TODAY |

Stuff explores staff-support model after CEO buys company, returning it to NZ ownership

Stuff's new owner, its CEO Sinead Boucher, says direct reader support will be a "strong part of any news media's future".

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Sinead Boucher bought the company for $1. Source: Q+A

Yesterday, Ms Boucher paid $1 for the company from Nine Entertainment. 

"The opportunity came up to buy Stuff from our Australian owners and to bring it into local New Zealand ownership," she told TVNZ1's Q+A with Jack Tame.

"Now [that] I've acquired the company, the next stage is work out an ownership model to give our staff a direct stake in the company [and] leave open the potential to bring in other investors or partners in the future."

Ms Boucher said Stuff had been "working really hard to come through the Covid-19 crisis", with advertising revenue beginning to pick up after it plummeted during lockdown.

On what the staff support model would look like, Ms Boucher said that was a detail yet to be worked out.

"I will be speaking to people who have implemented these models in their own companies. Staff can have a direct stake in our future, but I don't know how that will work or how it will look like."

On if she could rule out future redundancies, Ms Boucher said they could "never rule out those changes in the future".

"All we can do is best develop a business that is strong and sustainable," she said.

When asked if that entailed a paywall, Ms Boucher pointed to the company's reader supporter programme, which sees readers make voluntary payments to Stuff.

She said it kept Stuff's journalism "free and open to everyone else who may not be able to afford it".

However, Ms Boucher said that "inevitably direct reader support has got to be a strong part of any news media's future".