Newshub newsroom faces closure in Warner Bros. Discovery Proposal

  • 28/02/2024

One of the country's major newsrooms could close, thanks to a collapse in TV advertising revenue and changes in viewing habits.

Newshub's parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) is proposing to shut down all Newshub's operations on June 30, including its flagship 6pm bulletin presented by Samantha Hayes and Mike McRoberts.

Hayes said on Twitter, "the announcement today that Newshub could shut down at the end of June is heartbreaking.

"It's a newsroom brimming with talent & enthusiasm, & I just feel so incredibly sad for everyone today.

"For now though, see you at 6pm," she finished.

The end of news production is part of a wider proposal that would dramatically reduce the amount of local content seen on Three and its streaming platform, ThreeNow.

If confirmed, the decision would end nearly 35 years of news broadcasts on Three. It would also see the closure of Newshub's online operation, which is currently New Zealand's third-largest news website.

Around 200 journalists, producers, editors, camera operators and associated staff could lose their jobs, in a move which would leave state-owned TVNZ with a near-monopoly on TV news production.

An unknown number of other positions across the wider company would also go.

WBD ANZ staff were given the news at a Wednesday morning meeting in Auckland fronted by the head of WBD's Asia Pacific operations, James Gibbons, who flew in from Singapore this week.

Gibbons pointed to a dramatic and sustained fall in television advertising as a reason for the proposal.

"Advertising revenue... has disappeared far more quickly than our ability to manage this reduction, and to drive the business to profitability. We simply cannot afford to produce news in-house. This doesn't mean news isn't valuable. We just haven't found a way to make it work financially here in New Zealand."

Speaking to staff this morning, Glen Kyne, the head of the New Zealand operation, said the current environment means “we cannot go on as we have.”

“It is so difficult to fathom that proposing these changes is necessary. “We all know that Newshub has been such an important and central part of who we are at TV3 since day one. “We also know that Newshub is a crucial part of a functioning fourth estate in New Zealand as a whole”, said Kyne

The Newshub closure would be part of a proposed wider shakeup of WBD's ANZ operations. If confirmed, WBD ANZ would scrap much of its local productions. It would focus on its streaming platform ThreeNow, as audiences continue to leave traditional free-to-air television in droves.

WBD says it is now entering into a consultation period with affected staff, with a final decision expected in early April.