Michael Boggs is the chief executive of NZME, publisher of the Herald.
How would you describe 2021 for your business?
It’s certainly been an incredibly busy year.I’m incredibly proud of how the team continued to deliver for our communities, ensuring they were kept up to date with trusted news and information – and entertained every day. The 90 per cent Project to get Kiwis vaccinated is a campaign I am particularly proud of, led by our newsroom and the wider NZME team. Covid-19 has definitely solidified the value of quality media and the critical role it plays not only nationally, but in our local communities in times of uncertainty.
How is your business planning to tackle 2022?
We will continue the momentum and growth we worked hard for in 2021. The last two years have seen NZME transforming to a digitally focused business, supported by strong brands, platforms and of course our committed team of 1200. We have exciting plans to be able to continue that transformation through a focus on quality and improved customer experiences across each of our platforms.
What will be the major challenges and/or opportunities for your industry?
The media industry will continue to be a force against misinformation, which is both a challenge and an opportunity in an era where anyone can be an expert on the internet. We take our role as being a trusted, credible source of information incredibly seriously and our reputation and network of subject matter experts means we will always make sure New Zealanders have the facts.
How do you think the Government has handled the Covid-19 crisis?
Taking a health-focused response was the right one, in my opinion. Such a huge, unprecedented decision that affects so many people can’t be wholly “good” or “bad” – there will always be people that are negatively impacted more than they are positively when there are millions of people affected. There definitely have been decisions and delivery that could have been handled better, but overall New Zealand is in a far better position than many countries as a result of our Covid-19 response.
What are two key things the Government should do for economic recovery?
A clear recovery plan for businesses (of all sizes) and a roadmap for international borders opening would give some reassurance and comfort to the industries who have been the most impacted by the lockdowns, like tourism and hospitality. Providing as much certainty as possible is what is needed in our business and personal lives.
What was the most interesting non-Covid story of 2021?
The incredible efforts of New Zealand at the Olympics and the Paralympics. The focus and training paid off for so many – an inspiration for us all.
What are your predictions for 2022?
Covid-19 will continue to make its presence known but the immense effort New Zealand has put into getting its vaccination rates up will mean we start to return to some of the freedoms we were used to before we heard the words “Delta” or “Omicron”.At NZME, we will remain focused on our purpose of keeping Kiwis in the know; such an important role in this day and age.
What’s the worst mistake you’ve made in business?
Not going with my gut instinct when I feel something isn’t quite right. It always comes back to bite.
What would you rate as your greatest success in business?
Being able to create environments for other people to do their best work will always rate highly for me. We’ve seen the team rise to the challenge over the last two difficult years and they have produced amazing content that has delivered record audiences across our media platforms and impressive growth across our new offerings of NZ Herald Premium, iHeartRadio and OneRoof.This has resulted in improved financial performance and shareholder returns.
Where are you holidaying this summer?
In Aotearoa, naturally!But specifically I’ll be looking forward to some quality time with my family and friends on the Coromandel.
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