nelson. Shuttlerock helps advertisers by creating video optimised to different platforms and in different languages. It was founded seven years ago and now has offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Berlin, the US and Paris.

Michael Boggs

With the paywall expecting to cost NZME $1.2 million this year, its implementation was a bold but necessary move. Within three years, between 70,000 and 100,000 people will need to be paying for NZME digital content in order to meet targets the company has adopted from the experience with online paywalls in Australia. While we wait to see if this is achieved, Boggs gets kudos for having the vision to put up the paywall.

Tim Watkin

Radio New Zealand’s executive producer of podcasts and series has been busy, growing the broadcasters’ offering. The Podcasts & Series tab on RNZ’s website delivers 70 items, delving into everything from science and nature to parenting, current affairs, sports, history, music, finance, sexuality, and popular culture.

Cate Slater

TVNZ’s director of content has a big job with competitors in the broadcast and online space. TVNZ OnDemand is now a strong rival for Netflix with its full seasons of programmes and movies as well as being a catch-up place for broadcast television. It’s also got a point of difference from international SVODs with Slater placing importance on serving New Zealanders local content. And making sure there’s something for everyone, she’s also played a major role in the creation of Hei Hei, a child-friendly environment born from a partnership between NZ On Air and TVNZ.

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