Working with the sector, Government looks at how support for the media sector can be shaped and implemented in the short and long term.
The media plays a vital role in a healthy democracy by holding governments and the commercial sector to account, sharing the stories that are important to us and reflecting who we are as New Zealanders. Our media showcases Aotearoa’s unique identity, culture and languages.
Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage works with the media sector and provides advice to the Minister for Broadcasting and Media, to help address the challenges and opportunities faced by the sector.
We also share guidance with the sector on changes in policy and legislation that could impact on their environment and operations.
Working alongside our funding agencies, we draw on specific expertise within the sector to design and deliver initiatives that help media organisations evolve and flourish over time.
Post Covid-19 relief
COVID-19 exacerbated the existing challenges facing the media sector of increased overseas competition and rapidly changing audience behaviour. The drop in advertising revenue through the lockdowns also had a significant impact on many media organisations.
In April 2020, Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage worked with the sector to rapidly develop the $50 million media sector support package. This support package focussed on reducing cost and easing cashflow pressure for a range of media organisations.
A significant number of applications for this support have been received and awarded, with $18 million made available to the sector within a month of announcing the relief. As of December 2020, $42.7 million has been allocated from the $50 million sector support package to more than 500 media organisations across the sector. Organisations that have received relief range from small broadcasters serving specific communities to large media companies that reach a spread of New Zealanders.
The initiatives were:
Transmission fee waiver in which the Government fund six months of transmission fees for DTT, DTH, FM and AM for eligible organisations.
NZ On Air Platform contribution in which Government fund 80% of the platform contribution fees for 2020/21 for eligible media organisations.
Advance purchase of news subscriptions in which Government make advance purchase on news subscriptions for selected government agencies for 2020/21.
Advance purchase of advertising in which Government make advance payment for government agency advertising space for 2020/21, to eligible media organisations.
Publications grant in which $4 million is targeted at media organisations that have yet to receive significant relief from the fund – in particular magazines and community newspapers.
Support that drives enduring and sustainable change
The Government recognises there were challenges within the media sector pre-Covid-19 and that the significant drop in advertising revenue that has been experienced since Covid-19 has exacerbated many of those challenges.
After providing near term relief to help stabilise the sector, further attention will be focussed on policy and legislative changes that address the core, longer term challenges facing media.
Strong Public Media
In January 2020, Cabinet agreed to commission a business case to examine the viability of establishing a new, fit-for-purpose public media entity.
A new entity would draw on the skills and experience of both RNZ and TVNZ but would be designed for a 21st century environment. NZ On Air will continue to fund quality New Zealand content.
In April 2020, work on Strong Public Media was paused, following the completion of the draft strategic and economic components of the business case, in order to focus on the immediate COVID-19 response. The Minister of Broadcasting and Media has now directed officials to restart work on Strong Public Media. Further information will be available shortly.
More information on Strong Public Media
If you have any queries please contact [email protected]