TVNZ gets its slice of the restructure action, looks to remove around 30 roles

Modern media is awash in restructures. NZME is currently grappling with a multi-headed beast. MediaWorks TV is haemorraging viewers at primetime and trying to integrate its various platforms. Fairfax is in the throes of its News Rewired programme. And TVNZ, despite benefitting from the troubles of its free-to-air broadcast rival and clocking in with record share for One News and Seven Sharp, obviously doesn’t want to miss out, so it has embarked on a proposed restructure that aims to make it a fully digital media business and those changes are set to affect approximately 30 roles. 

In a statement, head of sales and marketing Jeremy O’Brien, said the consultation phase for “a proposed reorganisation of our business” began yesterday.

“This is about responding to the rapidly changing media market and aligning resources towards shaping TVNZ’s future, particularly in the digital space,” he says. 

He says the proposal includes a re-ordering of business units and reporting lines, with approximately 30 roles looking to be removed from the business. And some but not all of the new positions will be contestable.

It is expected TVNZ’s new structure will be confirmed by early August.

Due to the old ‘we’re in a consultation phase’ chestnut—even though most ‘consultation phases’ are euphemistic HR exercises—O’Brien wouldn’t comment further. But it’s thought the proposal will lead to changes at the executive level, with current head of digital Thor Bayer slated to move into a new role heading up business development across products and partnerships. The head of technology and broadcast Helen Clifton is also thought to be moving into the new area of product innovation.

O’Brien is also set to take a new role as commercial director, and as part of that, its inhouse production and promotion arm Blacksand will come under his remit, along with sales and marketing.

He says this is a positive move based on positioning the company for the future, and the context of these changes is slightly different to that of its main local competitor MediaWorks, which has gone through a whole heap of changes in recent months and has been battling at primetime. 

TVNZ says the gap between the two networks is the widest it’s been in ten years. And, as John Drinnan wrote in the Herald, “on Tuesday, One News attracted 42.1 per cent of the 25-54-year-old audience and 3 News had 14.8 per cent, says TVNZ”. 

That’s a big gap to make up, and it’s partially to do with TVNZ’s opportunistic snatching of Home and Away during MediaWorks’ receivership, which left it with a hole in the important 5.30 lead-in slot. But the Campbell Live saga had to do some damage to its news cred and, since then, the lack of a current affairs show at 7pm has, as evidenced by the ratings, obviously led to people switching over to Seven Sharp.

MediaWorks is set to get its replacement show on August 10, the date slated for Heather duPlessis Allan and Duncan Garner to take to the air as hosts of Story. But there are still few details about the show. 

MediaWorks has bet big on locally-made reality shows. MediaWorks was happy with the performance of The Bachelor and Dancing with the Stars, but the X Factor NZ was a stinker. But losing so much of its audience between 6pm and 7.30pm is thought to have had a big impact from a media sales perspective as it’s a critical part of any TV network’s ability to guarantee an audience. 

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