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Strong Public Media Programme

Strong Public Media 

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The Strong Public Media programme is supporting the creation of a new public media entity that will subsume Television New Zealand and Radio New Zealand.

The legislation to establish the new entity - Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media (ANZPM) was introduced on 23 June. 

New Zealand Parliament: Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media Bill 

ANZPM is the legal name of the entity. Its trading name and brand will be developed later. While the Bill will go through a select committee and legislative process through the second half of 2022, it is currently planned that ANZPM will be legally established on 1 March 2023.

It will begin operating with its new funding and mandate from July next year.

Why this work is underway 

The change is to position the country’s public media for the future and create a new, independent, public media entity that is better able to meet the challenges of changing audiences, technologies, and global competition. New Zealand’s public media, like that in every other democracy, is under pressure. They are losing audience, large parts of the population, including younger people, don’t engage with them at all and they are slowly losing trust. This is an issue because of the role public media plays in our democracy, by providing trusted news and information; and by supporting and reflecting our culture and people.

Cabinet considered these issues in 2020:

Download icon Strengthening Public Media: Report Back – January 2020 Cabinet meeting

and a business case process tested the viability of a single new entity:

Download iconThe Business Case exploring the viability of a new public media entity (PDF 3.3MB)

The expert group that oversaw the business case process also produced a report: 

Download iconThe Business Case Governance Group report (PDF 3.2MB)

In February 2022, cabinet made the decision to create a new public media entity:

Download iconCabinet Minute CAB-SUB-0034: Establishment of a new public media entity (PDF 460 KB)  

A new public media entity

The new organisation will build on the best of what RNZ and TVNZ currently provide, and will be digitally enabled, multi-platform and focused on reaching all local audiences. 

ANZPM is a public media entity, with a charter set in legislation, and it will: 

  • provide quality public media content to all New Zealanders, including groups who are currently under-served or under-represented
  • provide independent, trusted, and truthful news as a core service
  • use a range of platforms, including current radio and linear TV and those of third parties, to reach audiences how they want
  • recognise and respect the Crown’s responsibility to give effect to the principles of the te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi both through the content it provides and the way it operates 
  • where appropriate, outsource production and collaborate with and support the wider New Zealand media sector 
  • coordinate with NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho to help get maximum benefit out of the government’s spending on commissioning content.

The new entity will have a mixed funding model – receiving money from the Government and commercial revenue from advertising and other income streams. The mixed funding model is designed to make ANZPM more financially sustainable. While the entity is not-for-profit, its commercial revenue will supplement Crown funding and allow it to better deliver on its public media outcomes.

The Government announced in this year’s Budget that it will significantly increase Crown funding for the entity to $200 million annually starting from 1 July 2023. This is half of ANZPM’s total estimated yearly operating budget of $400 million. Government has also provided separate implementation funding to set the new entity up.  

Beehive media release: Funding certainty for quality public media.

Timeline

SPM Timeline

While Parliament considers the ANZPM Bill, the Strong Public Media Programme is focused on establishing the new entity.

Establishment Board

An Establishment Board, supported by a specialist establishment unit, has been appointed to oversee the detailed design of the entity and the change process.

Beehive Media Release: Public Media Entity Establishment Board Appointments.

Also see: Establishment Board Terms of Reference.

The Establishment Board has three main areas of responsibility. It will look at how the entity can be designed to operate most effectively, including the entity’s structure and organisational strategy and it will provide advice on these for the incoming entity board to consider. Final decisions on the new entity’s structure and operating model will be made next year once it has been established in legislation and the new entity’s Board and executive is formed.

It will oversee the development and implementation of a change management plan to enable, in conjunction with the existing entities, a smooth transition for TVNZ and RNZ operations and staff into the new entity.

The Board will also give advice to the Minister for Broadcasting and Media on the entity’s financial model, monitoring framework, legal issues and accountability arrangements. The new public media entity is being set up alongside business-as-usual work for RNZ and TVNZ and until it is established, TVNZ and RNZ will continue in their current roles.

Questions and Answers

Answers to some common questions about Strong Public Media.

Why is the Government making changes to public media? 

Internationally, traditional media is under pressure as it competes for audience and revenue with multi-national content and social media providers such as Netflix and Facebook.

Public media in New Zealand is no different, with RNZ and TVNZ facing challenges around how people access and consume media. Our current public media system and its legislation is focused on platforms that people are using less - radio and television - and some particular audiences, such as youth, are not well served.

2020 was the cross-over point where online platforms overtook traditional media in terms of engaging with the largest daily audiences in Aotearoa.

This is an issue because of the role public media plays in our democracy, by providing trusted news and information; and by supporting and reflecting our culture and people.

The Government recognises the need to support the wider media sector to respond to the many challenges it is facing and ensure that the entities it owns, and funds, are fit for purpose in the 21st century. 

It wants New Zealand audiences to be able to access public media content and services that informs, educates, and entertains them and that reflects their lives and experiences. It also wants public media to be sustainably funded and able to respond effectively to continuing changes to technology and consumer behaviour.

What’s been decided?

A single new, independent, public media entity will be created (the legislation to create it is called the Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media bill, and the entity is currently being referred to as ANZPM.) It will provide many of the current services of TVNZ and RNZ, but it will be multi-platform and have more options and greater flexibility to respond to change and deliver what audiences want. 

ANZPM will be an Autonomous Crown Entity, with a board of between six and nine members and it will have a high degree of operational independence. The entity will have a charter, in legislation, that sets out its purpose, objectives, operating principles, and outcomes. The charter will also describe its role in working with and supporting New Zealand’s broader media sector.

The new entity will be built on the skills and expertise of RNZ and TVNZ, which will initially become subsidiaries of the new organisation.

The ANZPM bill is currently with the Economic Development, Science and Innovation select committee. The committee is due to report back to Parliament on the bill by 2 February 2023

What will the new entity do?

Operational decisions will be made by ANZPM’s board and executive when it is created on March 1, but it is expected to:

provide quality public media content to all New Zealanders, including groups who are currently under-served or under-represented

provide independent, trusted, and truthful news as a core service

use a range of platforms, including current radio and linear TV and those of third parties, to reach audiences how they want

support the Crown’s Te Tiriti obligations and provide Māori stories and perspectives

outsource production where appropriate to support the independent production of local content

collaborate with and support the wider New Zealand media sector where appropriate.

Will it be independent?

Both TVNZ and RNZ have complete editorial independence now and the Government’s objective is that this is protected and enhanced in ANZPM.

An independent, trusted news media that holds those in power to account is a cornerstone of a strong democracy and a core requirement of strong public media.

There are a range of provisions currently in the ANZPM bill to ensure the entity’s editorial independence, including:

  • protections contained within the Crown Entities Act
  • limits on Ministers’ ability to direct
  • the delivery of ANZPM’s Charter being deemed a statutorily independent function
  • limits on the Minister’s ability to remove board members.

As an Autonomous Crown Entity (ACE), ANZPM will also have a high degree of operational independence. The key reason for choosing the ACE form is to ensure that the new entity’s core focus is delivering public media outcomes for New Zealanders, not maximising commercial revenue.

What will the benefits be?

The entity will be better shaped to deal with the future than our current public media. It will have more flexibility to respond to change and be focused on new ways of delivery to reach a wider range of audiences and compete for their attention with the online giants.

This provides a range of benefits:

  • there will be more accessible local content and entertainment and our culture will be better reflected
  • our democracy will be supported through people being able to find trusted news and information and being better informed, and
  • our public media system will be fairer, with a wider range of New Zealanders, including young people, having access to relevant content.

Importantly too, our public media will be more sustainable. Having a single entity, with a mixed funding model means that commercial revenue - what the entity earns from advertising and other streams - will be able to support public media objectives. With a single organisation and structure, rather than two, spending in this area will be more effective and efficient, and similarly, investments in technology and infrastructure will be made once.

The entity’s public media focus also means there will be greater support for the wider media sector.

What differences will people see?

Detailed operational decisions will be made by ANZPM after it starts in March 2023. Initially, audiences will not see much difference as on March 1, ANZPM will be a combination of the existing operations and people of TVNZ and RNZ.

Current audiences will enjoy the same services they do now, with both linear television and radio continuing – and current ad-free content on these platforms remaining advertising free.

As the entity develops and implements its charter obligations there will be more New Zealand content where and how people want it, including through partnerships, and those currently ‘under-served’ will have a better chance of seeing and hearing themselves. It is also expected that there will be a strengthened news service offering content across these different platforms.

How will the entity be funded?

ANZPM will have a mixed funding model – receiving money from the Government and from commercial revenue – to make the entity more financially sustainable. At present, RNZ is directly funded through NZ on Air, and the vast majority of TVNZ’s revenue is from advertising.

From July next year, ANZPM will receive $200 million in government funding annually. $109m a year of this is new funding to provide more services and content, for example, documentaries, comedy and drama that is about us - and independent, trusted news - and $91m existing spending on public media that is being redirected to the new entity.

While ANZPM is not-for-profit, it can earn commercial revenue like TVNZ does currently, to supplement its Crown funding and allow it to better deliver on its public media outcomes.

What is the process to create the entity?

The intention is to have the new entity established and operating on 1 March 2023. A number of steps are required for this to occur.

Legislative change is required to establish the entity (and its charter) and to disestablish TVNZ and RNZ. The Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media bill was introduced to Parliament in June, and it is currently being considered by a select committee. The select committee will report back to Parliament early 2023 and Parliament will need to debate and pass the Bill before it can be created.

Alongside the legislative process, an Establishment Board has been appointed to oversee the creation of the entity and shape how it will operate. TVNZ and RNZ are also involved in the establishment phase, particularly the change and transition process.  

What is the role of the Establishment Board?

The Board is responsible for overseeing the creation of ANZPM. It is supported by an establishment unit and has three main areas of work.

It is looking at operational matters such as entity structure and organisational strategy and it will provide advice on these for the incoming ANZPM board to consider. (Final decisions on the new entity’s structure and operating model will be made by the new entity’s Board and executive when it is formed next year.)

The Establishment Board is overseeing the change and transition management plans to enable, in conjunction with TVNZ and RNZ, the transition of current operations and staff into ANZPM.

The Board is also providing advice to the Minister for Broadcasting and Media on the entity’s financial model, monitoring framework, legal issues and accountability arrangements.

What does the establishment of the new public media entity mean for RNZ and TVNZ?

ANZPM is being set up alongside business-as-usual work for RNZ and TVNZ and until it is established, TVNZ and RNZ continue in their current roles.

However, they are also closely involved in the establishment and change process and have representatives on the Establishment Board.

When it is established, the new entity will continue the current platforms used by RNZ and TVNZ and will build on the skills and expertise of RNZ and TVNZ staff.

How does this decision affect NZ On Air?

NZ on Air’s role doesn’t change. The Government will continue to fund NZ on Air so that quality local content is available to New Zealand audiences.

However, the Government is also funding ANZPM so that it can commission and create content. This means that from next July there will be three organisations that can commission local content – NZ on Air, Te Māngai Pāho and ANZPM.

As NZ on Air does not have a role in funding ANZPM, its budget is changing to reflect this. From 1 July 2023 ANZPM will receive the operational funding for RNZ of $42.6m a year that used to pass through NZ on Air. Similarly, $42.2m a year of content funding that used to go to NZ on Air will now go to ANZPM. (The average value of content funding that used to go to TVNZ from NZ on Air was $49m a year, so next year NZ on Air will have more funding available to commission content from the rest of the sector.)

While NZ On Air will not directly fund the new entity, it will still have an oversight role by working collaboratively with ANZPM to identify duplication and gaps in the provision of public media content. NZ on Air and Te Māngai Pāho are involved in work on the future monitoring regime of ANZPM and ensuring the best use is made of the Government’s investment in content.

How will the private sector be affected?

As a public media entity, the new organisation has a role to support the wider media system, particularly where other businesses and organisations are delivering public media outcomes.

Private media already compete in different ways with TVNZ and RNZ and it is not expected that the shift to ANZPM, which is a public media entity, will have a negative impact on the commercial sector. Similar countries, like Australia and the UK, have strong private and public media. ANZPM has a broad obligation to collaborate with other domestic media, where it can.

It is expected it could do this in a number of ways including:

  • forming alliances or partnerships with other organisations
  • outsourcing appropriate services to support industry growth, for example, using external talent and production capability rather than relying on in-house production
  • allowing others to access its infrastructure, including its digital platform, to share and support the ongoing investment in new technology
  • investing in strategic, system-wide capability - for example, offering training and cadetships for journalists, who could then take their skills to other private or public media entities.

How will the new public media entity meet the needs of Māori?

The new entity will provide a range of content that all New Zealanders can enjoy, but it will also better serve specific audiences, including Māori.

Through its public media obligations, it will bring Māori stories and perspectives to a wider audience. Public media and Māori media have distinct but complementary roles in ensuring Māori language and cultural content is delivered for both general and targeted audiences.  

The entity will also collaborate with Māori media organisations to help support the capacity, capability, and sustainability of the Māori media sector.

As a Crown-owned Autonomous Crown Entity, it will have to meet its responsibilities under the Treaty of Waitangi.

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Contact

Please direct questions or requests for further information to [email protected]


Updated on 1st February 2023