Hilary, Mediaworks, and the inevitable snow job

When Hilary Barry’s resignation was made public late on Friday, the inevitable snow job on Mediaworks was fast and fierce.  The rumours ran rife, the most common of which was that Barry would be heading to TVNZ’s Breakfast program, a poaching that happened because apparently, TV3’s alternative was having an impact.

The amount of mourning that has happened by people who apparently either hate Mediaworks, or are supposed to be boycotting the network is hysterical.

Leading the charge on the Mediaworks attack has been its major competitor, The New Zealand Herald.  Considering they publish more fiction than John Grisham, I’m reluctant to believe anything they write.  But let’s assume for a moment that they are right and that Hilary Barry has been poached.

Who is the real star of The Paul Henry Show?

It certainly isn’t Hilary Barry.  Sure she might have contributed to the banter but how replaceable is she when she’s just the sidekick?

Does TVNZ really see value in someone who has spent the prime of her career producing unflattering ratings?  Does TVNZ not have their own talent pool to promote from?  Do they honestly believe that by removing a highly paid employee they’re going to impact their bottom line?  I’m pretty sure TVNZ are still laughing at Prime poaching Paul Holmes.

Besides, how many people will be happily waiting for their opportunity for a promotion at Mediaworks?  Especially for the 6pm news bulletin?  Hello Samantha Hayes…?

Will this hurt Mediaworks?

If the objective was to hurt TV3, the pain and disruption is really only going to be short-term, mild, and manageable.  Additionally, the replacement is going to be on a significantly lesser package which ultimately has handed Mediaworks some savings for their balance sheet.

Is Hilary Barry really the “Mother of the Nation”?

In the 23 years since Hilary Barry began working at TV3, Mediaworks have completely failed to convert those in their target demographic of 25-54 year olds to being long-term, loyal viewers.  Those who were in their thirties and forties when Barry started are now in the 55+ demo.  In more than two decades, Mediaworks haven’t come close to closing the gap with TVNZ in the 5+ demo which is made up of a not so insignificant percentage.

The ratings for TV3’s news offerings have been truly awful with Hilary Barry and Mike McRoberts at the helm.  With Barry abandoning ship, where to now for McRoberts?

On a side note, I am completely amazed at how long Mark Jennings managed to keep his job as Head of News at TV3.

Are Mediaworks that Stupid?

If TVNZ have poached Hilary Barry, can someone please explain to me why she was fronting the news bulletin again tonight and isn’t on gardening leave?  This would be fairly unprecedented wouldn’t it?  Your major competitor has supposedly just bought the loyalty of one of your employees and you want to allow them to maintain access to the building?

Apparently the staff are going to revolt now

The New Zealand Herald’s Duncan Grieve, who doesn’t seem to have any desire to salvage his reputation, appears to have learnt nothing from being threatened with legal action after falsely reporting that Julie Christie had resigned from Mediaworks while bringing his former sponsor, Media Agency MBM, into disrepute in the process. This time around, Lightbox are sponsoring NZME’s their coverage attack of Mediaworks.

The click bait merchants would have us believe that we’re about to see “mass resignations across TV and Radio, not just news” now that the Mediaworks board has announced their full support of CEO Mark Weldon.

If it’s true, Weldon must be hoping that they follow through with their veiled threats so he can be rid of them once and for all and get on with rebuilding the Mediaworks brand.

Why are we even talking about this?

With respect, Hilary Barry is little more than a glorified reader of the teleprompter.  Newspapers, radio stations, and websites have dedicated huge amounts of resources to cover a story that really just isn’t news.  Mainly, it’s just another excuse to give Mediaworks a bit of a self-interested kick in the groin.