Live now
Start time
Playing for
End time
Listen live
Up next
Listen live on

Andrew Dickens: The media model is broken because of fear

Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 15 Apr 2024, 1:45PM
Photo/Dean Purcell
Photo/Dean Purcell

Andrew Dickens: The media model is broken because of fear

Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 15 Apr 2024, 1:45PM

Since we were last together, the collapse of television news and current affairs has continued.

And with it, we have been subjected to a lot of highfalutin thinking about the metaphysical and cultural reasons why linear TV is dying.

You know - go woke go broke. Or- this is because nobody trusts you, because you're all raving lefties.

Meanwhile, Melissa Lee has been asked what she is going to do about it, when it's obvious that there's very little she can do.

These are commercial entities that are suffering at the hands of market forces that have been long predicted to hit.

Commercial broadcasting and journalism is an easy business model. Inventory control and labour costs. In other words, you can't employ any more people than the money you make from the advertising.

Hearing that more than 300 were employed by Newshub was pretty revealing. That's a lot of salaries.

For some perspective, NZME employs just over 200 for it's papers and radio and digital content. And the lid has been sinking steadily for a years now.

That's because digital players are siphoning off $100 million a year in advertising content

Despite the 6 o'clock news having the highest spot rates, they were unable to make the budget balance

Faced with this environment I was confused after Warner took over 3 that they added to the news output with full-service late-night shows and more. They increased their costs at a time when revenue was going down.

It seemed to me that no matter how woke or unwoke or how biased or unbiased, Newshub was increasingly modelled to lose money without a huge recalibration.

Meanwhile, despite warning bells sounding about the theft of revenue by digital companies, our TV operators seemed timid to adapt.

Facebook and Google sell clicks. They gain news content and then clicks when punters repost links. Yet the links from so many news operators continue to be free.

There's a reason the Herald is now behind a paywall, so at least we can clip the ticket. When we did it the industry thought we were audacious. It's beginning to look very smart.

Furthermore, TVNZ in particular has made a foray into the digital world with TVNZ+. But it's free to air and the ad inventory is so low it's better to watch it online with time shifting, thereby missing out on the ads that pay for the whole shebang.

The model is broken not because of politics or bias but because of fear.


Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you