Newshub closure: Warning local shows will also be facing extinction

Married At First Sight New Zealand, The Block NZ and Traitors NZ are all at risk under proposed changes at Three, a screen production executive is warning.

Warner Bros Discovery which owns TV3 yesterday announced it planned to close its Newshub news operations across all platforms. And despite the pressure going on the Government to find a solution a bailout is unlikely.

But South Pacific Pictures managing director Andrew Szusterman told Morning Report it's not just news programming at risk.

Warner Brothers Australia/New Zealand boss Glen Kyne said no decisions had yet been made on the broader content portfolio, but new local programming would only be made in collaboration with local funding bodies and other partners.

"Big audience winners like The Block, Married at First Sight NZ, the Traitors, all those shows are under jeopardy.

"That's because they're fully funded by the broadcaster. We now have to go to the funding agencies to help plug that gap and the funding agencies, they're having their budgets cut too," said Szusterman, who was also an executive member of the Screen Production and Development Association.

He said it was a dark day for the production industry which employs hundreds of people.

While falling advertising revenue, pointed to by Warner Bros as being behind the decision, was part of the story, Szusterman says global streaming companies also played a role.

"We're talking about the Netflixes, the Amazon Primes, the Apples, who are taking eyeballs and are not contributing at all, one iota, to the local production community for local viewers."

Other countries had introduced local programming quotas for screening companies operating there, he said.

Szusterman also pointed out the Broadcasting Act had not been looked at since 1989 and was no longer fit for purpose.

Journalists, commentators and politicians say Newshub closure bad for democracy

Newshub's South Island senior reporter Juliet Speedy told Morning Report those working at TV3 were used to cuts and ownership changes, but closing the entire news division was a shock.

"We did not expect the entire rug to be ripped out from beneath us. It's unfathomable really."

She said part of her was expecting someone to "swoop in and save us again".

Journalist David Farrier was with Newshub/Three News for a decade and told First Up those working at the company were used to cuts.

"That was almost the charm of the place at times it was the scrappy underdog and you always felt like you were up against TVNZ and it sort of brought everybody together."

But the hope was a company as "well-funded" as Warner Bros Discovery would at least try to keep the newsroom open.

"These organisations just aren't profitable anymore and I think it's a really scary place to be. The owners of a lot of these media companies, profit is the only thing motivating them, and that's not going to keep them alive."