TVNZ's chief executive Kevin Kenrick has informed staff of the company's strategy to "preserve cash" and their fresh eligibility for the Government's wage subsidy.

In a mass TVNZ staff email on Wednesday, Kenrick outlined the "three strategic priorities for the foreseeable future" as the state broadcaster faces economic "confronting realities".

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TVNZ CEO Kevin Kenrick has been frank with staff about his desire to
TVNZ CEO Kevin Kenrick has been frank with staff about his desire to "preserve cash" in the Covid-19 advertising slump. Photo / Supplied

They ran: "1. Deliver essential news, 2. Entertain New Zealand audiences, and 3. Preserve cash."

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Kevin Kenrick cited the downturn in advertising revenue which all New Zealand media outlets are struggling with amid the Covid-19 economic slump as the reason for a number of cash-preserving lengths.

Most notable was his revealing that on Tuesday the TVNZ board met and agreed to apply for the Government's 12-week wage subsidy.

"Unfortunately, we now qualify for this due to our rate of revenue decline. Fortunately, the subsidy has been extended to cover large businesses like TVNZ," Kenrick wrote.

The board also agreed to not review or increase staff and remuneration in 2020.

"Increasing labour costs would increase financial stress and make it even harder to maintain jobs," Kenrick wrote.

The CEO noted that "on the positive side we're making encouraging progress on reducing our spending - with costs down in areas like travel, building expenses, marketing and content - due to production cancellations, deferred system upgrades, and several stopped innovation project initiatives".

Kenrick said he would be working with each business area of TVNZ over the coming weeks to identify further cost saving opportunities.

A video Q&A session with all TVNZ staff was conducted in recent days on the cost-saving efforts.

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"We went into the Covid-19 crisis in a healthy financial position, but we're certainly feeling the impact with a significant reduction to our Q4 revenue as advertisers pull back spending."

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website