MediaWorks confirms sale of TV operations to Discovery Inc

The Christchurch MediaWorks office on Lincoln Rd. Photo: File
The Christchurch MediaWorks office on Lincoln Rd. Photo: File
MediaWorks has confirmed it will sell its TV operations to US company Discovery Inc.

The deal includes Three and Bravo, streaming service ThreeNow, and multi-platform news and current affairs service Newshub, as well as the further channels Three+1, Bravo+1, The Edge TV and The Breeze TV.

The company says the sale is subject to pre-completion approvals and is expected to completed by the end of the year.

MediaWorks has been trying to sell its TV operation since late last year and had already done a deal to sell its central Auckland premises.

In May it announced 130 staff redundancies in response to a Covid-19-driven slump in revenue.

Staff hours and pay were also reduced in April.

Chief executive Michael Anderson, who finishes with the company at the end of the year, said this was the best possible outcome.

"We are very pleased to have reached a sales agreement with Discovery and to share this news today. This is the best possible outcome for the future of MediaWorks TV and its passionate and dedicated people who work tirelessly to make it a unique and special business. Under the ownership of Discovery, Three, Newshub and Bravo will have a long-term home and continue to play a vital role in New Zealand society."

"The ongoing success of our radio and out-of-home business demonstrates that MediaWorks has a very bright future and with this unique and powerful combination, our focus now is to accelerate the opportunities that exist for our clients."

Discovery president for Asia-Pacific Simon Robinson said it was an exciting purchase.

"MediaWorks TV is New Zealand's leading independent free-to-air commercial broadcaster, with popular shows and great brands. Discovery is a global content creator, a major free-to-air broadcaster across several European markets, including the UK, Germany, Italy, Poland and the Nordics, and has expertise in evolving our linear business to direct-to-consumer.

"With a 26-year heritage in the New Zealand market, we are committed to drive MediaWorks TV's future growth and success, delivering increased value to audiences and advertisers across all screens in New Zealand."

Glen Kyne has been appointed general manager of TV, and would report to Simon Robinson once the deal was completed.

Discovery has had a presence in New Zealand since 1994, when it first launched Discovery Channel on Sky.



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