TODAY |

Government should 'step up' to support struggling media companies - expert

As media companies struggle through the Covid-19 lockdown, the Government should be looking to "step up" and help, media expert Mel Bunce says. 

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Media expert Dr Mel Bunce told Q+A the Government needs to step up its support of commercial media. She says the public can do its bit by subscribing and supporting NZ based media companies. Source: Q+A

Bauer Media Group announced last week it was closing its New Zealand business, Mediaworks employees were asked to take a 15 per cent wage cut and NZME took Radio Sport off air. 

Ms Bunce told TVNZ1's Q+A with Jack Tame the coronavirus impact left an "absolute paradox" for media companies, as record high numbers of people have been consuming news, "but at the same time an acute crisis because advertising money has dropped off". 

She said most news organisations were facing an "intense crisis", while not yet knowing the scale of damage, but said an impending recession could also hit media companies. 

"The Government should be looking to step up its support of commercial media."

Ms Bunce said this could be done by increasing support to NZ on Air, expanding the local democracy reporting scheme - which places reporters in regional newspapers - and by considering bridging loans. 

"There are many elegant ways Government could step into this space without threatening the independence of the organisations."