More speculation Seven may buy NZ network

Rumours are ramping up across the ditch that Seven may buy the beleaguered MediaWorks television business, Three.

MediaWorks formally put its loss-making television business on the block in October, with Seven rumoured at the time to be a potential buyer.

NZ news site Stuff now reports Seven West Media is in discussions to buy Three and MediaWorks’ Newshub journalism business.

There is speculation Seven would screen more syndicated Australian and US content. Andrew Backwell, Director of Production at Seven Studios, is a former programming consultant for Three.

Three currently screens NZ editions of The Project, Dancing with the Stars and The Block but with no commitment to a new season of Married at First Sight to square off against TVNZ’s The Bachelorette New Zealand.

MediaWorks’ majority owner, United States private equity company Oaktree, is understood to have decided to call time on the television business after state-owned TVNZ got the green light from the Government to stop paying dividends and dip into its reserves for a $60 million three-year spend-up to grab audience share.

5 Comments:

  1. I hope Seven (or anyone, for that matter) picks up Three. It’s pretty unfair that TVNZ runs two fully commercial networks with a bottomless pit of government money. To make the market properly competitive they should make TVNZ1 commercial-free, sell off TVNZ2 (although difficult due to the integrated infrastructure I guess). And then they could have one public broadcaster and two commercial ones competing fairly instead of the ad spend being split across three networks. I still remember the TV3 launch night. It had taken forever to get a third channel so it was pretty exciting. And right after they launched, the government deregulated the whole market.

      • I did say networks, not channels. Bravo is carried as part of the Three network, but I take your point on Prime (although I don’t think Prime has any multichannels).

    • TVNZ receives $0 from the government to run their channels and content. They do receive NZ on Air funded for some in-house productions (e.g. QandA and Country Calendar) but all NZ on Air funding for local productions is available to all producers.

      • Yes, but they’re fully commercial and are now approved to go 60 million in the red without providing any return to the government.
        No business with shareholders would allow that…..except Government.

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