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MediaWorks to sell TV Three

Struggling media company MediaWorks is putting its TV business Three on the sale block, after axing and scaling back shows.

The company which owns television, radio and advertising operations, had reported through its own news organisation Newshub that it would sell its largest asset.

Three included ThreeLife, the Bravo joint venture and all of Newshub's operations.

MediaWorks is owned by Canadian private equity firm Oaktree Capital.

MediaWorks chairman Jack Matthews said it would hold onto its profitable radio network and newly-acquired outdoor advertising company QMS.

"We are in the fortunate position of having two very strong growth platforms in radio and outdoor [advertising] that deliver both revenue and margin growth.

"Our focus now is to accelerate the opportunities that exist for those platforms."

MediaWorks merged with the billboard company QMS earlier this year.

The company would also sell its television headquarters near central Auckland, which it had owned for 30 years, to be leased back to the television business.

Yesterday, The Project presenter Jesse Mulligan said on the show that Three might have to shut down the entire station if the government didn't change its broadcasting policy.

Earlier this week MediaWorks said it was cutting key local TV comedies citing the company's deepening problems and wider troubles in free-to-air television.

MediaWorks confirmed 7 Days - the country's longest-running comedy show - will drop from 32 episodes a year to just 12 in 2020.

New Zealand Today - a new comedy series featuring Guy Williams - will not return to Three next year.

Commercial TV programmes come and go whether they've been fixtures in the schedule or not. Three's long-running weekly comedy Jono And Ben (also NZOA-supported) was canned last year because it was deemed to have run its course.

This article was originally published on RNZ and re-published with permission.

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