NZME throws video into ‘focus’ as it gears up to launch a bulletin news show

NZME is putting its “state-of-the-art” newsroom to use, launching a video news show next month dubbed NZ Herald Focus, which will be hosted by some well-known media personalities. 

The show will span across all digital platforms says an NZME release, and will take advantage of the newsroom – the home of NZ Herald, Newstalk ZB and Radio Sport — to give audiences news, business, sport and entertainment. The show will broadcast a combination of live-streamed and pre-filmed segments.

The show will run multiple times per day, hosted by Tristram Clayton (formerly from Campbell Live), Laura McGoldrick (NZME, Sky Sport), Niva Retimanu (Newstalk ZB) and sports broadcaster Tony Veitch. There will also be guest appearances from key NZME journalists and broadcasters. 

Managing editor Shayne Currie says the team was selected because of their talent, knowledge and ability to connect with their audience.

“In addition to providing latest news, the team will be offering opinion, analysis and insight with some of New Zealand’s leading journalists on issues of the day. We’ll call on NZME’s rich stable of talent to help tell the stories behind the headlines and meet some fresh faces across politics, business, social media, technology, consumer affairs, sport and entertainment.”

During a recent StopPress trip to the NZME newsroom in Auckland, Currie stressed the importance of video and how the media conglomerate planned to make the medium a large part of its offering.

According to Nielsen, television viewership of the 6pm news in New Zealand has decreased, so it’s no wonder NZME is experimenting with different ways of storytelling through video.

This investment in video was recently illustrated with its sponsored content series The Economy Hub, launched last month. The show is a weekly panel series hosted by Liam Dann, which runs for 10 minutes weekly, looking at economic and business news and announcements in New Zealand and further afield.

Currie says the show is “exceeding all internal expectations”, but NZME’s new offering will look quite different.

The Economy Hub is a fantastic example of how we’re telling a deeper story by creating a compelling hosted panel show filmed in a studio with our newsroom as a back drop,” he says. “Viewers love The Economy Hub but, without giving it away, NZ Herald Focus will be a very different look and feel and will be broadcast not just from NZME’s newsroom, it will contain video content from around the country.”

Currie says the show will aim to challenge viewers, not merely have them as passive consumers of the news.

“With some of New Zealand’s best broadcasters presenting together with the country’s best print and radio journalists, the show will be fast-paced, polished, entertaining and informative.”

The idea for NZ Herald Focus didn’t come over night. The show has been in planning for several months off the back of listening to what readers and listeners want on a daily basis, he says.

“In addition to people seeking news in a format they want at the time that’s best for them on the devices they love, we are seeing video usage skyrocketing,” he says. “We know from talking to advertisers that they are proactively looking for new ways to connect with our audience, particularly around video, and this is a solution for them that only NZME could provide. NZME already owns publishing and radio journalism and as an initiator of new and improved news it was only logical we would launch the first digital-only news format.”

The show has been created under the leadership of Currie, digital and television executive Cameron Death (NBC Universal and Microsoft) and experienced broadcast journalist Belinda Henley (Al Jazeera, 60 Minutes), the release says.

Currie points out that all NZME newsrooms around the country, including its network of regional newspapers are now producing video content and NZ Herald Focus gives it the platform to showcase this footage to a nationwide audience.

“We don’t think as a publishing and radio business, we think about getting news, sport and entertainment across our platforms and out to people in a way they want to consume it,” he says.

“Also, our success with WatchMe has proven that New Zealand audiences are looking for new ways to interact with quality content made on our shores. As WatchMe​ expands beyond just comedy and into entertainment, sport and news, it’s a logical way for us to meet the viewers’ needs for compelling local content.”

However, is there a risk of stepping into a space that’s already filled? All of the main media giants in the country have integrated, or begun integrating their news channels. The most recent example being MediaWorks’ move to change 3News into Newshub, which aims to incorporate all of its digital assets.

What will NZ Herald Focus offer that will ensure readers/listeners will choose its content instead?

“While some New Zealand broadcasters are cutting news and current affairs offerings, we know that this is an opportunity to extend and expand NZME’s news offering from some of the most trusted brands – NZ Herald, Newstalk ZB, RadioSport – in the country,” he says.

“We know that New Zealand audiences are far more discerning than they are given credit for and want their news presented to them in an intelligent and original way.”

Because viewers are consuming news very differently, Currie says NZ Herald Focus has a look, feel and distribution strategy that traditional broadcast news can’t touch.

“Unlike traditional broadcast formats NZ Herald Focus doesn’t require appointment-based television viewing and instead lets viewers watch the news they want, at the time that’s best for them on the devices they love,” he says.

NZ Herald Focus will be shorter, based more in-the-moment and allow viewers to connect into the story with the reporters and journos who are creating the news. And, for us, it’s just the beginning.”

Currie confirmed the show has a launch advertising partner, which will soon be announced.

NZ Herald Focus has been designed to meet advertiser needs that are not being met by traditional broadcasters. The response from those advertisers and agencies we’ve previewed it with have been overwhelmingly positive and we’re looking forward to announcing our launch advertising partner soon.”

NZME chief executive Jane Hastings says this is another step in the company’s strategy to deliver content across all channels.

“It’s a logical next step to leverage our extensive NZME newsroom content, across our news, sport and entertainment teams, to now be delivered in video format throughout the day. We’ve already had success trialling this area with shows such as The Economy Hub and The Vent in sport.”

She says commercially there is a high demand for quality New Zealand video content. “This is another initiative to meet that demand. Under [incoming chief executive]Michael Boggs’ leadership you will see more innovation and growth.”

  • Check out our interview with Boggs here

Boggs attests to this saying the move signals NZME’s continued investment in growing the digital offering.

“We know from the commercial sector, plus our data and insights, that this is the right time to expand our dominant New Zealand content position. This is the future and NZME is committed to leading it.”

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