A commitment to support the sustainability of New Zealand newsrooms

Andrew Hunter, News Partnerships Lead for Meta Australia & New Zealand – November 3, 2021

Meta is committed to supporting quality journalism. While news is a small part of the experience of most Kiwis on our platforms, including Facebook, we recognise that we can play a role in helping New Zealand’s news industry thrive in a changing digital world. 

The New Zealand Government’s Public Interest Journalism Fund aims to preserve and enhance public interest journalism. We share the government’s commitment and believe by helping publishers reach people through free distribution, and investing in free tools and programs specifically designed to help build audiences and revenue, we can support sustainable business models for the long term.

Today we’re furthering our investments in the local news ecosystem to drive greater and more diverse plurality in the sector, while encouraging a digital transition that is key to sustainability.

Our four-part investment is designed specifically for Aotearoa New Zealand and tailored to support the local industry, especially regional, digital and culturally-diverse publications. Our investments include:

  1. Supporting local publishers develop sustainable business models through our Accelerator and Grant Fund;
  2. Establishing a Meta Aotearoa News Innovation Advisory Group;
  3. Investing in video and content innovation with Kiwi publishers;
  4. Dedicated training for Kiwi publishers on growing and engaging digital audiences.

Building the digital capacity of local publishers

We are launching our first Audience Development Accelerator Program + Grant Funding Program in New Zealand. The Accelerator will bring 12 publishers from regional, digital and culturally-diverse publications together to innovate, learn from experts, and collaborate on new strategies to improve their business both on and off Facebook. 

Funded and organised by the Facebook Journalism Project, and tailored to New Zealand’s media industry, the Accelerator will be led by Blue Engine Collaborative — a consortium of mission-driven consultants and advisors focused on driving digital audience growth and revenue, founded by Tim Griggs, a former New York Times executive.

The program is built on three key areas of collaboration and investment — expert workshops, dedicated coaching, and associated grant funding for participating publishers to adopt new initiatives using the lessons gained from the Accelerator. Grants will be provided through the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ).

“Newsroom leaders across the world are finding ways to better serve their audiences and boost revenue, and we are committed to supporting those efforts,” said Johanna Carrillo, ICFJ’s vice president of programs. “We’re excited to now support New Zealand publishers as they work to build more sustainable news outlets in the public interest.”

This follows previous accelerator programs Meta has funded for New Zealand publishers including the our Reader Revenue Program that helped publishers increase revenue through audience and subscription programs. Overall, these publishers generated $7 million in lifetime value, 24,000 new subscribers and 160,000 new loyal readers. 

Launching Meta Aotearoa News Innovation Advisory Group

In partnership with ICFJ, we’re establishing the Meta Aotearoa News Innovation Advisory Group — a group of five experts across New Zealand’s media industry, including Te Karere presenter, Scotty Morrison; AUT University communications academic, Khairiah Rhaman; former editorial director – NZ Newspaper Publishers’ Assoc. and media expert, Rick Neville; media consultant and former MediaWorks News Director, Hal Crawford; and award-winning journalist and business owner, Brodie Kane.

We will work with the Meta Aotearoa News Innovation Advisory Group to provide guidance on the Accelerator and grant program.

Investing in video and content innovation with Kiwi publishers

Publishers control what they choose to share on Facebook, and in turn, we provide tools they can use – many free of charge – to distribute their content, grow their audience and make money. 

In 2020 alone, Facebook sent around 180 billion clicks to news publishers around the world — worth approximately $9 billion USD ($12.5 billion NZD) to publishers. We’ve also created a number of ad formats such as in-stream and pre-roll ads in video, that help publishers make money from audiences on Facebook. 

Kiwi publishers are also beginning to experiment with new approaches to fund the important work they do for their communities. To support this work, we’re exploring additional investments in innovation, video and technology to promote newsroom sustainability in New Zealand.

Launching Facebook News Day to engage with Kiwi publishers on sustainable business models

We’re hosting our first virtual Facebook News Day in New Zealand on Friday, 26 November 2021 to provide scaled and dedicated coaching to newsrooms across New Zealand. 

Facebook News Day is designed to equip publishers with tools and insights to build, engage and understand their audiences, drive additional revenue and optimise for long-term digital business transformation and innovation.

All newsrooms across New Zealand are invited to attend Facebook News Day by registering at https://aotearoanz.fb.com/newsday/. Registrations close on Monday 22 November 2021.

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