NZ Herald Focus was launched on Monday and consists of two daily bulletins of about 10 minutes that cover local, national and international news.
The program leverages the capabilities of NZME’s new integrated newsroom and talent from across the publisher’s brand for insight, opinion and analysis.
“Having access to some of the best reporters and journalists around the country is a vital part of our offering,” said executive producer Belinda Henley.
“It is news, but not as we know it.”
NZME would not disclose the program’s audience figures. However Ms Henley said she was pleased with the response to the program so far and that #nzheraldfocus was trending on social media on the day of its launch.
“It is so rewarding to know that the combination of great journalism and solid broadcast production is resonating with our audience,” she said.
The program is distributed for free on the New Zealand Herald website and has also been given great prominence on NZME’s radio brands NewstalkZB and Radio Sport.
NZ Herald Focus is also distributed on NZME’s new streaming service, WatchMe, representing a bold foray into the news vertical for a service that previously focused predominately on homegrown comedy programing.
NZME is expected to continue to ramp up its video offering as it settles into its new newsroom. NZME previously launched a business news program, The Economy Hub and secured broadcasting rights for sports events.
However there is some uncertainty about the future of the APN-owned publisher. APN is considering a number of options for NZME, potentially a divestment, and will update shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting in May.
NZ Herald Focus was initially expected to be broadcast three times a day, however that has since been knocked back to two times a day, removing the morning bulletin.
“We are focusing on getting the midday and afternoon shows perfect before we expand this offering,” said Ms Henley.
The midday show is co-presented by TV and radio journalist Laura McGoldrick and ex-Campbell Live reporter Tristram Clayton. The afternoon bulletin is fronted by sports broadcaster Tony Veitch and Newstalk ZB’s Niva Retimanu
Mr Clayton told the New Zealand Herald that having instant access to journalists from across NZME to talk about the stories they were breaking would bring “a new dimension to the way the stories are told”.
“It is a massive undertaking and a concept that has never been tried before in New Zealand,” he said.
“We won’t just be delivering a wrap of whatever regular news is going on that day like you can see elsewhere. We aim to be bright and pacey and will endeavour to break exclusive stories on a regular basis.”
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