TVNZ staff expecting Thursday announcement about broadcaster's future

TVNZ has told staff it will make an announcement about the future of news at the broadcaster tomorrow.

They have been told to watch their inboxes.

TVNZ told RNZ "We've been upfront with TVNZers that we will need to reduce our headcount to meet the immediate revenue challenges facing the business. We also need to develop a more sustainable operating model to take us into a digital future.

"We will always take our people through proposed changes first, and so we have no comment to make on the timing or details of any business restructuring at this stage."

Broadcasting Minister Melissa Lee told Checkpoint she had a conversation with TVNZ on Friday after the company announced cuts would be needed.

But said it was up to TVNZ to announce any redundancies.

"I've had conversations with TVNZ on various different things including the conversation about how Warner Bros has in fact approached them, but like I said, these are conversations that TVNZ have had with Warner Bros, these are issues TVNZ board and leadership is facing, it is not for me to actually announce for them."

When asked if TVNZ should consider cutting back its news to 30 minutes and get rid off its current affairs programmes, lee said it did not matter what she thought about how news was produced and shown.

The decisions were for broadcasters and news entities.

"I think news entities need to realise people are consuming news in a very different way."

Lee said audiences no longer wanted to sit down and watch news for an hour every night.

Companies needed to analyse how it best reached audiences.

She said advertising dollar had also dropped "tremendously" and organisations needed to work out how they would entice advertisers to a advertise on its platforms.

On Friday, TVNZ flagged further cost cutting as it posted a first half-year loss linked to reduced revenue and asset write offs.

The state owned broadcaster's interim financial results show that its total revenue has fallen 13.5 percent from last year to $155.9 million.

Its net loss for the six months ended December was $16.8m.

That compared with a profit of $4.8m the year before.

Chief executive Jodi O'Donnell said TVNZ would have to cut costs further as well as speed up the change to digital.

O'Donnell said TVNZ expected 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.

"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."

TVNZ's news comes just one week after Newshub staff were informed of a proposal that would see its newsroom shut on 30 June.

About 300 jobs were on the line and staff were shocked by the news.