Covid support package for media announced

Media were really struggling before Covid-19 generally due to competition via the Internet and specifically due to international online media like Google and Facebook getting a big proportion of advertising revenue.

The impact in businesses further affected advertising revenue, ironically as audiences surged due to virus coverage. The Bauer media Group has already announced they were shutting down New Zealand operations, and other media companies have made it clear their survival was at stake, and have reduced staff and wages.

Today the Government announced support for media companies.

Media support package delivers industry request for assistance

  • $21.1 million to completely cut transmission fees for 6 months
  • $16.5 million to cut by 80% contribution for NZ On Air screen content in 2020/21
  • $1.3 million for government departments to purchase organisation wide news service subscriptions

The Government has announced a suite of initiatives valued at $50 million that have been developed with the media industry to help them get through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This package is about freeing up cash in the short term to assist the industry get through the immediate crisis and dramatic drop in advertising revenue experienced since the start of COVID Alert Level 4,” Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Kris Faafoi said.

“The proposals in this package were generated by the industry themselves in a recent series of workshops to identify means of delivering immediate support to the sector. We have chosen the proposals that have a relatively quick impact to get support out the door as fast as possible.

“By cancelling transmission fees we are freeing up cash the media companies can use to help them in the short term. This is in addition to the wage subsidy and other tax measures.

“Initiatives in this first stage aim to provide some immediate relief and allow time for work to be done on longer term strategies to ensure future sustainability in New Zealand’s news media“The media sector is only the third sector, after primary health care and aviation, to receive a specific pool of funding over and above the wage subsidy to help it get through the COVID-19 crisis.

“This support reflects the essential role media play at this time in delivering access to reliable and up to date news coverage and keeping New Zealanders connected while in lockdown.

“There is evidence New Zealanders are turning to trusted news sources in record numbers at this time so it is critical the media is supported to keep doing the great job they have been doing.

“We will continue to work with media organisations to make sure assistance is targeted and appropriate.

“However, I want to be very clear that this first phase of support alone will not be sufficient to see the sector through a prolonged period of restrictions and reduced advertising.  A second package of support is being developed and will be submitted for the COVID-19 budget discussions in May,” Minister Faafoi said.

Full details of the package are:

  • $20.5 million to cut 100% of Kordia TV/FM transmission fees for 6 months
  • $600,000 to cut 100% of RNZ AM transmission fees for 6 months
  • $16.5 million to reduce, by 80%, media organisations’ NZ On Air content contribution fees for the 2020/21 financial year.
  • $1.3 million to purchase central government news media subscriptions in advance for the 2020/21 financial year and encouraging Crown entities to increase their uptake of news media subscriptions.
  • $11.1 million for specific targeted assistance to companies as and when needed.
  • Commitment to build on the Local Democracy Reporting pilot as part of longer term support


Peters claims Fairfax and Beehive leaks

The pressure is going on Winston Peters over who leaked data on Andrea Vance and Peter Dunne, and information about the Henry inquiry. He was interviewed on Firstline this morning.

In then past Peters has always insisted that he won’t reveal anything about sources of his leaks. When asked this morning he repeated this same stance.

But then Peters seemed to reveal where his sources came from – it caught me be surprise and I will confirm if this is accurate, but he said his first leak was from within Fairfax, and his second leak was from the Beehive.

Peters is known to be a liar and this could simply be diverting from his actual sources.  With a Privileges Committee inquiry looming and increasing media scrutiny Peters may be feeling very vulnerable.

The only people at Fairfax who could reveal the information Peters claims to have are Andrea Vance (very unlikely) or someone with access to their email and phone records – also very unlikely.

And if from the Beehive it would need to be someone causing mischief for the Government. It’s well known that Key trusts Peter Dunne and wants to avoid having to deal with Peters. A Beehive leak seems unlikely.

So the most likely answer is as the heat is applied Peters is trying to divert attention from where investigators should be looking. The parliamentary Service has already proven to be fairly ‘relaxed’ about how it deals with data.

UPDATE: 3 News now have this online – Parliamentary Service boss ‘shafted’ by PM