3 May 2012

APN undertakes strategic review of its NZ assets

6:52 am on 3 May 2012

APN is planning big changes within its New Zealand publishing business, including possibly making the New Zealand Herald much more compact.

The listed company, which also owns the New Zealand Women's Weekly and The Listener, and has a stake in The Radio Network lost $45 million in 2011, largely due to writing down the value of its New Zealand mastheads.

APN chief executive Brett Chenoweth told shareholders at the firm's annual meeting in Sydney on Wednesday the company's results are strongly affected by the New Zealand economy, which remains subdued.

He said after a very slow start to the year in the New Zealand market there has been some recent improvement, but in Australia the advertisers are still very cautious.

Mr Chenoweth also announced Deutsche Bank is conducting a strategic review of all the company's New Zealand assets, after receiving approaches from potential buyers.

He said a major programme to rejuvenate its New Zealand publishing business is also under way to help better position it in the very tough and changing media market.

The content and design of the New Zealand Herald will be reviewed. "Central to this is an assessment ... on converting the New Zealand Herald to a compact format for the Monday to Friday editions," Mr Chenoweth said.

"We're also focusing on much tighter alignment between the web, tablet, mobile and print products, we've got module advertising formats that we're looking at and a much more integrated advertising solution across all of our New Zealand assets."

Mr Chenoweth says the company is moving all its North Island regional daily newspapers to morning delivery and tabloid format to enable more efficient sharing of content from its newly created APNZ news service.