MediaWorks New Zealand
MediaWorks New Zealand is a New Zealand-based television, radio and interactive media company entirely owned by U.S. company Oaktree Capital Management. It operates playout services from Auckland and Wellington studios via Kordia's microwave network for Newshub, Three, and Bravo, ten national radio brands, eighteen websites and three locally operated radio stations.
|Founded||2004; 15 years ago|
|Owner||Oaktree Capital Management|
|Divisions||Radio (11 brands)|
Television (Three/Bravo/The Edge TV)
Interactive (13 websites)
In 2019, Mediaworks announced that they were putting their television network Three up for sale. At this point in time, it is unclear how long Three will last on New Zealand television.
In 2004, CanWest Global Communications combined television company TV3 Network Services and radio company RadioWorks to form the new MediaWorks company. On 29 July 2004, 30% of this new company was sold on the NZSX. Three years later, in July 2007, CanWest sold its stake of the company to Ironbridge Capital, a group of Australian investors, who subsequently obtained the remaining 30% from other investors.
In 2011, MediaWorks received a $43 million loan guarantee for the Government to renew its licenses until 2030. The deal went against official advice, and then Communications Minister Steven Joyce was accused of having a conflict of interest as the past managing director of the company's RadioWorks division. The loan was described by AUT's Centre for Journalism, Media and Democracy as a form of corporate welfare, and was criticised by blogger Sarah Miles as a case of governmental interference in the media. Among other companies, Radio Bay of Plenty secured commercial loans, The Radio Network covered its own costs, and Rhema Broadcasting Group covered the cost with no-interest loans.
The US-based Oaktree Capital Management bought $125 million of loans to MediaWorks in 2012. These were converted to equity in 2013. In June 2013, with over NZ$700 million in debt, MediaWorks NZ was put into receivership. It came out of receivership in November 2013. Oaktree Capital Management took 100% ownership of the business in 2015.
In August 2014, Mark Weldon was appointed CEO, replacing Susan Turner, who had resigned in July 2014. Weldon resigned in May 2016 at the same time that a large number of long serving and high-profile staff were leaving the company under his leadership. CFO David Chalmers replaced him in an acting capacity.
In May 2016, MediaWorks and NBCUniversal Television Distribution entered into a joint venture and revamped Channel Four as the new reality television channel Bravo. In August 2016, Michael Anderson was appointed as CEO of MediaWorks.
Three was founded as TV3 in 1989 after the Fourth Labour government allowed for a private television broadcaster. CanWest obtained TV3 between 1991 and 1997 after the National government loosened rules on foreign ownership. Under CanWest control, TV3 relaunched in March 1998 with a new brand and a 3 News bulletin hosted by John Campbell and Carol Hirschfeld.
MediaWorks was created in 2004, and owned TV3 and C4. In 2005, Hilary Barry & Mike McRoberts became the station's news anchors. TV3 staff also launched youth station TV4 in 1997, and replaced it with C4 in 2003.
In 2009 the timeshift channel TV3 Plus 1 was launched. C4 2 was launched in 2010, then, when Four replaced C4 in 2011, C4 replaced C4 2. In 2014, timeshift channel Four Plus 1 was launched, and The Edge TV replaced C4.
In 2017, TV3 was rebranded as Three. On 15 April 2018, MediaWorks launched ThreeLife, a lifestyle channel.
On 1 July 2019, The Edge TV moved exclusively online, and was replaced on TV by ThreeLife + 1.
On 18 October 2019, it was announced that MediaWorks was intending to sell off their television division including Three, ThreeLife, and Bravo. MediaWorks also intends to sell its Flower Street head office and studios in Auckland's Eden Terrace. Several Three television programs and shows have also been canceled. Media commentator Bill Raston has claimed that hundreds of jobs could be lost if a buyer is not found.
|2009||TV3 Plus 1|
|2014||Four Plus 1||The Edge TV|
|2016||Bravo||Bravo Plus 1|
|2018||ThreeLife||The Edge TV|
|The Edge TV||N/A|
|2019||ThreeLife + 1||The Edge TV|
MediaWorks inherited most of its radio stations from its namesake RadioWorks, which was itself the result of a history of amalgamations. That history began when Radio Pacific purchased the Energy Enterprises group of local North Island stations in the 1990s and began to operate as Pacific/Radioworks Group. In 1999 Radio Pacific and Radio Otago merged to form the publicly listed company RadioWorks; this included the growing brands of The Edge, The Rock and Solid Gold.
Between 2000 and 2001 CanWest purchased RadioWorks, awaiting company restructuring before completing the year-long takeover, and moved its existing MORE FM group assets, including Channel Z and The Breeze Wellington, into the company. Local heritage stations were categorised under the LocalWorks brand. Some stations, like Magic 828 and 98.6FM Manawatu, The Breeze Wellington and Lite FM Christchurch, were transferred to an easy listening format and were rebranded as semi-local stations in The Breeze in 2004.
The music format on most of the LocalWorks stations was an Adult Contemporary format, including KCC FM Northland, Y99.3 FM Waikato, Coastline FM Tauranga, Lakes 96FM Rotorua, Energy FM Taranaki, Hot 93 Hawkes Bay, Star FM Wanganui, 2XS FM Manawatu, Fifeshire FM Nelson, C93FM Christchurch, Radio Central in Central Otago, Resort Radio Queenstown, 4XO Dunedin and Foveaux FM Southland. From March 2003, these stations were required to introduce a centralised playlist to create a standard in the music played across the stations. Many of these stations became part of the More FM network in December 2004.
Three, Bravo and The Edge TV operate out of Auckland City. Television advertising is sold by the MediaWorks offices in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Melbourne, Sydney and Hamilton. There are Newshub bureaus in the Three Headquarters in Auckland and MediaWorks offices in Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, with news staff working out of other offices as needed. Three provides mature content, Newshub bulletins, current affairs and sport. The Edge TV launched in 2014 and broadcasts music videos and entertainment news. All are available via all digital platforms such as terrestrial, satellite and cable. TV3 and Four were the only ones previously available via analogue terrestrial on the VHF band before the 2013 switch-off. The Edge TV was added in 2018. Bravo and Bravo Plus 1 replaced Four and Four Plus 1 in 2016. ThreeLife was added in 2018, and ThreeLife + 1 replaced The Edge TV on terrestrial in 2019.
|Channel||Launched||Channel||Plus 1 channel|
|Three||1989||3||8 (Sky 503)|
|Bravo||2016||4 (Sky 12)||9 (Sky 512)|
|ThreeLife||2018||11 (Sky 29)||N/A|
|The Edge TV||2014||theedge|
Since its inception in 2004, MediaWorks have moved its local stations over to the More FM and The Breeze brand; all these broadcasts now carry this branding and some or all of the brand's programming. At the same time, MediaWorks have rolled out new brands Radio Live and Kiwi FM, converted Radio Pacific to LiveSport, and purchased brands Mai FM and George FM. MediaWorks owns Times FM in Orewa, Coromandel FM on the Coromandel Peninsula and Radio Dunedin in Otago.
|The Breeze||Easy listening||The Breeze Wellington in 1993|
|The Edge||Pop/Rock, R&B/top 40||The Edge Hamilton in 1994|
|George FM||Dance music||George FM Auckland in 1998|
|Mai FM||Urban music||Mai FM Auckland in 1992|
|Magic Music||Oldies||New station|
|More FM||AC/Pop||More FM Wellington in 1991|
|Magic Talk||Talk radio||Radio Pacific Auckland in 1978|
|The Rock||Rock music||The Rock Hamilton in 1992|
|The Sound||Classic rock/Oldies||Solid Gold Auckland in 1997|
|LiveSport||Sports talk||Radio Pacific Auckland in 1978 (sold)|
|Kiwi FM||Alternative music||Channel Z Wellington in 1996 (now defunct)|
Coromandel FM is a regional Coromandel Peninsula radio network with a Hot AC music format and hourly Radio Live News updates. It was officially launched by station manager Warren Male in December 1992, but began as short trial broadcasts on Pauanui-Tairua and Whitianga-Whangamata during previous summers. Under a contract with MediaWorks New Zealand, independent affiliate Coromandel FM Limited also operates The Breeze Mercury Bay and The Rock Mercury Bay from Thames.
Coromandel FM's daily breakfast programme is hosted by Rex Simpson and includes the Carswell Construction Rural Hour, political commentary from MP Scott Simpson, Thames-Coromandel Mayor Glenn Leach, and Hauraki Mayor John Tregidga, birthday announcements, and horoscopes. Alan Beagle hosts mid-mornings and Mike Bain hosts afternoons.
Local brands and affiliates
|Brand||Type||Market and location|
|Radio Dunedin||Oldies||Otago: Dunedin since 1922|
|Brand||Type||Market and location||Notes|
|Big River Radio||Adult contemporary||Otago: Balclutha (1992-2015)||Merged into More FM|
|Coromandel FM||Hot AC||Coromandel Peninsula: Thames (1992-2018)||Merged into More FM|
MediaWorks Interactive consists of the Newshub website, the official websites of the company's television and radio brands, and six specialist websites set up since the department was formed in 2004. The Interactive department designs, maintains and sells advertising on all eighteen websites. Most websites have a similar layout and a MediaWorks link bar at the top of every page.
The Newshub website is the flagship news website of MediaWorks, and is continuously updated by the company's journalists. It claims to have provided the first video coverage and breaking news coverage of several events, including being the first website to have posted the verdict of the retrial of David Bain in 2009. It includes sections on national, world, sport, business, entertainment, politics, lifestyle, technology and odd news, as well as weather forecasts, information on Newshub programmes and a news forum. The other websites carry feeds from relevant sections.
|Website Name||Primary purpose||News content|
|threenow.co.nz||ThreeNow: streams of Three, ThreeLife, and Bravo||Feed of Newshub|
|newshub.co.nz||Website of Newshub||Articles, videos, audio clips from Newshub and affiliates|
|bravotv.co.nz||Website of Bravo||None|
|theedge.co.nz||Website of The Edge||Feed of Newshub, in-house music and celebrity news|
|morefm.co.nz||Website of More FM||Feed of Newshub|
|maifm.co.nz||Website of Mai FM||Feed of Newshub|
|georgefm.co.nz||Website of George FM||None|
|therock.net.nz||Website of The Rock||In-house music news|
|thesound.co.nz||Website of The Sound||Feed of Newshub|
|thebreeze.co.nz||Website of The Breeze||Feed of Newshub|
|magic.co.nz||Website of Magic||Feed of Newshub|
|rova.nz||Landing page for Rova||None|
|Website Name||Primary purpose||Current use|
|adsearch.co.nz||Ads-on-demand from MediaWorks clients||Defunct|
|mymobizone.co.nz||Mobile content provider||Sold to Modica Group|
|vouchermate.co.nz||Print and mobile voucher website||Sold to Associated Media|
|radiolive.co.nz||Opinion, news, lifestyle & general website of Radio Live||Brand disestablished|
|livesport.co.nz||Website of LiveSport|
|kiwifm.co.nz||Website of Kiwi FM|
|four.co.nz||Website of Four||Redirects to ThreeNow|
|scout.co.nz||Celebrity and entertainment news||In-house celebrity gossip, redirects to Newshub Entertainment|
Confidentiality and trust
On 10 March 2016 a reporter for MediaWorks broke embargo and leaked sensitive information about a 25 basis point cut by the Reserve Bank to the Official Cash Rate (OCR). MediaWorks conducted their own investigation to the leak, and followed up with an apology from CEO Mark Weldon (former head of the New Zealand Stock exchange), although Weldon stopped short of naming the reporters involved. As a result of the loss of trust with the media, the Reserve Bank has elected to discontinue the media lockup prior to future releases of the OCR.
- "Our Brands". MediaWorks. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
- Greive, Duncan (18 October 2019). "MediaWorks quits television: Three will be sold – or closed". The Spinoff. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
- Company profile, mediaworks.co.nz; accessed 26 January 2017.
- "Govt warned on media deal". The New Zealand Herald. 8 April 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
- "Govt lends MediaWorks $43m against advice". TVNZ. One News. 7 April 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
- Myllylahti, Merja (16 September 2011). "The New Zealand Media Ownership Report 2011" (PDF). labour.org.nz. AUT. Archived from the original (Report) on 23 November 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
- Miles, Sarah (10 April 2015). "Bread and games and the plight of Campbell Live". The Christchurch Fiasco. Sarah Miles. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
- Drinnan, John (11 March 2011). "Media: Radio deal a mockery of free market". The New Zealand Herald. New Zealand Media and Entertainment. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
- McBeth, Paul (6 June 2015). "Oaktree takes full ownership of MediaWorks". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
- "MediaWorks in receivership". The New Zealand Herald. 17 June 2013.
- "Mark Weldon named MediaWorks new boss". The New Zealand Herald. 5 August 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
- "MediaWorks chief executive Mark Weldon quits: 'Personal cost now too high to continue'". The New Zealand Herald. 4 May 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
- "MediaWorks partners with NBC to turn channel FOUR into Bravo". Newshub. 2 May 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
- Black, Eleanor (3 May 2016). "Mediaworks dumps FOUR for new reality channel Bravo". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
- Pullar-strecker, Tom (2 August 2016). "MediaWorks names new CEO - lobby group says he should fill 'gaps left' by TVNZ". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
- "MediaWorks announces new channel ThreeLife". Newshub. 15 February 2015. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
- "Hot Off the Press Release: Edge TV to Go HD". ScreenScribe. 14 June 2019. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
- "Live: Mediaworks' TV business has been put up for sale". Stuff.co.nz. 18 October 2019. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
- "MediaWorks staff reeling at plan to sell off TV network, Auckland headquarters". New Zealand Herald. 18 October 2019. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
- "Bravo to launch on July 3". Newshub. 22 June 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
- "Whitianga". theradiovault.net. Archived from the original on 27 August 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
- Coromandel FM Website Archived 24 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine; accessed 26 January 2017.
- 3 News radio advertisement on MediaWorks stations September 2009
- "Reserve Bank". Rbnz.govt.nz. April 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
- "MediaWorks Response to Reserve Bank Statement". Scoop.co.nz. 14 April 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2017.