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Warner Bros. Discovery ANZ Confirms Failed Meeting With TVNZ And RNZ On Potential Newsroom Collaboration

AUCKLAND – 1 March 2024 - Warner Bros. Discovery ANZ has today confirmed that it held a meeting with TVNZ chair, Alastair Carruthers, and CEO Jodi O’Donnell as well as RNZ CEO Paul Thompson to discuss a shared news gathering operation that was rejected by TVNZ after just two days.

Glen Kyne, Senior Vice President, Head of Networks, Warner Bros. Discovery ANZ, said that learning today of TVNZ’s financial results has made TVNZ’s decision to not even have a second discussion truly baffling.

“I outlined to everyone in the room what I saw as the problems that the whole sector is facing. We didn’t tell them anything about our proposed consultation process, but what we did do was outline the imminent issues facing all news media across the country.

“There was agreement from everyone in the room about those problems and it appeared we were aligned on the industry headwinds and challenging financial circumstances.

“What I proposed as a way to help the news media in New Zealand was something similar to what NZPA was; a shared news gathering service formed out of the TVNZ and Newshub newsrooms, supported by RNZ, that would then create and license content back under agreed independent editorial guidelines.

“It was very much an opening conversation that we thought would give way to more talks where we expected there would be a willingness and desire to find collaborative industry solutions, and figure out in more detail, together, on what the new operation could look like; and we would only want to do this in collaboration with TVNZ.

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“When we left the meeting I felt like it had been well received but didn’t have an expectation either way. We wanted to explore any opportunity that may have given rise to a potential different outcome for the Newshub team.

“Two days later, TVNZ chair, Alistair Carruthers communicated to us that he had called an Extraordinary Board Meeting the very next day, the Board discussed the idea, but would be passing on it without any further discussion.

“Clearly I was disappointed. Seeing today’s news of TVNZ’s large financial loss, that disappointment has only grown as I genuinely believe solutions to the outlook for the sector should be solved in collaboration with other media companies.

“There were no details to what I had proposed. These would have been discussed at the second and following meetings which we never even got to.

“When I rang Minister Lee the night before the announcement of our proposed restructure, I advised her of this meeting and my disappointment at not only TVNZ’s decision, but the swiftness with which they rejected exploring the idea any further.”

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