The new public media entity that will be created by the merger of TVNZ and RNZ will receive much more government funding that RNZ previously received.
Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi said the Government had earmarked $327 million to support the new public media entity during its first three years of its operation, between 2023 and 2026.
But Budget documents said the new funding would be “partially offset” by an expectation that the new entity would return $306m in surplus revenues over its first six years of operation.
RNZ currently receives funding of just over $35m a year from the Government to support its operations, while TVNZ has operated on a commercial model and been self-funding.
The increased operational funding and the clawback may suggest the Government’s goal is to shield the new entity from any drop in TV advertising, a source said.
Faafoi said the “substantially increased” funding for the new public media entity, which has yet to be named, would ensure New Zealanders could “continue to access quality local content and trusted news”.
His Budget statement provided little information on what extra services viewers and listeners could expect as a result of the funding boost.
“The new entity will be multi-platform and designed to reach new and existing audiences,” he said.
“Built on the best of TVNZ and RNZ, it will better meet the challenges of technology changes and global competition.”
Faafoi reiterated that the new entity would be “not for profit” but would continue to generate commercial revenues, which have come in the past primarily from TV advertising, to supplement its taxpayer funding.
Legislation paving the way for the new public media entity is expected to be considered by a select committee later this year.