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TVNZ’s Digital First Evolution: A New Era for New Zealand’s Broadcaster

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Television New Zealand (TVNZ) is embarking on a significant transformation, signalling a strategic shift towards a digital-first future. This evolution comes amidst financial challenges and a changing media landscape, as the broadcaster adapts to remain competitive in a market where streaming giants like Netflix and YouTube are increasingly dominant.

TVNZ has appointed Accenture as its partner to facilitate this digital transition. This multi-year programme aims to modernise TVNZ’s operations and establish a robust digital foundation, marking a pivotal step away from its traditional broadcast-focused model. The programme will streamline content delivery across platforms and enhance data capabilities, creating a wide range of opportunities for the broadcaster.

Melissa Taylor, Acting Chief Revenue Officer, emphasised the benefits of this transformation for viewers and advertisers. She stated, “For viewers, the capabilities this delivers will enable us to provide far greater options around personalisation and how they want to watch. For our advertising partners, it will make it simpler to connect with audiences and unlock new opportunities to harness the power of data to create richer connections with their customers.”

However, this shift towards digital-first operations also entails difficult decisions. TVNZ has recently announced the discontinuation of several long-running programmes, including Midday, Tonight, Fair Go, and Sunday, effective from mid-May. Additionally, the broadcaster has proposed a reduction of approximately 68 jobs, amounting to around 9% of its workforce.

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These changes reflect TVNZ’s commitment to securing a sustainable future in a dynamic media environment. Jodi O’Donnell, TVNZ’s first female CEO, acknowledged the significance of this transition, stating, “I feel strongly about the importance of local media and telling New Zealand’s stories. TVNZ has a rich and important history, and it also has an exciting future ahead of it.”

O’Donnell’s appointment as CEO was preceded by a brief tenure as interim CEO by Brent McAnulty, who steered the organisation through a challenging period marked by constrained advertising revenue. Alastair Carruthers, TVNZ’s Chair, praised McAnulty’s guidance, particularly in delivering important programming such as the return of free-to-view sports and comprehensive election coverage.

TVNZ’s digital evolution is not merely a response to financial pressures but also a recognition of shifting viewer preferences. McAnulty observed, “People are watching more TV shows than ever before, but how they are watching continues to change significantly.” This shift in consumption patterns underscores the imperative for TVNZ to accelerate its digital transformation and enhance its widely praised TVNZ+ on-demand platform.

The broadcaster’s annual report underscores the financial challenges it faces, with a projected bottom-line loss of $15.6 million for the 2023-2024 financial year. This contrasts with the previous two years, which saw profitability. The report highlights the need for significant investment in technology upgrades and user experience improvements for TVNZ+, funded through cash reserves and earnings.

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As TVNZ navigates this period of change, it remains committed to delivering engaging content and providing valuable opportunities for advertisers. The transformation is expected to enhance the broadcaster’s agility and flexibility, enabling it to adapt to the evolving preferences of diverse audiences.


Well hello there! I'm the guy who heads the content team at Memorable TV. I've an obsession for film and TV, and a stash of vintage TV magazines plus a wealth of knowledge on all things 1970's. But shh, let's keep that just between us!

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