MediaWorks will be interested in the decision of a landmark tax avoidance test case which saw the IRD succeed against Australian-based company Alesco.

The ruling will effect on the economy according to tax expert Jo Doolan who says it will create uncertainty in the minds of overseas companies operating in New Zealand.

”While many will be watching and hoping to see whether Alesco appeals to the Court of Appeal, we need to be very concerned about the lack of tax certainty being a major deterrent for offshore investors,” Doolan said. 

”We are an importer of capital and rely on overseas companies investing in New Zealand. One has to question whether this type of uncertainty is in our best interests. 

”It is all very well to use the anti-avoidance rules to slam-dunk transactions and to collect more tax, however if this means we lose out of offshore investment, then we have all lost.” 

The IRD is believed to have won nine out of ten tax avoidance cases recently, with the latest win over Alesco setting a precedent for further challenge relating to the use of optional convertible notes (OCN).

MediaWorks, along with Qantas, Telstra and Toll Holdings are all said to be taking a keen interest in the Alesco case.

Source: Stuff

MediaWorks TV has appointed Richard Fenner to the newly created role of Business Development Director.

Starting today, the role sees him working closely with the Sales team to identify new clients, projects and opportunities for the network.

Richard is well known throughout the advertising industry as one of New Zealand’s most experienced agency executives, and co-founder and former Managing Director of Spark PHD, the 2010 CAANZ Agency of the Year. 

MediaWorks Director of Sales, Linda Farrelly, says he brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the company.

 “Richard was a fantastic client, is highly regarded in the industry and will bring new skills and different perspective to our business,” she says.  

“The MediaWorks business model has changed, and it is important that we continue to expand our expertise in order to continue to move our business forward.

“Richard ticks all the boxes.  I am thrilled that he is joining the team.” 

The announcement follows last week’s 2012 programme launch which saw MediaWorks present clients, agencies and media with the first look at TV3 and FOUR’s impressive new season line ups.  The launch was also a chance to reflect on many of the innovative, custom made solutions the company has created for its clients over the past 12 months, including the first fruits of the company’s Integration team, a specialist sales division headed by Melanie Reece.

“I’ve surprised myself how excited I am about this opportunity,” Richard says.  “Linda and her team are great and I hope I can contribute as much as they expect. Love the challenge!”

About a month ago there was an article in The Sunday Star Times entitled “How broadcasters lost control of screens”. I spent about half an hour talking to a journalist about television, the new SkyNet law and the current and future states of television in New Zealand.

There were a number of things from my discussion that never made that story and there were some other points raised by others quoted in the article that I wanted to address.

The article highlighted the arrival of Sky’s new premium content channel SoHo: a fast-tracked smorgasboard of the latest shows from US cable channel HBO.  For an extra $9.99 on top of your existing monthly Sky TV bill, you’ll be able to watch shows within days, if not hours, of their US premier. 

This is a bit of a coup for Sky as typically HBO haven’t allowed their series to be broadcast outside of the US until their season is complete.  However, I’m not really that enamoured by this new channel in the same way Sky’s head of programming Travis Dunbar is.

HBO and other cable channels typically produce shows with cult followings.  They exist for the passionate fans who love to watch and talk about every aspect of the story and characters.  If they can’t watch an episode live, they avoid the internet until they’ve managed to catch up with their PVR or on-demand service so that nothing gets spoiled.  That’s a fairly easy thing to do for a few hours but not for much longer.  Delays just don’t work for hardcore fans.

TVNZ’s Rick Ellis doesn’t seem to care about hardcore fans though.  His comment was rather telling:

Rick Ellis, chief executive of state broadcaster TVNZ, agrees there’s a trend toward getting foreign shows here faster, but although “a small number” of TV aficionados will download out of impatience, the “vast majority” of viewers are still happy with “linear” viewing – a fancy word for switching on a telly and watching shows in the order a programmer ordained.

That “small number” of people are the early adopters, advocates and evangelists for shows his network holds the rights to, talked about in The Tipping Point.

Our fast tracked record is appalling. Running Throng in a number of countries we get to see just how quickly shows are being sped to viewers.  Australia broadcasts a number of shows within hours of their US debut.

The best example is that of American Idol.  Pay channel Fox 8 broadcast the grand finale of the show this year live at 10am and then repeated it that evening in prime time.  For those fans who wanted to see who would win the most watched TV show in America, they could do it live.  Outstanding. For those who were at work or couldn’t watch it live, they could get home and watch it straight away if they’d recorded it or wait for the delayed broadcast. Either way, good news.

In New Zealand, you could have watched it live via one of the many online streaming sites. Sure, the quality isn’t HD but it’s about being there and watching history unfold.

Why can’t broadcasters do something similar here with streaming? For those who want to watch an episode now, why not let them if you own the rights to it?  If someone wanted to watch the season finale of the final season of Desperate Housewives or Grey’s Anatomy, why couldn’t TVNZ provide a service where you could live stream the episode for those fans who would otherwise download or watch it elsewhere?  Isn’t there some money to be made off such fans?  Is it too difficult or just laziness that something like this couldn’t be done?

Perhaps TVNZ could provide a new premium channel on Sky (since that seems to be what they’re into these days) that provides live broadcasts of US shows so that those who want to, can watch them without having to “break the law”.  Too hard or just don’t care?

It seems to me that TVNZ and broadcasters in general are completely complacent when it comes to providing viewers what they want.  They’ll spout off about increased viewer numbers and more people watching shows on demand while ignoring all the global publicity and news about the latest hit shows. I find that incredible.

Thankfully, TV3 have caught a glimpse of the light and are screening The X Factor USA within a few hours.  But what about everything else?  The final season of House has just started.  How long must we wait for that?

There are real solutions that would prove to their viewers that these companies respect and value them.  However, how long we have to wait to see which off them will actually grow a pair is anyone’s guess.

Former Mediaworks chief executive Jason Paris has landed a top role at Telecom.

Paris, who stepped down from his role at Mediaworks in June, has been made the chief marketing officer at Telecom.

Paris said he is excited to be working with a kiwi brand.

“Telecom is a great New Zealand company that plays a vital role in the lives of millions of Kiwis. I’m excited to be part of a dynamic team which will ensure that Telecom capitalises on the tremendous opportunities ahead of it,” he said.

Paris will be responsible for driving retail revenue and retail marketing.

Source: Herald

For the year ended 30 June, Television advertising revenue was $613 million, compared to $583 million for the previous 12 months.

That translates into annual growth of 5.1% and is a strong indicator of the confidence advertisers place on the medium as the economic recovery begins to take hold.

While March quarter advertising revenues were adversely impacted by the earthquakes in Christchurch and subsequent events, growth returned in the June quarter.

It is expected the second half of 2011 will see even stronger growth, with the effects of the Rugby World Cup and the Election still to come.

Rick Friesen, Chief Executive of ThinkTV, the Free-to-Air Television industry body, stated “There is no doubt that Television continues to provide unparalleled reach and impact. Advertisers recognise this and, with the building confidence in the economy, Television is best able to provide major brand marketers with the most efficient way to reach their customers.”

Revenue figures are sourced from returns prepared by TVNZ, MediaWorks TV and SKY Network Television (including Prime).

(From a press release)

MediaWorks has announced that Television CEO, Jason Paris, has resigned his position. 

MediaWorks Group Managing Director Sussan Turner said at the company’s request Jason will be working through his notice period to ensure the smooth transition of all projects across the television business.  She will now assume, as part of her Group MD role, Head of Television responsibilities and senior television management will report to her. 

“I am very confident that we have, in our current Television Management team, the skill and expertise required to guide MediaWorks Television’s future development and growth.

“The Board of Mediaworks want to acknowledge the contribution that Jason has made to the television business.”

Jason said: “The television team has achieved a huge amount in a challenging commercial environment. I thank all of them for their hard work and support and wish them all the very best in their ongoing endeavours.”

Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) has granted MediaWorks Radio broadcast rights to Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand. Under the deal MediaWorks Radio will provide listeners with match updates, expert opinion and analysis across its stable of stations broadcast to an audience in excess of 1.4 million*.

The deal also enables a wide range of promotional opportunities for Rugby World Cup 2011 commercial partners to leverage their association with the Tournament throughout New Zealand.

“We are delighted that MediaWorks Radio has joined the extensive family of Rugby World Cup 2011 broadcasters,” said RWCL Managing Director Mike Miller.

“Wall to wall coverage across New Zealand will give fans an unprecedented opportunity to engage with a Tournament that is firmly established as one of the world’s premier sporting events.”

MediaWorks Radio General Manager of Talk Jana Rangooni said: “We’re excited to be able to provide coverage of Rugby World Cup 2011 across RadioLIVE and LIVESport with Martin Devlin leading our coverage alongside an exceptional line up of dedicated sports journalists.”

MediaWorks Radio will also deliver in-depth and entertaining coverage across the stable of music stations, including local involvement in 22 MORE FM markets. Andrew Szusterman, Group Programme Director – Music, said “More than ever we are able to bring the Tournament to life in each and every market we broadcast in and we plan to have some fun!”

It is with hearty congratulations that we welcome Graeme Underwood to the role of Interactive Sales Manager.

“Woody” will be seizing the reins of this role from April 26.

Graeme has proven extremely successful in his previous Sales Management roles within Radio and Television. His past credits include RadioWorks, TRB, SKY TV, TV3 and FOUR.

 “I am looking forward to the exciting challenge of managing Interactive Sales. Online and Mobile are now such an integral part of MediaWorks offering that I feel proud to be leading the charge on taking these products to market,” he says.

Director of TV Sales, Linda Farrelly says Graeme will be missed in National Sales.

“I’m pleased the skills he has developed over his time in the company and industry are being harnessed into now taking the Interactive business to a new level.”

She adds:  “Woody has worked on big projects such as the Rugby World Cup this year and market feedback is that our customised product is excellent.  I’d like to thank him for all his hard work in National Sales.”

Graeme replaces outgoing Sales Manager, Jay Best.  

Director MWL Interactive, Siobhan McKenna says: “On behalf of all of Interactive, I wish to thank Jay very much for his insightful contributions to Interactive’s growth and welcome Woody to the team.”

Carly Flynn returns to our screens and airwaves this coming Monday, March 28, with the launch of CUDO, a collaborative buying website – the biggest social media trend to ever hit the New Zealand market.

In a joint venture between Cudo Australia and MediaWorks, with NZ partners ACP Magazines and Microsoft NZ, CUDO will offer subscribers a daily opportunity to buy a specific product or service at an enormously discounted price.

Carly Flynn will bring consumers the daily offers which will be broadcast nationally on TV3 at 8.10am, 12.10pm and 8.10pm – and on FOUR twice during peak evening viewing.

MediaWorks radio stations – The Edge, The Rock, More FM, Kiwi FM, RadioLIVE, LiveSPORT, Solid Gold, The Breeze, George FM and Mai FM will all run the offers at varying times across the day.

Modelled on the hugely successful Australian version, will promote daily offers to consumers who register their interest online.  Once these reach a critical point, the deal goes live and vouchers are issued to those who registered interest.

General Manager of Cudo New Zealand, Peter Loughlin says after only six months in Australia CUDO has quickly jumped to the position of market leader and he’s confident we can do the same in New Zealand.

Director of Interactive Siobhan McKenna says CUDO has an important role to play within the company and within the market.

“CUDO will bring Kiwis fantastic deals, but what makes this site different to the others is what it brings to New Zealand business owners. It will put businesses top of mind overnight, and leave them with tangible benefits that are ongoing,” she comments.

“CUDO makes it possible to get all the big bang marketing exposure of TV, Radio, Online, Magazines and Mobile, with Business owners paying only a percentage on the sales generated.”

In memory of Sandy Smith, MediaWorks is launching the Inspiring Individuals Award which will be presented for the first time at this year’s CAANZ Media Awards in June.

“With this award, MediaWorks are honouring Sandy’s business philosophy and values, and celebrating like-minded individuals within the industry,” said MediaWorks Director of Sales, Linda Farrelly.

“Sandy was with MediaWorks for 13 years and in her role as Business Development Manager she shared with colleagues the knowledge and time that are vital for success in the fast moving world of media.”

The Inspiring Individuals Award nominees can be selected by their peers or individuals are able to nominate themselves. Nominees need to meet the following criteria:

– A mentor for others – this person invests time in younger members of the team, inspiring them professionally and encouraging them to evolve as better individuals.

– Shares their knowledge and wisdom accumulated during their time in the industry.

– The person colleagues go to when they want an answer that will be wise, practical and honest. No fluff.

– Contributes to the media industry – this person sees the value in being involved in industry developments and initiatives in a constructive way.

– Approaches challenges with a positive can-do attitude.

– Challenges the status quo with logic and reason.

– Embraces the changes in our ever evolving media landscape.

– Enjoys life, a laugh and a G&T!

Nominations can be submitted from Thursday 24 March at and should include an explanation as to why the nominated individual is deserving of the award.

The winner of the Inspiring Individuals Award will also win an all expenses paid trip to The Festival of Media in 2012.