2022 JMAD Research Report is now live

08 Dec, 2022

The 2022 Aotearoa New Zealand Media Ownership Report from the AUT Journalism, Media & Democracy (JMAD) Research Centre observes that earlier plans to merge RNZ and TVNZ have been activated. The promise of government funds, the business case and legislative proceedings have all been confirmed. The new entity will be called Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media (ANZPM).

As of December 2022, select committee hearings on the bill, including the charter, have been completed. Overall, submissions to the select committee reveal two opposing viewpoints. Corporate media players and the largest independents perceive that ANZPM will distort commercial media markets. But public media advocates among media professionals, politicians, lobbyists and researchers perceive ANZPM as a counterweight to commercial media dominance.

  • Corporate media players have wielded significant market power across multiple media domains - radio, television, streaming, web-digital and print-online. To counter this, ANZPM and its charter must exemplify non-commercial public media principles, says JMAD Co-Director Professor Wayne Hope.
  • The bill itself is not sufficient. It does not guarantee editorial independence of the broadcaster or independent oversight of it. This lack of independence is potentially eroding trust in it, says JMAD Co-Director Dr Merja Myllylahti.

Alphabet/Google and Meta/Facebook draw advertising revenue away from news media companies while relaying their content to online users. This effectively contracts newsrooms and undermines journalism.

In Australia, to redress this unbalanced relationship and obtain compensatory returns, a News Media Bargaining Code was legally established in 2021. In 2022, application of the code was extended to include further news media organisations.

The situation in Aotearoa New Zealand has been quite different. The Commerce Commission allowed the News Publishers Association (NPA) to collectively negotiate with Google and Meta/Facebook for compensation. This process excluded RNZ and TVNZ. In August, Google launched its News Showcase with NZME outlets, RNZ, Crux, Newsroom and the Pacific Media Network as debut partners and contributors. TVNZ, Allied Press, The Spinoff and Stuff were excluded. Minister of Broadcasting Willie Jackson criticised Google and Meta/Facebook’s reluctance to strike more deals with news media organisations and confirmed on 4 December 2022 the Government would introduce legislation to act as a “backstop” if big internet platforms did not voluntarily strike deals with media outlets.

  • In Aotearoa New Zealand, engagement between news media organisations and social media corporations has been furtive and piecemeal. For news media organisations to gain due compensation from Google and Meta/Facebook, a national legally enforceable bargaining code must be established, says Hope

Aotearoa New Zealand Media Ownership: Key events

  • TVNZ and RNZ merger begins to take legislative form.
  • News publishers and media organisations sign individual deals with Google and Meta/Facebook.
  • Ministry of Broadcasting Willie Jackson suggests a nationally inclusive bargaining code for media organisations and social media corporations (Meta/Facebook, Google)

Several AUT academics from the School of Communication Studies contributed to the 2022 JMAD report, drawing upon their expertise in the field. The report was edited by Professor Wayne Hope and coordinated by Dr Rachel Peters, and both contributed to the report.

Other contributors included: Dr Sarah Baker, Dr Peter Hoar, Dr Rufus McEwan, Dr Atakohu Middleton and Dr Greg Treadwell.

Outside of AUT, Dr Saing Te contributed a chapter on crown-funded and corporate media; and Dr Tara Ross, from the University of Canterbury, compiled the chapter on Pasifika media outlets.

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