MediaWorks management faced heated questions from "stressed" staff at their Flower Street headquarters today following news the media company would be putting TV channel Three up for sale, 1 NEWS understands.
The sale will include Three's headquarters on Flower Street, in Auckland's Eden Terrace, where several large groups of staff have been seen coming and going from the building.
An email to staff about the announcement seen by 1 NEWS says MediaWorks wants to operate "business as usual" as much as possible.
"We believe our TV business has a much greater opportunity for success… if it is owned by someone who has the resources or synergies to ultimately make it profitable,” it says.
The channel, a major arm of MediaWorks' TV business, includes Bravo and Newshub. MediaWorks will retain its radio network and outdoor advertising company QMS.
"The role Three plays in New Zealand society is significant, from Newshub through to investment in local comedy and drama," MediaWorks CEO Michael Anderson said in a statement.
"We believe MediaWorks TV is now in a place where it can be separated from the radio and outdoor business to be operated under a new owner in a more sustainable fashion - and, ultimately, for profit."
MediaWorks chairman Jack Matthews said the company is "in a commercial environment and have to face commercial realities".
"The market that free-to-air television operates in is tough and has been exacerbated this year," Mr Matthews said. "This is reflected in the performance of all free-to-air television operators in New Zealand, not just us. Clearly the market - alongside the structural hindrances we operate under - has a larger impact on Three given its genuine commercial imperative."
It comes after the media company announced long-running comedy show 7 Days would be shortened from 32 episodes per year to 12, while new comedy series New Zealand Today and Married at First Sight New Zealand would be scrapped from 2020.