Mediaworks beyond the point of worrying what Government might do - CEO

Ryan Bridge 18/10/2019

The comments were made while Ryan Bridge grilled Mediaworks CEO Michael Anderson on rumours that selling the TV arm of the company is only a ploy to convince the Government to act.

MediaWorks has announced it intends to sell its TV business. TV channel Three is the major asset of the MediaWorks TV business, it also includes ThreeLife, the Bravo joint venture and all of Newshub’s operations.

MediaWorks will retain its profitable radio network, including Magic Talk, and newly-acquired outdoor advertising company QMS.

CEO Michael Anderson joined Ryan Bridge for an interview to discuss the potential sale, or closure, of the business’ TV operations.

Ryan begins the interview by questioning the rumours that the announcement is intended as a tactic to pressure the Government to lessen the pressure TVNZ applies to the market in New Zealand, which Anderson responds is, "nonsensical".

"To think that we would be bluffing or that we would be doing some sort of stunt and putting our people through the uncertainty and the difficult times ahead through this process just to try and bluff Government is just nonsensical."

Under pressure from host Ryan Bridge, Anderson clarifies that the board would have to consider any proposal from Government that might change the TV market into a more sustainable position, but that it is not a case that they would reverse the decision to sell.

As for what suggestions might be suitable the Mediaworks Chief explains, “right along the way we have been saying to Government we don’t have a prescription for this.”

Ryan turns up the heat on the Media boss asking when did the company begin seeking buyers, pushing the questioning in order to “put to bed” rumours of a bluff.

Anderson tells Ryan that the reason for going through this public process is, “we could have easily gone out to some players who may or may not have been interested behind the scenes.”

He says that has two disadvantages, the first being staff would have discovered through leaks that being the wrong source and that approach would “comes with our presupposition about who our potential buyer is.

"We need to be open to the fact that there may be buyers out there that we are not aware of."

You can watch the full interview above.