Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Independent Media Ownership Booms Post Covid-19

2020 was a challenging year for every sector, but dramatic change played out in New Zealand’s media. The 10th anniversary New Zealand Media Ownership Report by AUT research centre for Journalism, Media and Democracy (JMAD) has identified a trend towards independent ownership, with more of our media now independently owned than at any other time in the past decade.

“New Zealand’s media is still transnational, highly financialised and vulnerable to volatilities in advertising revenue. Yet, the general media landscape is rapidly changing. In 2020, we have more independent media outlets than at any other time since 2010. Funding models are also changing; many independents are funded by subscriptions, sponsorships, donations and memberships as advertising has been gobbled up by Alphabet (Google’s parent company), and Facebook.”

The 10th JMAD report focuses on Covid-19. While the full impacts of the pandemic on New Zealand media are unclear, the report finds that the Government played a crucial role in keeping media afloat after severe declines in advertising.

“Our media survived Covid-19 with help from the Government, Google’s financial support to local news organsiations and readers. Some news sites reported ‘skyrocketing traffic’ and significant spikes in their reader revenue, but without the Government wage-subsidy the picture could have been much worse,” says JMAD co-directors Dr Merja Myllylahti and Professor Wayne Hope.

The report says major shifts in the New Zealand media ownership landscape beg the question regarding the Government’s role in future funding of media beyond the Covid-19.

“In 2019, the Local Democracy Reporting scheme funded eight reporters across the regions. In 2020, the scheme was expanded to cover all media outlets belonging to the New Zealand Media Council and $1.5 million of new money was promised to support local journalism. Before the General Election, Labour pledged $75 million in new contestable funding for media, distributed via NZ on Air. This money may well give a great boost to many independent and local media outlets.

“In an age of misinformation and fake news, it is paramount to keep funding local and independent media. It is our duty to check that the Government is keeping its promises. Money spent on supporting local and independent reporting as part of a healthy media system advances democracy,” write Dr Myllylahti and Professor Hope, Co-Editors of the report.

Key trends and events in the New Zealand media:

• MediaWorks sold its television business to Discovery;

• Bauer Media pulled out of the New Zealand market;

• Mercury Capital acquired Bauer Media magazines;

• Stuff became independently owned by Sinead Boucher.

Several AUT academics from the School of Communications Studies contributed to the 2020 JMAD Report, drawing on expertise in their fields. Contributors included Dr Sarah Baker (television), Dr Peter Hoar (radio), Dr Rufus McEwan (radio), Dr Atakohu Middleton (Māori media), and Dr Greg Treadwell (print and online news outlets). Co-directors Dr Merja Myllylahti and Professor Wayne Hope co-edited the report, and also contributed several sections.


JMAD is AUT research centre for Journalism, Media and Democracy, and its reports are publicly available at AUT online:,-media-and-democracy-research-centre/projects/new-zealand-media-ownership-report

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


TradeMe: Property Prices In Every Region Hit New High For The Very First Time

Property prices experienced their hottest month on record in December, with record highs in every region, according to the latest Trade Me Property Price Index.\ Trade Me Property spokesperson Logan Mudge said the property market ended the year with ... More>>

Motor Industry Association: 2020 New Vehicle Registrations Suffer From Covid-19

Chief Executive David Crawford says that like some other sectors of the New Zealand economy, the new vehicle sector suffered from a case of Covid-19. Confirmed figures for December 2020 show registrations of 8,383 were 25% ... More>>

CTU 2021 Work Life Survey: COVID And Bullying Hit Workplaces Hard, Huge Support For Increased Sick Leave

New data from the CTU’s annual work life survey shows a snapshot of working people’s experiences and outlook heading out of 2020 and into the new year. Concerningly 42% of respondents cite workplace bullying as an issue in their workplace - a number ... More>>

Smelter: Tiwai Deal Gives Time For Managed Transition

Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed to working on a managed transition with the local community,” Grant Robertson said. More>>


OECD: Area Employment Rate Rose By 1.9 Percentage Points In The Third Quarter Of 2020

OECD area employment rate rose by 1.9 percentage points in the third quarter of 2020, but remained 2.5 percentage points below its pre-pandemic level The OECD area [1] employment rate – the share of the working-age population with jobs – rose ... More>>

Economy: Strong Job Ad Performance In Quarter Four

SEEK Quarterly Employment Report data shows a positive q/q performance with a 19% national growth in jobs advertised during Q4 2020, which includes October, November and December. Comparing quarter 4, 2020, with the same quarter in 2019 shows that job ad volumes are 7% lower...More>>

NIWA: 2020 - NZ’s 7th-warmest Year On Record

The nationwide average temperature for 2020, calculated using stations in NIWA’s seven-station temperature series which began in 1909, was 13.24°C (0.63°C above the 1981–2010 annual average). New Zealand’s hottest year on record remains 2016, when... More>>

Quotable Value New Zealand: Property Market Set To Cool From Sizzling To Warm In 2021

Nostradamus himself could not have predicted the strange series of events that befell our world in 2020 – nor the wild trajectory of New Zealand’s property market, which has gone from “doom and gloom” to “boom and Zoom” in record time. Even ... More>>