Jobs to go at TV3-owner Discovery NZ as restructure cuts through transtasman business

Dozens of jobs are on the line as channel Three’s new owner Discovery restructures its business across Australia and New Zealand.

The Herald understands plans for the restructure have been in the works for a few weeks, but affected staff were notified of the proposed job cuts last week.

Sources told the Herald significant cuts in the promo, sales and marketing departments at the firm have been proposed.

Discovery runs channels Three and Bravo, streaming service ThreeNow, and multi-platform news and current affairs service Newshub, as well as other channels Three+1, Bravo+1, The Edge TV and The Breeze TV in the local market. The Nasdaq-listed company bought the assets from struggling MediaWorks in July last year.

Discovery also runs the free-to-air channels HGTV and Choice under the Discovery Media Sales arm.

A spokesperson from Discovery confirmed changes are underway.

“We are working to determine the structure, skills and capabilities needed to achieve our goals, as we integrate the Three and Top TV businesses into Discovery and create one organisation across Australia and New Zealand,” the spokesperson said.

“Our people are our priority as we undergo this period of change.”

Discovery would not be drawn on any further details regarding the scope of the changes or the exact number of roles involved.

Founded in 1985, Discovery is a multi-billion-dollar mass media company employing over 9000 people around the world. In addition to the Discovery Channel, it also owns and operates Animal Planet, the Food Network and a range of other media properties.

The television arm had long struggled under the ownership of MediaWorks, which retained its radio and outdoor properties when Discovery acquired the TV assets.

As part of that acquisition announcement, the company confirmed the New Zealand and Australian arms would be combined into one organisation spanning both countries.

The announcement said the combined business would be jointly led by general managers Glen Kyne and Rebecca Kent.

Discovery has until now cut no jobs in the local market, despite the impact of Covid-19.

However, the combination of the Australian and New Zealand arms suggested the possibility of duplicate roles being removed.

The Herald understands the current restructure will see staff across New Zealand and Australia compete for newly created roles within a reshaped business.

New Zealand isn’t the only market where Discovery is making cuts.

A report in March suggested a British restructure in a bid to increase emphasis on streaming put around 10 per cent of roles in the region at risk.

Discovery-owned Eurosport also confirmed at the end of last year that it was set to make 59 redundancies at its Paris headquarters due to the effect of Covid-19 on the media sector.

Discovery shares recently traded at US$38,85, up significantly from around US$22 last year.

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