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NZ regulator ‘massively myopic’: Fairfax

Tuesday, 15 November 2016
By Print 21 Online Article

 

Fairfax Media has slammed the New Zealand Commerce Commission (NZCC) over its opposition to the proposed merger of Fairfax NZ and NZME – the country’s two biggest media companies.

'Misguided thinking': Greg Hywood, CEO, Fairfax Media

The NZCC last week expressed concern that the deal would see one media outlet controlling almost 90 per cent of NZ’s print media market. “This would be the second highest level of print media ownership in the world, behind only China,” said chairman Dr Mark Berry in a draft determination.

Greg Hywood, CEO of Australian-based parent Fairfax Media, said the NZCC was being “massively myopic” for failing to “look at the present and future reality of the likes of Google and Facebook.”

Hywood said a decision to block the merger could threaten the viability of New Zealand newspapers and result in job losses. “Without the corporate and back office synergies made possible by a merger of Fairfax Media NZ and NZME, it will inevitably mean deeper cuts into journalism.

“Global search and social giants are taking the bulk of media revenue and yet they produce no local journalism and pay minimal, if any, local taxes.

“We put journalists into local communities each and every day, and in order to sustain that journalism, our New Zealand business needs to be free from restrictions on it becoming a modern media network with the scale and resources necessary to aggressively compete,” said Hywood. “Nobody, not least us, wants to see New Zealand’s social fabric shredded by misguided thinking that the status quo is immune from market realities.”

The NZCC said the merger would be likely to substantially lessen competition in a number of markets, including premium digital advertising, advertising in Sunday newspapers and advertising in community newspapers. It said the merged entity would be likely to increase subscription and retail prices for Sunday newspapers and introduce a paywall for at least one of its websites.

Former NZ Herald editor Tim Murphy has estimated that 750 jobs could be on the line if the merger goes ahead.

 

 

One Response to “NZ regulator ‘massively myopic’: Fairfax”

  1. November 16, 2016 at 3:35 pm,

    John griffiths
    said:

    Fairfax fails again and winges again.

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