TVNZ reports major financial loss amid declining revenue

TVNZ has revealed a six-month loss of $16.7 million due to a declining local advertising market. 

Financial results released on Friday showed an operating loss of $4.6 million for the six-month period ended December 31, 2023, as a result of challenging economic conditions and market disruption. 

It comes just days after Warner Bros Discovery announced a proposal to shut down Newshub due to a collapse in TV advertising revenue and changes in viewing habits in the New Zealand news division. 

It's a proposal NZ First leader and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters described as a "disaster" for New Zealand's democracy. 

TVNZ revealed their loss of $16.7 million includes an impairment of $12.2 million. 

Advertising revenue fell from $171.3m in the six months to December 2022 to $146.8m in the six months to December 2023. 

"A challenging trading environment has seen a significant reduction in television advertising revenue, while digital revenue continues to increase year-on-year," TVNZ said in a statement. 

Expenses were $10.7 million lower than a year ago, as a result of "falling revenue". 

TVNZ's Chief Executive Jodi O'Donnell said the challenge they face is growing digital revenues "at a faster pace than TV revenues are declining". 

"TVNZ is building a future beyond broadcast television and today's results show the need for us make this transition faster," O'Donnell said. 

She believes the tough conditions are likely to continue. 

"We expect the challenging economic conditions we faced in the first half of the financial year to continue into the second half of the year. We will need to make further changes to our cost base to navigate through this uncertainty," she said. 

"While we hope to see some improvement in the advertising sector in late 2024, we anticipate market disruption from global streaming services and social media platforms to continue, and this means standing still is not an option. Ultimately, we need to get our organisation into the right shape and the right size to compete in a digital world." 

O'Donnell said TVNZ will move towards a "future-focused media entity with digital at its core". 

"TVNZ's aspiration is to be the number one streamer of news and entertainment content in Aotearoa," she added. 

"We need to get our organisation into the right shape and the right size to compete in a digital world."