Media’s Thelma and Louise strategy

With talks of a merger between NZME (publisher of the Herald) and Fairfax surely they will be considering the name “Ferald” for the new organisation?

Two of New Zealand’s largest media companies have confirmed they are in talks to merge.

The Australian parents Fairfax Media and APN said on Wednesday they are in “exclusive discussions to merge their NZ businesses” and list on stock exchanges on both sides of the Tasman.

The New Zealand businesses are Fairfax NZ and NZME respectively.

Between them, they publish Stuff, The Sunday Star-Times, The Dominion Post, The Press (Fairfax NZ), and the NZ Herald, Hawke’s Bay Today and Herald on Sunday (NZME), and other newspapers and magazines. NZME also operates radio stations including NewstalkZB and Radio Sport.   

No discussions have been had on details of the proposed merger – staff, brands and premises – as regulatory approvals are needed before the companies can talk to one another.

But a rough timeline suggests it could be completed by December.

Executives will meet with the EPMU union representing staff at both businesses today.

Between them the organisations have over 3000 staff.

The plan needs Commerce Commission authorisation and approval from the Overseas Investment Office.

I think I might create a bingo card with journalists names on it to see which get the arse-card.

This is good news for those who might be interested in seeing some real competition introduced into the market by new players.


– Fairfax


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  • shykiwibloke

    The alternative name would be HearFax (but don’t print them)

    • Mike Webber

      Feral would probably apt.

  • Chris EM

    I’d be interested to hear what the Commerce Commission have to say about this. They would almost have a monopoly in lies and deceit.

    • XCIA

      What passes for a Commerce Commission here is not unfamiliar with those traits itself.

    • Dave

      I don’t see any issues there, one major print media organisation, but also some locals and two TV channels, plus radio to keep them honest, and provide competition, plus quite a few blogs. One must remember, NZ is a small market, and in that market given the steep decline of media worldwide, two media organisations is unsustainable, its only a matter of time until one shuts up shop completely, or they both downsize massively.

      The charts are from Wiki

      • Dave

        To add. Looking at that as an adviser, one would likely say, its a sunset industry, unless they can come up with a brilliant U Turn strategy, best to turn it into a cash cow, to harvest anything possible. a two fold strategy or similar.

        U Turn: Digital, online media and advertising, develop, innovate, invest in, make it happen, best people and resources..

        Harvest: Sell anything of any value, cut costs (massive retrenchment) keep the cost line well below the ever decreasing revenue line, cut advertising and promotional costs, starve the organisation of capital, almost zero staff development, review quarterly then monthly until the lights are turned out.

  • Kiwi Sapper

    “………..This is good news for those who might be interested in seeing some real competition introduced into the market by new players.”

    perhaps so but it certainly would be “…….good news for those who might be interested in seeing some real “news ” introduced into the market by new players.”

  • Totara

    Part of the supposed rationale for merging is that: with two major players, the first one of them to install a pay-wall will effectively commit commercial suicide in favour of the other. Therefore neither Fairfax nor NZME can risk installing a pay-wall.

    The reality though is that they are both stuffed by years of insulting the intelligence of their readers. There is a limited market in New Zealand for people willing to pay to read about what happened on The Bachelor, and the Women’s Weekly already dominates that market segment.

    Just look at the inanity of the comments section on Stuff and the Horrid to see what sort of people are reading. People who have a limited ability to process rational thought aren’t likely to have much of their weekly benefit left over for a newspaper subscription.

  • Spiker

    I love the Thelma and Louise analogy. They are both heading for that cliff and are past the point of no return. All that’s left to do is to crash and burn.

  • Karma

    Fairfax and NZME do realise that two wrongs don’t make a right?

  • Keanne Lawrence

    What an outstanding proposition with a fantastic opportunity to make massive cutbacks on the mugs that produce what they loosely offer as “news”. An overt form of containment which is always the first phase of eradication.

  • oldmanNZ

    there is not enought paying subsribers to pay both print,
    there not much use for the print either, too hard for toilet paper, too small for fish and chips wrapping. and we not allow to start fires anymore..

    I think most jornalist will also be freelance. no point keeping them as Facebook has plenty.

  • JEL51

    This news both entertaining & scary at the same time, can not do much more harm than has already occurred. It will just mean more dumbing-down of the masses by those self-inflated egos that we do not have to suffer here on WO.
    Just luv-ed hearing Our Dear Blonde being slapped down by another earlier. This news may just slow-down her accent to becoming Mother-of-the-Nation.

  • niggly

    I heard media commentators on the radio today talking about the new venture will be pay-walled (online).

    Well considering people are cancelling their newspaper subscriptions thanks to appalling journalistic bias and standards, what makes NZME/Fairfax think that people would then want to now pay a subscription to read their online only garbage?

    • Hard1

      “I heard media commentators on the radio today talking about the new venture will be pay-walled (online).”
      Kelvin Davis will be onto it in a heartbeat.

  • Idiots. The proper response to a failing business model is diversification NOT consolidation. The commerce commission should say naff off and die…

  • Hard1

    This is an excellent opportunity for The Huffington Post and others to cross the ditch and bury our ‘property press and misery’ MSM. With their across the board journalism and opinion model based on contributors, not staff, they could open the door for free new media like Vice TV etc to show us the real world, not just Murdoch’s version.

  • Sceptic59


    Looks like NZ is going to take the lead in the “life without MSM race”, print and semi digital at least

    Might need some new legislation on what constitutes a public notice, and mum will need to figure out what to wrap her lettuce in after the paper/s die

    But think of the upside, no more 3 day old news being palmed off as fresh an fantastic

    A whole new bevy of unemployed journos to retrain into the real world

    And the real upside is that TV isn’t that far behind
    Now I know how medieval folk felt when the black death disappeared

  • Jax

    You mean quality journalism like this will end – – if you click the youtube video in their own article the comments all indicate it was a trolling exercise and it was from before the fire. Nice work guys.

  • benniedawg

    May their projected union bring them every happiness. Heard a business commentator today describe it as a ‘hospice’ solution. Everyone knows that the patient is going to die but just ensuring the end is relatively painless and managed. Even though this situation appears inevitable I can’t understand the absolute stupidity of the media. In NZ today around 50% vote right. However, the media continue to push the lefts agenda endlessly. Surely a savvy editor/manager would do the math. L=25% R=50%. Which should encourage them to think’ best we try and provide balance to not encourage those in the majority to cancel subscriptions’. Then again the concept of thinking is probably a step to far. Wonder what I will do with my extra $40 a month?

  • andrewo

    I’ll bet they’re packaging the whole lot up to list it on the stock market & flick it off.
    Now, is that a share you’d want to buy?