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Specialist Guide to the

Global Leaders in Media Law Practice

“It’s fair to say that the global pandemic has forced all businesses to rethink,

re-evaluate and review their standard business and commercial models, the environment where they operate and the clients they serve. The media industry is no different,” explained Anchali Anandanayagam, Media Partner at Hudson Gavin Martin.


Lawyers say core focus areas over the past year include reviewing the terms of production arrangements, service and supply arrangements as well as other commercial transactions between media companies and their suppliers.


Ms Anandanayagam added: “Our media clients have maximised the downtime to reconsider their offering and pivoted to creatively use their resources. Collaboration has been a strong theme

for the industry underpinned by the engagement and support from collectives and alliances.”


Other developments include activity in the mergers and acquisitions market, with Sky NZ completing its purchase of Spark’s Lightbox streaming services in February last year.


Netflix and Lightbox are among the country’s dominant streaming services, achieving double-digit growth in viewership in the past year. Netflix is the most-watched service with over two million national viewers.

TIER 1

Media law specialist Bell Gully represents clients across print and broadcast sectors advising on defamation, intellectual property and mergers and acquisitions. The media and entertainment practice advises on film and television, representing international film production companies on a full range of legal issues arising from their New Zealand-based productions, including tax and fiscal incentives. Alan Ringwood is the firm’s leading lawyer specialising in defamation law, commercial litigation and dispute resolution.  


Buddle Findlay’s team works with private and public sectors clients on television and film production, radio and print media. Lawyers regularly advise on licensing, format, distribution, and output deals for programmes. Representative work includes assistance to Sky on programming deals for pay television including significant deals with ESPN, Fox Studios, Disney and MGM.


Chapman Tripp is visible across a range of cases, working with publishers and broadcasters on advertising and audio-visual matters. In highlighted work the TMT group assisted Spark with the establishment of its video-on-demand initiatives. Lawyers also represented ACP Media Limited in High Court defamation proceedings brought against its North & South publication. Other work involves assistance with co-production funding and production agreements.


Boutique firm Hudson Gavin Martin specialises in corporate and commercial aspects of media, intellectual property and technology. Simon Martin works with the team on cases of joint ventures, technology licensing and acquisitions. Lawyers have extensive experience in negotiating media contracts for franchising, sponsorship, licensing of content and the appearance of celebrities in videos, films and events.


TIER 2

Focussed on entertainment, Dominion Law acts for clients ranging from internationally successful artists in the music industry and film studios to first-time film producers. The team includes commercial lawyers who have particular expertise in the creative industries and handle contract negotiations and advise on all areas of rights exploitation.


Minter Ellison Rudd Watts focusses on film and entertainment. Lawyers advise on financing productions, content distribution and regulatory challenges. Working with domestic and international clients, the team assists with various stages of business from negotiation and implementation to operational issues and exits.


Simpson Grierson regularly advises on copyright licensing within the music and technology sectors. Lawyers have extensive experience assisting with lobbying and the implementation of digital copyright amendments. In highlighted work, the firm represented Seven Network on contract disputes relating to images in magazines imported into New Zealand. In other work the practice assisted Sony Music with enforcement and licensing of music repertoire.


TIER 3

Izard Weston’s media and entertainment practice is appointed by private and public sector media organisations and public figures. Lawyers represent clients in defamation disputes involving injunctions, suppression orders and breaches of privacy. On behalf of publishers and broadcasters, the team reviews newspaper and magazine articles, advertisements, manuscripts and television and film productions prior to publication or broadcast.


Top

TIER 1

Bell Gully

Buddle Findlay

Chapman Tripp

Hudson Gavin Martin


TIER 2

Dominion Law

Minter Ellison Rudd Watts

Simpson Grierson


TIER 3

AJ Park

Izard Weston

Russell McVeagh

Webb Henderson

Wilson Harle


TIER 4

Anthony Harper

Dentons Kensington Swan

James & Wells

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