Rob Tucker and a few of his old mates thought they would flog off a few pictures to raise a few dollars for a good cause.
To be honest, it was more than a few pictures and last Saturday it raised more than a few dollars. The Photojournalism Auction in New Plymouth featured 122 of New Zealand’s most iconic press photographs and it raised almost $200,000. The beneficiary is Hospice Taranaki, which has provided Rob Tucker with comfort and care as he deals with terminal cancer.
The auction was Rob’s way of saying thank you to the hospice, and fellow photojournalists like Ross Land rallied to help as a thank you to Rob for a lifetime contribution to photojournalism and to mateship.
I have known Rob and his journalist brother Jim throughout much of my working life so I’m not going to say much more about the auction than what I said to my two friends on Sunday. Jim and I agreed it was a “bloody fantastic effort” and when Rob and I were talking about the brotherhood (and sisterhood) of journalism, I told him I was “proud to call him brother.”
I am worried that New Zealand’s media ecosystem is about to be adversely affected by Government initiatives that should be closely coordinated but which are each taking their own course.
There may be a grand strategy but, if that is so, the New Zealand public have not seen it.
Instead, we are slowly becoming aware of strands of policy that have different focal points, different timeframes, and different potential impacts. There are cross-currents that mean each of these policies will have consequences for media outside the primary focus.
The situation is made worse by the fact that much of the policy work has dealt with high level concepts that leave the detail until later.
It is time for Stuff to bite the bullet and introduce a proper paywall for some of its online content.
It is now the odd one out among the New Zealand newspaper companies that have seen their paid circulation and advertising revenue decimated by the Internet.
NZME’s premium service for the New Zealand Herald is three years old and Allied Press, publisher of the Otago Daily Times, has announced it will charge for premium content by the end of the month.
The Herald’s paywall has been a success story. NZME now has 100,000 digital only subscribers paying between $149 and $199 a year. While its earnings are still no match for the revenue derived from print subscriptions, they are going up while newspaper sales go down.
NZME’s first half results this year showed digital subscription revenue of almost $8 million, an increase of 54 per cent on the same period last year. The numbers were enhanced, of course, by the acquisition of BusinessDesk last November, which added 8000 subscribers. Nonetheless, both volume and revenue has been rising steadily since 2019.