NZME: how three businesses became one

NZME – the company at the heart of a proposed merger with Fairfax Media’s New Zealand assets – was born from an integration of three businesses that become a reality late last year. This video report by LACHLAN BENNETT examines the mindset behind it and how it works.

NZME Central, an Auckland-based facility opened in November 2015, stands as a shiny monument to APN News & Media’s 2014 vision to unite three separate businesses – its publishing business, The Radio Network and GrabOne – into a single entity: New Zealand Media and Entertainment.

NZME Central has its slick video and radio studios, integrated newsroom, collaborative-friendly design and lofty work and event spaces.

However, the creation of NZME and transformation of APN’s New Zealand businesses has only been 20 per cent about physical property; the remaining 80 per cent has been about changing people, processes and mindset.

In NZME Central, competitive brands such as New Zealand Herald, NewsTalkZB and Radio Sport have been brought together in a bid to foster collaboration, encourage staff to work cross-platform and break the traditional confines of working for a specific brand.

“People have really had the opportunity to expand their roles,” says NZME chief executive Michael Boggs.

“Previously they may have been a silo on a particular product or a particular channel, where as now they actually can look right across the whole business.”

Editors and section heads from across NZME's brand gather every morning at 'The Bridge' planning desk.

Editors and section heads from across NZME’s brand gather every morning at ‘The Bridge’ planning desk.

A model example of this in action is New Zealand Herald business editor-at-large Liam Dann who appears weekly on radio station NewsTalkZB, where he chats about the economy and co-promotes the video news show he now hosts, The Economy Hub.

This collaboration between brands and journalists working cross-platform, however, is not about homogenisation of content: stories are tailored with a specific audience in mind and not every story will work for every platform.

NZME executives also stress the importance of maintaining specialists in certain areas – especially as the business acclimatises to the possibilities of working across a complex web of print, digital, radio and video brands.

Group revenue director Laura Maxwell says dealing with the complex array of options available in NZME requires sales teams to forget about “the toys” and various channels, and begin the conversation by asking clients what they want to achieve and what audience they are trying to reach.

“So the type of conversations we’re having now are less commodised and less inventory-driven and more results focused and more content generation,” she said.

“The discussions have moved from, ‘what’s the price to reach this many people’ to ‘actually how can you help me deliver my solution in a new way’.”

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