Wellington Scoop

PwC to prepare business case to assess merger of RNZ and TVNZ

News from NZ Government
Work is to begin on a business case to assess the viability of forming a new public media entity.

“The Government must ensure New Zealanders have a strong independent public media service for decades to come, which means ensuring public media assets are fit for the future and able to thrive amid the changing media landscape,” said the Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Kris Faafoi.

“It’s well known that New Zealand’s media sector, both public and private, is facing unprecedented challenges with competition from the likes of Google and Facebook, declining revenue shares, and changes in when and how audiences access their information and entertainment.

“That presents risks for the future viability of New Zealand’s public broadcasting operators, RNZ and TVNZ, and the Government needs to address those risks,” Kris Faafoi said.

“Cabinet has now given approval to complete a business case to examine the viability of establishing a new public media entity as an independent multiple-platform, multi-media operation.

“Final decisions about the future of RNZ and TVNZ will be made once the business case is completed.

“It is about establishing the best way of providing New Zealanders with a range of trusted news, information, and entertainment that reflects New Zealand – its diversity, history, and aspirations. At the same time we need to ensure any new public entity has the flexibility and the strength to meet future change and challenges,” Mr Faafoi said.

NZ On Air will continue to have an important role to fund local content for both commercial and non-commercial media outlets.

Consultancy, PwC, will now conduct the business case which Minister Faafoi expects to receive around the middle of this year.

News from New Zealand On Air
NZ On Air looks forward to working with officials on the business case for a new public media entity with the scale and agility to take on the global players, alongside NZ On Air, to deliver strong public media.

The moves, announced today by Kris Faafoi, aim to ensure New Zealand audiences have strong and independent public media that is fit-for-purpose in the 21st century. Diversity and plurality of voices is a core element of the proposed change and NZ On Air’s contestable funding will remain essential to this.

NZ On Air has been in a unique position to track the increasing pressure on local media delivering public media content, and the growing dominance of global voices.

“We have seen exponential increase in demand on our funds, at the same time as the ability to compete against the global giants has eroded over recent years. The time for more intensive intervention is now,” said NZ On Air Acting Chief Executive Clare Helm. “Public media is vital to a strong democracy. How it is delivered is evolving.”

NZ On Air has been part of the consultation process to date and will continue to engage positively with the next steps in the process to update, strengthen and revitalise NZ public media.


A few key points for stakeholders, on today’s announcement:

NZ On Air remains a key pillar of public media, continuing to administer contestable funding.

The Cabinet paper explicitly states that this is not a cost-cutting exercise – and that the objective is to strengthen public media, and not to weaken commercial media.
Diversity and plurality of voices is a core element of the proposed change and NZ On Air’s contestable funding will remain essential to this – an important recognition of the independent production sector and the private media who depend on NZ On Air funding for public media content.
Maintaining funding for the independent production sector underpins the creative industry and ensures public media content continues to be available on multiple platforms, for different audiences.

In the immediate future there is no change to what NZ On Air delivers:

The independent production community will still have access to a contestable fund.
Private media companies and TVNZ continue to have access to funded content.
Funding for RNZ continues to go through NZ On Air.

The Business Case being prepared for the government will determine the viability of the proposed new single public media entity, as well as what relationship NZ On Air will have with it.

NZ On Air is actively involved in developing the Business Case, along with TVNZ and RNZ.

In addition, our support for NZ music continues unchanged, as does our operational funding for vital public media platforms and services such as Access Radio, Pacific radio, captioning and audio description etc.

There is much work to do. The first Stop/Go on this proposal is July this year when Cabinet will consider the Business case.


  1. Tim Murphy, 7. February 2020, 16:19

    Bit of a letdown, that public broadcasting announcement. Nothing new bar the name of the consultant, PwC, who will start looking into it. Can’t see a political decision between PwC report mid-year and the election Sept. So, out to 2021 it goes. No certainty for anyone, really. [via twitter]

  2. ND, 7. February 2020, 17:39

    Yet another Business Case done by a Big 4 Accountancy Company! PwC could probably pay for a year of RadioNZ Concert out of petty cash.

  3. Traveller, 7. February 2020, 18:40

    A good idea: give the PwC money to RNZ instead, and tell them to use it to retain RNZ Concert as is. They should be aware by now that not one person has supported their idea of gutting Concert…And I havent seen anyone getting excited by the youth idea – because it’s in a market that’s already over-supplied. Do they plan to compete with Spotify?

  4. Kara, 8. February 2020, 12:43

    I agree with the above comments.