Jobs may go in TVNZ review

Television New Zealand is undergoing major restructuring that could lead to job losses.

Outside consultants have been brought in to review departments within the public broadcaster, including news and current affairs, which could face programming cuts.

A source said high-cost, low-rating New Zealand programmes could face the axe as TVNZ moved to trim costs after senior managers had completed a six-month review of operations.

A TVNZ spokesman confirmed the review of TV1 programming next year, but said no programmes had been singled out “for the chop”. The review follows TVNZ’s release this week of Inspiring On Every Screen, a five-year strategy that shifts the broadcaster’s focus to include programming on the Internet and mobile phones as well as its television programming.

From March, shows such as Shortland Street and One News will be available to download from the Internet.

TVNZ will also launch two new digital channels with New Zealand content after an $80 million boost in funding from the Government.

Chief executive Rick Ellis has said TVNZ wants to “embrace the reality of the changing media landscape”. “Some of the changes will happen sooner rather than later. But as a business we must prepare ourselves for it.”

Union representatives said they were concerned about the changes, and had not been consulted about the restructuring.

PSA organiser Brendan Sheehan said there were rumours that up to 200 jobs could go and TVNZ needed to come clean about plans.

But a TVNZ spokesman said discussion on job losses was speculative. “We do not know yet – it’s as simple as that. We’re working through this process, which has only really just started.”

The most likely outcome was “job role changes” and “different ways of working”, but it was not a cost-cutting exercise, he said.

“The question is now that we’ve got a vision for the next five years, how does the business need to operate?”

Most positions within TVNZ would be reviewed and unions, which cover 300 of about 1200 staff at TVNZ, would be consulted “as appropriate”.#paraMr Ellis told a parliamentary select committee last month that TVNZ would review its spending next month after a fall in an advertising revenue. He denied the company was $30 million behind budget, but would not disclose the actual figure.

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