Discovery has struck a deal to acquire the free-to-air TV business of MediaWorks, New Zealand’s largest independent commercial broadcaster.
The companies didn’t detail financial terms of the transaction, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
“The MediaWorks TV acquisition will be Discovery’s most significant free-to-air investment in the New Zealand market to date, and includes entertainment channels Three and Bravo, streaming service ThreeNow, and multi-platform news and current affairs service Newshub, as well as the further channels Three+1, Bravo+1, The Edge TV and The Breeze TV,” they said.
Discovery, led by CEO David Zaslav, has had a presence in New Zealand since 1994 when it first launched its Discovery Channel on Sky. It currently operates six pay TV channels, including Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Food Network, Living and Discovery Turbo, as well as two free-to-air channels in the form of HGTV and Choice TV. Following the MediaWorks TV acquisition, its portfolio in the country will include six pay TV channels and eight free-to-air channels, plus Newshub and streaming service ThreeNow.
Discovery will continue an existing partnership with NBCUniversal for the Bravo channel joint venture in the country.
Discovery’s Australia and New Zealand operations will be overseen by Simon Robinson, president APAC. Glen Kyne has been appointed general manager of TV and will continue in that role following completion of the deal, reporting to Robinson. And Rebecca Kent, general manager of Discovery Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands, will continue to oversee the New Zealand pay TV portfolio and free-to-air channels Choice and HGTV, along with the Australia operations.
“This is an exciting moment for Discovery,” Robinson said. “MediaWorks TV is New Zealand’s leading independent free-to-air commercial broadcaster, with popular shows and great brands. Discovery is a global content creator, a major free-to-air broadcaster across several European markets, including the U.K., Germany, Italy, Poland and the Nordics, and has expertise in evolving our linear business to direct-to-consumer. With a 26-year heritage in the New Zealand market, we are committed to drive MediaWorks TV’s future growth and success, delivering increased value to audiences and advertisers across all screens in New Zealand.”
Said Jack Matthews, MediaWorks’ chairman: “The sale will enable MediaWorks to have a greater strategic focus on the long-term future growth of its highly successful and market leading radio and out-of-home business, offering effective advertising solutions to our customers and great news and entertainment to our audiences.”