Key not keen on TVNZ-Mediaworks merger
Prime Minister John Key has ruled out the possibility of a merger between the two major players in the New Zealand media landscape -- TVNZ and MediaWorks.
It comes after reports in Australia that the privately owned broadcaster -- which owns TV3, half of New Zealand's commercial radio market, and Newshub -- and the state-owned broadcaster are in merger discussions.
Mr Key says the Government is not keen on the idea, and is not something that's actively being progressed.
"I think it's very unlikely to happen and I don't think there's a great amount of support from the Government side, which is a critical part. The Government would have to allow it to happen on the TVNZ side.
"We like the idea that there are competing networks. I've heard, not formally but on the grapevine, that there's a bit of interest and that just simply reflects the fact that there's a very changing media landscape now in the world," says Mr Key.
The speculation comes after the merging of Sky TV and Vodafone, and plans for the country's two big newspaper companies -- NZME and Fairfax -- to join forces.
"It's not a great surprise to see it on the television side," Mr Key says.
While a full merger between TVNZ and MediaWorks might be off the cards, there is talk around partial sell-offs, Mr Key says.
"I am aware of a bit of discussion that there might be some interest on the TVNZ side in relation to some of the assets owned by MediaWorks," he says.
A statement from MediaWorks confirmed the company intends to appoint a staffer to specifically look for any opportunities in the consolidating New Zealand media market.
"But the company has not commenced a sale process and has not instructed advisors to 'pitch' the business to Australian or New Zealand media companies," a spokesperson says.