Heather du Plessis-Allan: Is Three bluffing?

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Sat, 19 Oct 2019, 9:30AM

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Is Three bluffing?

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Sat, 19 Oct 2019, 9:30AM

The big news of the day is of course the announcement that TV3 is now up for sale.

I think we need to have a dispassionate look at this, ask a few questions about how. Why now, that kind of thing.

And to do that we need to strip out a bit of the emotion here.

Having said that, before we go there, I do want to acknowledge that this can’t be free of emotion for some people, for the staff who work there this will be a difficult day.

This is scary, it will have come as a shock and I’m sure all of us will be hoping things work out well for them.

But while it is a shock, it’s not really a surprise.

Three hasn’t been doing well for a long time.

Last year, its owner MediaWorks posted a loss of $5.5 million loss.

It’s been lobbying the government hard for some help.

It’s had its hosts warn on tv that unless something happens the channel could close.

Just this week, it’s canceled a show, cut another right back and even warned MAFs might be facing the axe.

And now this.

But is this just another attempt to pressure the government to get what Three wants?

Three reasons I ask that question.

Firstly, the timing.

Because we know that right now the broadcasting minister is about to make a decision that will impact heavily on TV in this country.

He’s deciding what to do with TVNZ and he’s due to announce that in the next few weeks.

Secondly, because who’s going to buy Three?

It’s fine to put something up for sale, but you need a buyer.

Who would buy it?

Look at TV everywhere.

TVNZ can’t return a divided.

Sky’s shares have fallen to the lowest ever in the last few weeks.

All suffer from the same thing, we’re busy doing other things and if we have TV time we’ve got too many options like netlifx, neon, lightbox, spark sport, sky sport.

Thirdly, because already MediaWorks has indicated this doesn’t have to happen.

CEO Michale Anderson has been doing a round of interviews today and in one, he said if the government changes things with TVNZ, he’d be ‘silly’ to ignore that.

For what it’s wroth, I hope this is a bluff.

But if it is, it’s a risky game to play.

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