Sky TV takes Fairfax/Stuff to court over Olympic “fair use”


Sky TV [NZX: SKT] has confirmed to NBR that, having been unsuccessful in getting an injunction against Fairfax NZ over its use of Rio Olympics footage, it will now take its issue with the publisher (and recent entrant into the “video content space”) to a full trial.

Sky TV chief executive John Fellet told NBR Radio going to trial is the only way to get a resolution on the issue. Read more »


Will local news media become like boutique breweries?

In 2012 I was invited to speak at the New Zealand Community Newspapers Association awards dinner.

I made my speech about how the future of publishing news was in their hands and they didn’t even know it.

As Fairfax and APN (then, NZME. now) got bigger they had ignored the local news. They concentrated more and more on Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch.

Those papers that did the basics well locally were actually able to grow if they just thought about it and got even more parochial. Even in Auckland there were opportunities, like the Howick and Pakuranaga Times…unfortunately they were at the time in the thrall of a couple of wide boys talking the big game in digital without even bothering to understand their audience or what they were even doing.

Karl du Fresne has a blog post about just those sorts of sentiments, that “boutique” is profitable and lucrative and perhaps the way of the future for local news.

It’s rare these days to hear about any development in the news media that’s worth celebrating, but the announcement that the Wairarapa Times-Age is reverting to local ownership is a tonic.

After 12 years in what is now the NZME (previously known as APN) stable, the Masterton-based Monday-Friday paper is being bought by its general manager, Andrew Denholm. My guess is that other local money is involved, although I have no inside knowledge.

The news is encouraging for several reasons. For a start, it represents a tiny reversal of a trend that has greatly diminished the relevance of local papers.

The process of agglomeration by which provincial papers such as the Times-Age were gobbled up in the late 20th century by the two big industry players of the time, INL and Wilson and Horton, was once overwhelmingly positive for the industry.

It gave small, previously family-owned papers access to capital with which to invest in vital new technology. It brought them into a nationwide career structure that lifted professional standards and it also meant that small papers were less likely to be captive to local parochial interests.

That all worked well while the two big companies remained in New Zealand hands. The turning point came when the Australian outfits Fairfax (which acquired INL) and APN (which bought Wilson and Horton) moved in.

Australian ownership has not been good for the New Zealand print media. Their disregard for the New Zealand way of doing things was never more obvious than when they dismantled the New Zealand Press Association, thus ending a system of news sharing that had lasted more than a century and ensured that newspaper readers in Whangarei and Gisborne knew about things of importance that were happening in Invercargill and Greymouth.

Sharing wasn’t the Australian way, so it was scrapped.

[…]   Read more »

Feel the fear, that sound you hear is journalist’s knees knocking together

The Media party are shaking in their boots.

After years of degrading their mastheads to the status of clickbait sites they are now facing mass redundancy.

Trade Union leaders are worried that a merger would have serious consequences for NZME and Fairfax NZ staff.

Hundreds of New Zealand journalists face an uncertain future if the planned merger gets the green light.

Media companies Fairfax and APN have told the New Zealand Stock exchange they are in talks about merging their New Zealand businesses by the end of 2016.

NZME – the New Zealand arm of APN – owns several North Island daily papers and radio stations, while Fairfax’s media portfolio includes newspapers, magazines, such as Cuisine, TV Guide and NZ House & Garden, and the country’s most-visited news website Stuff.co.nz.    Read more »

So this is what they want to paywall

I took a look at the front page of the NZ Herald online this morning:

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 9.50.51 AM Read more »

Why did Hager only choose TVNZ and RNZ?


Further to my musings on Hager and the media colluding on a hit on National and John Key, it kind of came to me that I could explain why TV3 was being cold shouldered by Hager (because John Campbell is now with Radio New Zealand).

I also figured out why Fairfax are outside the tent (because Andrea Vance is now at TVNZ).

But then it struck me.   What on earth has happened to the NZ Herald?

Matt Nippert and David Fisher were donkey deep running the Dirty Politics campaign along the Labour Party, Rawshark and Hager play book.  The New Zealand Herald were having pool parties diving through reams of my emails, mocking me and my friends on a daily basis through the paper, online and through social media.  They also phoned companies and key people with one sided stories, even managing to get some people sacked.
Read more »

Fairfax is tanking, with New Zealand’s portion down 10% (15% in Australian dollars)

The Fairfax Media Limited(ASX: FXJ) share price is down 1.9% today to 79.5 cents, after the media group announced big falls in publishing revenues across both metro and community media and in New Zealand.

Revenues for the first 17 weeks of the second half of the 2016 financial year (FY16 2H) for the group as a whole is down 2 to 3% compared to last year.

  • In Metro Media, publishing revenues are down around 6%
  • Australian Community Media is down around 13%
  • New Zealand is down around 10% in local currency (15% in Australian dollars)

The general group performance is looking a lot less scary due to the performance of their radio broadcasting division.  But the harsh truth in the publishing division is that they are staring at a sunset industry.

Fairfax’s results again show that the slow death of newspaper publishing continues unabated. Fairfax itself has admitted that the seven-day-a-week publishing model is dead, and will give way to either weekend-only or more targeted printing for most publishers. Read more »


It’s everyone else’s fault…except the NZEI

Normal transmission resumes from the Media party as they seek to cover up the complicity of the NZEI in covering up the activities of a convicted child rapist .

The Ministry of Education says it is not responsible for what a lawyer calls “massive systemic failures” that allowed a sex offender to stay in the education system for more than 30 years.

Robert Burrett, 64, last month admitted 21 charges, including the rape, sodomy, forced oral sex and indecent assault of a dozen schoolgirls, aged five to 12.

Some of them were disabled and one was wheelchair bound.

Burrett installed a lock and curtains in a caretaker shed at a Christchurch school to hide his offending, which took place over two years.

Cooper Legal senior associate Amanda Hill said the case included a string of “massive systemic failures”. Burrett’s victims were failed by teachers, principals, boards of trustees, the Education Council and ultimately the ministry.

Read more »

Fairfax considered going online only and axing 40% of staff

The Australian has revealed that Fairfax investigated stopping all print output and going online only…which would have cost 40% of their workforce their jobs.

Fairfax Media has conducted ­detailed analysis to estimate how many staff could be cut if the publisher stopped printing its flagship metropolitan newspapersThe Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in Melbourne.

Documents prepared by senior Fairfax executives, and seen by The Australian, find that 205 fulltime editorial employees of the 503 considered to be “core editorial” at the time could be retrenched if the mastheads stopped printing and adopted a digital-only strategy.

Although the documents were dated February 2013, the news comes at a time when Fairfax is implementing its Project Sunrise cost-cutting program, with a major restructure expected this year. It also comes just days after news broke that Britain’sThe Independent would shut its print edition next month.

The documents were also dated around the time several reports suggested Fairfax was considering shutting the Monday-to-Friday print editions of its main metropolitan mastheads, although this was denied vehemently by chief executive Greg Hywood.

The analysis — part of the company’s Fairfax of the Future restructuring program — assumed an average salary cost of $140,000 a year, meaning that 205 job cuts from the decision to end printing of the two newspapers and inserted magazines would reap $28.7 million in savings.

The analysis also assumed $11m in cost savings from the Pagemasters subediting service, as well as slashing the contributor budget by $7m, and $1m in savings from news wires, travel and entertainment, although it noted newswire providers offered cheaper rates to Fairfax because of existing print deals. Fairfax outsourced much of the subediting work that had been performed by Pagemasters to its New Zealand subbing hub in 2014.

A Fairfax spokesman yesterday declined to comment.

Read more »


When media break name suppression


In 2010 I thought I could be smart and get my way around name suppression laws by being cute. I failed, and wound up with a few convictions for breaking name suppression.

It didn’t matter that every person I named was a scumbag, or a wife beater, or a rapist. I broke the law and got lined up and rinsed by a Solicitor-General out to prove a point.

At the same time that I was before the courts TVNZ also broke name suppression in the Daljit Singh case, they weren’t even investigated much less charged. It was subtle and it was clever what they did, standing in front of election hoardings of Singh while talking about the person with name suppression.

This week at least two media outlets have breached name suppression again.

I am not going to go into the details of the case because to do so would mean that other people could do what I did to find out who it is that has their name suppressed.

But I will explain what it is the media did without the specifics.

Both Fairfax and the NZ Herald ran a story and the way they wrote it up just made you want to find out precisely who the suppressed person was.    Read more »

Not just Nicky, it also means you David, and Matt and anyone else who worked with the hacker

David ‘Tainted’ Fisher has yet another article in support of his partner in crime Nicky Hager.

This time catching up on something everyone else has been talking about since last week…that a recent Supreme Court decision regarding data as property and what that means for people working with criminal hackers.

Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager may face criminal charges over accepting the hacked material used to write the bombshell book, according to documents obtained by the Herald.

Police will not say whether the investigative journalist is again a suspect, instead of simply a witness, after a pivotal Supreme Court decision which ruled computer files were property.

Documents show the new definition from the court puts Hager back in the frame over the computer files he was given by a hacker which he used as the basis for his book.

An Official Information Act response to Hager’s lawyers in June saw police lawyer Carolyn Richardson explain there had been a decision – apparently just before the journalist’s house was searched – to treat him as an “unco-operative witness as opposed to a suspect”. It was based on legal advice over an earlier Court of Appeal decision which said computer files weren’t property, she said.    Read more »