THE DAY OF RECK­ON­ING

New Zealand Marketing - - Shorts -

June 17 won’t be re­mem­bered as one of the bet­ter days in New Zealand’s me­dia his­tory, with the coun­try’s sec­ond big­gest free-to-air broad­caster go­ing into re­ceiver­ship, Fair­fax of­fi­cially an­nounc­ing the clo­sure of three of its tech ti­tles and The Truth ceas­ing pub­lish­ing af­ter more than 125 years. It’s Me­dia­maged­don!

Me­di­aWorks made the big­gest splash, an­nounc­ing that it would be put into re­ceiver­ship and the own­er­ship struc­ture would be changed. Un­like most re­ceiver­ships, how­ever, the pun­dits largely saw this as a pos­i­tive step. With new chief Rod McGeoch and TV doyenne Julie Christie named as a di­rec­tor, it’s sup­pos­edly “busi­ness as usual”, with all 1400 jobs re­main­ing. Iron­bridge Cap­i­tal and other eq­uity hold­ers that loaded the com­pany with debt, have lost their in­vest­ment. The IRD is also thought to be un­likely to re­ceive the $22 mil­lion it says Me­di­aWorks owes. And while the bankers have their slice of the com­pany af­ter the debt-for-eq­uity swap, there’s is talk of more lo­cal own­er­ship in the fu­ture.

The loss of 25-year-old Com­put­er­World, as well as PC World and Re­seller News, was a blow to the ICT com­mu­nity. But Lyn­ley Bel­ton, Fair­fax Mag­a­zines gen­eral man­ager, says as much as she re­gret­ted hav­ing to make this tough de­ci­sion, she be­lieves it is “in the best in­ter­ests of our long-term suc­cess as a pro­ducer of qual­ity con­tent for New Zealan­ders”.

“With change comes op­por­tu­nity, and we are look­ing at ways to in­crease our tech­nol­ogy pres­ence across other Fair­fax chan­nels as the busi­ness adapts,” she says.

As for The Truth, ‘the na­tion’s pa­per since 1887’, it had at­tempted a re­sus­ci­ta­tion with the ar­rival of Cameron ‘Whaleoil’ Slater as ed­i­tor late last year, but Matthew Hor­ton, who owns a 50 per­cent stake in the pa­per, told the NBR the tabloid was too far gone and “had taken a very seedy turn over the last five years and I think that prob­a­bly cost the pa­per a lot of sales”.

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