INDEPENDENT NEWS

A New Future For The 6pm News

Published: Tue 16 Apr 2024 11:35 AM
Stuff Group and Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) today announced they have reached an agreement for Stuff to provide a daily news bulletin to WBD. The new Stuff-made 6pm news will begin on Saturday 6 July, the day after the final Newshub bulletin airs on Friday 5 July. It will broadcast for an hour Monday to Friday with a 30 minute programme on the weekend.
Stuff will exclusively license and deliver the new 6pm bulletin to WBD’s free-to-air broadcast platform Three as well as ThreeNow. The announcement follows WBD’s confirmation last week of a new structure which meant the closure of its newsroom, the Newshub website and ending AM and the 6pm TV news bulletin.
Stuff will create the new bulletin through a transition period with WBD, using the strength of Stuff’s large national newsroom and New Zealand’s largest digital news website stuff.co.nz, complemented by specialist skills and talent they will bring in.
“Our proposal to WBD was to deliver high-quality news now and a news product for the future,” says Stuff Owner and Publisher Sinead Boucher. “We will look to innovate not replicate the 6 O’Clock news, building on our expertise in digital audiences and engagement and our ability to deliver live and lively news 24/7 all over Aotearoa.
“Newshub and Three, over an incredible 35 years of journalism, has been known for gutsy, independent, non-partisan reporting, values that we share and will proudly continue to uphold. Today’s announcement will see us working closely with WBD in a transition period as we create the new bulletin for them and will also support a longer-term partnership seeking broader news opportunities together.”
Glen Kyne, WBD’s Senior Vice President and Head of Networks in New Zealand, Australia, and Japan, thanked those who submitted proposals and confirmed that Stuff offered the most compelling option for the daily bulletin as well as strong editorial and cultural alignment.
“We received a number of options and I’d like to give sincere thanks to all those who spoke with us,” says Kyne. “As we said on February 28, we were open to conversations from all parties. We received a lot of interest. There have been limited discussions while we completed our consultation process, and today we are announcing the signing of a deal. The Newshub news subcommittee and other internal proposals were weighed equally against all external options, including Stuff’s.”
“Stuff put a lot of thought into not just the bulletin but also a broader partnership with a real future focus which would benefit both parties and New Zealand,” says Kyne. “We’ve all moved incredibly quickly to make sure we can get to a place where we can make this announcement. Our people have been through a lot recently so we wanted to be as transparent about our intentions and give them as much certainty as possible at this early stage.
“As a large, already-established news organisation with newsrooms around the country, Stuff’s proposal offered us strong confidence in the future we’ll now embark on together,” says Kyne. “This agreement also gives all New Zealanders confidence that there won’t just be one broadcast news option on TV. It’s critical for democracy that we have a strong fourth estate to hold the powerful to account and that there are different voices asking different questions. We were deeply aware of the dampening effect the Newshub closure would have on media plurality and we’re very pleased that New Zealanders will be able to have a choice about what news they watch at 6pm.
“We also saw clear editorial and cultural alignment between Stuff and Newshub which extends to embodying the spirit of TV3 through nearly 35 years and generations of journalists, planners, producers, crew, and owners,” says Kyne.“It’s that alignment with Stuff’s independent spirit which we see having a positive and enduring fit.”
“Quite simply, I see this as the future of news,” says Kyne. “Today’s announcement is undoubtedly the beginning of a strong, future-focused partnership between WBD and Stuff – a model which will thrive in the modern media era. We’ll work together to drive innovation around delivery of the bulletin, including using multi-platform integration of digital assets to offer brand new, data-driven advertising and sponsorship opportunities. We’ll be working with current and future commercial partners to discuss new opportunities presented by this agreement with Stuff.”
Boucher says the WBD agreement brings the power of Stuff’s scale digital audiences together with a nightly news proposition which will be a compelling mix for advertisers.
“There has never been a better time for brands to support local media and today’s announcement provides a new vehicle for that, adding another channel into Stuff Group’s large integration ecosystem.”
It is also the next step in Stuff’s five year transformation strategy, she says, since a management buyout in 2020.
“We have strategically reorganised our business from the ground up, investing in new platforms, technology and capability and reshaping the business to be data and digitally-led. This allows us to seize opportunities as they arise, to be bold in our decisions and to set a new course for our journalism and audiences, for our commercial partners and for our future.”

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