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Specialist Guide to the

Global Leaders in Media Law Practice

      M E D I A   L A W   

      I N T E R N A T I O N A L   ®


      The media landscape across New Zealand remains focused on the continued dominance of streaming platforms, and the reactions of incumbent linear television operators in the scramble to keep pace.

The Labour Government began preparing for the merging of TVNZ - New Zealand’s largest free-to-air television operator - and Radio New Zealand into a single broadcasting entity. However, the merger was abandoned in mid-2023 due to a reprioritisation of matters.

The year 2023 has also seen the return of live sport to free-to-air television in New Zealand, through TVNZ, as it seeks to grow its online streaming platform TVNZ+.

Through the introduction of the Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill on 17 August 2023, the news media environment in New Zealand looked to be subject to an impending shift in the regulation of the way news content was used and linked on digital platforms. The Bill largely followed the Australian approach under the Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Act 2021.

It would have provided registered news media entities in New Zealand a statutory framework in which to negotiate with digital platforms. However, the Bill looks likely to be abandoned by the incoming National-led Government following the results of the 2023 general election.

Following the commencement of the Online Safety Act in Australia in January 2022, new codes have been developed to regulate illegal and restricted online activity.

Six codes have been registered by the eSafety Commissioner, in relation to Social Media Services, App Distribution Services, Hosting Services, Internet Carriage Services, Equipment and Internet Search Engine Services. Proposed Codes on Relevant Electronic Services and Designated Internet Services were not accepted by the eSafety Commissioner, who is currently in the process of drafting new industry standards for these matters.


Buddle Findlays 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 and films


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. The firm specialises in defamation law, commercial litigation and dispute resolution.

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.


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.



Buddle Findlay

Chapman Tripp

Hudson Gavin Martin

Webb Henderson


Bell Gully

Dominion Law

Minter Ellison Rudd Watts

Simpson Grierson



AJ Park

Dentons Kensington Swan

Russell McVeagh

Wilson Harle


Anthony Harper

Izard Weston

James & Wells



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