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Heather du Plessis-Allan: These TVNZ job losses won't be the last

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 7 Mar 2024, 4:54pm

Heather du Plessis-Allan: These TVNZ job losses won't be the last

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 7 Mar 2024, 4:54pm

First it was Newshub, now it's TVNZ.

We are still waiting on the details- staff have been told there will be 68 job losses, but the rest they’ll find out tomorrow.

The speculation in the media is that half of those job cuts will be in the newsroom. Fair Go and Sunday reportedly will be merged, Breakfast and Seven sharp are affected, as is the late bulletin.

Shortland Street will be cut down to three nights a week at some point, and the main news bulletin will reportedly be cut down to 30 minutes, but nothing is confirmed right now.

To be honest, if they want to save the ship, that is how brutal they need to be, particularly with that bulletin. That thing needs to be cut in half.

When I first started working at TVNZ slightly less than 20 years ago, senior news bosses were already talking about needing to do that. It is well overdue.

And it’s actually not unusual internationally to have shorter news bulletins. The Germans have a 15 minute bulletin at 8pm, In the UK, the BBC News at Six is half an hour, it happens all around the world.

Seven Sharp, it they want to be brutal, should probably be cut altogether- you can probably buy a half-hour programme from overseas for much cheaper to put in that slot.

I don't say this because I want this to happen, I don’t want less news on TV. I don’t want less New Zealand content on screens.

But we need to be realistic, people are turning the TV off. And TVNZ cannot keep spending this much money on a product that fewer and fewer people want to use. It's not sustainable to keep pumping the same amount of money in when you're getting less from it.

It's a little bit like the postal service. Fewer and fewer people are using it nowadays, so it has to change and trim the budget to reflect the demand.

You don't get post delivered five days a week anymore, you get it three days a week. And fewer people are watching the news, so it needs to cut costs.

And actually not just the news, it's the whole of TVNZ. At some point, there will be so few people watching linear TV, we will have to pull the plug altogether. In the same way that one day we will have to stop the postal deliveries.

There is some hope for TVNZ, they’re going hard investing in TVNZ Plus- which is their online platform that's like the TVNZ version of Netflix.

Maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t. But while that is the future, linear TV is not.

So these job losses, sadly, will not be the last.


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