'Fight for survival': MediaWorks asks staff to take a 15 per cent pay cut

Author
Damien Venuto, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 1 Apr 2020, 2:45PM
The media company has already been under financial pressure. (Photo / File)
The media company has already been under financial pressure. (Photo / File)

'Fight for survival': MediaWorks asks staff to take a 15 per cent pay cut

Author
Damien Venuto, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 1 Apr 2020, 2:45PM

The boss of TV and radio broadcaster MediaWorks today asked staff to take a "voluntary" 15 per cent pay cut.

Speaking to staff at an internal meeting, chief executive Michael Anderson spoke of the pressures facing the business amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While media consumption has been increased massively with many New Zealanders at home, the advertising market that MediaWorks relies on has taken a massive hit.

With many companies unable to generate revenue at the moment, there has been widespread reluctance to advertise while businesses struggle to make ends meet.

In a statement sent to the Herald, Anderson said the company was in a "fight for survival".

"Like many businesses across the country, we find ourselves facing an extremely harsh reality," Anderson said.

"Covid-19 has caused a drastic decline in advertising revenue across all areas of our business which has resulted in a dramatic shortfall of cash flow."

Anderson said the management team is doing everything it can to keep the business in operation.

"This means making some very difficult calls to ensure the sustainability of our business in the coming weeks and months.

"Our people are our priority during this difficult time and we are taking every practical measure to keep them in employment for as long as we can."

The company is asking its radio, television and digital workforce to take a 15 per
cent pay cut and its out-of-home advertising group, QMS, to take a 20 per cent pay cut, for at least the next three months.

"I am acutely aware of how much I am asking from our people and while this has not been an easy decision, it is a necessary one," he said.

"MediaWorks' TV and radio stations have provided New Zealanders with news and entertainment for over three decades and we must do everything we can to make sure that continues long into the future."

This comes at a time of enormous uncertainty for the broadcaster.

In October, MediaWorks revealed plans to sell its TV business and its headquarters in Auckland's Eden Terrace. The Flower St building houses its television head office and studios.

MediaWorks found a buyer for the building but had not completed a sale of the television arm by the time coronavirus hit the global economy.

The company was understood to have attracted interest from a number of parties before the outbreak of the pandemic.

The television arm of the media company has long faced financial struggles in the face of competition with TVNZ and advertising revenue shifting online.