Hot Off the Press Release: MediaWorks to Sell TV Channels

Thirty years after NZ’s first private TV channel went to air, MediaWorks is preparing it for sale.

It revealed plans this morning to sell MediaWorks TV, which includes Three and ThreeLife, after months of speculation that the TV operation was unsustainable and confirmation of programming and budget cuts.

Here’s the full press release:

Mediaworks To Pursue A Sales Process For Its Television Business

MediaWorks has today announced that it intends to sell MediaWorks TV as well as its Flower Street property which includes its television head office and studios.

The intention is for MediaWorks to sell the television side of the business while retaining ownership of radio and QMS.  The Flower Street property will also be put up for sale with a lease back option for a buyer to continue to operate television from that location.

MediaWorks Chairman Jack Matthews said that MediaWorks is committed to continuing to grow its business in New Zealand while recognising that free-to-air television operates in a challenging environment.

“The ongoing success of our radio business and recent merger with QMS demonstrates that MediaWorks has a very bright future.  We are in the fortunate position of having two very strong growth platforms in Radio and Outdoor that deliver both revenue and margin growth. Our focus now is to accelerate the opportunities that exist for those platforms.

“We are in a commercial environment and have to face commercial realities. The market that free-to-air television operates in is tough and has been exacerbated this year. This is reflected in the performance of all free-to-air television operators in New Zealand, not just us. Clearly the market – alongside the structural hindrances we operate under – has a larger impact on Three given its genuine commercial imperative.”

MediaWorks CEO Michael Anderson said: “We are very pleased with the progress that Three has made over the past five years. This year we have had record ratings and revenue share highs and we are very proud of our stellar local content.

“The role Three plays in New Zealand society is significant, from Newshub through to investment in local comedy and drama. We believe MediaWorks TV is now in a place where it can be separated from the radio and outdoor business to be operated under a new owner in a more sustainable fashion – and, ultimately, for profit.”

MediaWorks has engaged an advisor who will work with it to identify a list of potential purchasers and commence initial discussions.  Any interested parties will then head into a due diligence process which will be confidential

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11 Responses to “Hot Off the Press Release: MediaWorks to Sell TV Channels”

  1. I hope someone buys Three, it would be sad seeing it close. I see Bill Ralston talking about Spark YIKES no thanks. My dream buyer would be Disney 🙂

  2. The fact that their programming is almost always delayed helped in the demise of Three. They’re claiming they’ve been improving in the last few years and selling it? It doesn’t make sense.

  3. Disney doesnt want broadcast assets – it adds no value to its business. Why offer its products on a ad-paid basis when subscription (with low costs of delivery cf UHF/sat) is better? TV3 is dead. It’s only worth its hard assets (less spectrum lease costs etc). Probably have to pay someone to take it. Maybe NBC buys it or CBS. Someone who doesn’t have a well developed DTC business.

  4. Does this sale not include Bravo NZ?

  5. Good point, Leo. Bravo is a joint venture with NBCUniversal so who knows at this stage but chances are it will continues as an NBCUni brand on Sky …

  6. Maybe NBC Universal could look at acquiring the network. Interesting times in TV land.

  7. WOW, depending on how things go the Government may step in and buy Three. That would definitely change the TV landscape in New Zealand, in fact I quite like the idea 🙂

  8. I totally disagree Trevor. I’m always concerned about governments owning any commercial TV stations, if they’re public service and only tax payer funded as with the BBC (British Brainwashing Corporation), let me be clear, they do some great work. Personally I think TVNZ should non-commercialise TVNZ 1, sell TVNZ 2/Duke and let the independently owned stations fight it out.

  9. Hmmmmm I’m not keen on the idea of the govt owning Three, it ready has TVNZ and Maori TV. Maybe local iwi from around country might see some potential in owning a broadcast network if there is no overseas buyer.

  10. Govt buying TV3 is plain dumb. Why on earth would they want another TV station? They are already up to their ears in TVNZ without another mouth to feed. Let it die. There’s no value in TV3. Surprised it hasn’t gone already.

  11. Leo said ” Maybe NBC Universal could look at acquiring the network. Interesting times in TV land.” That would make it a 360 degree turn around as NBC was one of the startup partners back in 1989.

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