“Now we can make our decisions” – Two minutes with Stuff owner, Sinead Boucher

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This week saw CEO of Stuff Sinead Boucher purchase the company for $1. Here she takes us through what this means for creating Stuff’s own destiny and whether she’ll pay the $1 cash or bank transfer.

A historic day in New Zealand media happened on May 25 as one of our most credited media CEO’s Sinead Boucher of Stuff brought out the company from parent company Nine for a whopping $1.

The purchase comes after a few weeks of back and forth with NZME who request a consolidation.

“I didn’t have a preferred outcome between this sale and the sale to NZME,” says Boucher. “I started off being a very strong supporter of the consolidation. It’s no secret media has been very disrupted in the last few years. I knew that NZME had a strong footing and could have taken it into the future, but when it became clear that wasn’t going anywhere I started to think about what the alternative would be.”

Parent company Nine had been looking to sell the business for a while, creating fears in the market the New Zealand arm would be folded, leading to an even smaller local media landscape.

“Stuff has been up for sale for quite a long time, and I thought that wasn’t going to change anytime soon. I thought the best thing to do for the business was step in and offer to take it into our own hands. New Zealand ownership was a huge opportunity for us, and an opportunity for our owners Nine who wanted to move out of the New Zealand market for quite some time.”

This choice, says Boucher, was a move to help strengthen our local journalism.

“Journalism is right at the heart of everything we do and have always done. It’s absolutely critical to a healthy democracy and well-functioning society. We’ve got a great stable of local digital sites and newspapers that preformed really well over the Covid crisis, and it’s shown us people really turn to Stuff and rely on us for that trusted news source. There is an opportunity to build on that and develop further.”

Boucher acknowledges that the media landscapes at the moment is being challenged, and says Stuff will look to overcome hurdles with the new structure.

“New Zealand is really well serviced by some great media companies and great journalism. But this has all been challenged, not just by the Covid crisis but by the shift in advertising, particularly towards some of the social networks. That advertising is a direct funder of the journalism that underpins a healthy society.

“This ownership will now give us, meaning the staff, ownership of our destiny. We’re looking forward to creating the next great era in the business and the structure and the fact that now we make our own decisions really opens up the possibilities for new partnerships. I don’t want to give the impression that this ownership takes away overarching challenges that we’re all going to face, but I’m optimistic with great assets and great people we will get through it.

The sale will be finalised later this week, when Boucher has to fork over the money for one of New Zealand’s largest media companies.

“I actually don’t have to pay until later in the week, I’m not sure but I’m really hoping I do have to pay cash because I love the idea of that. However, I’m assuming I’ll have to bank transfer the $1.”

Boucher confirmed this was in fact, one New Zealand dollar. Or 93 cents Australian.

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