Broadcaster calls time on its TV arm.
The news comes shortly after the company announced it was cutting TV comedy shows 7 Days and Guy Williams' New Zealand Today.
MediaWorks will keep its radio and outdoor advertising businesses but sell Three and the Flower Street property in Auckland where it operates from.
MediaWorks Chairman Jack Matthews said they were focussing on accelerating the growth of its radio stations and its merger with QMS which sells outdoor advertising.
“We are 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. 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.”
Jesse Mulligan from Three's The Project previously said TVNZ was answerable only to the Government, unlike MediaWorks, which is accountable to its owners Oaktree Capital, a US hedge fund.
Comedian Tim Batt wrote on Metromag.co.nz that the problem wasn't TVNZ but MediaWorks itself: Viewers have "been short-changed by the incompetence of the top brass at one of our biggest media companies"
Na. This is a 'Live by the sword' moment.— Tim Batt (@Tim_Batt) October 16, 2019
Mediaworks has engaged in a race-to-the-bottom with cheap reality programming for over a decade (to the detriment of NZ telly) & terrible financial management.
Now @JesseMulligan (also an RNZ employee) is sad we have a state broadcaster? pic.twitter.com/YXfA29qlxj
Despite record ratings on Three, MediaWorks CEO Michael Anderson said 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."