The popular racing publication ‘The Informant’, published by Racing Media NZ Ltd, ceased publication as of yesterday.

In a surprise announcement by Racing Media NZ Ltd yesterday (3rd April), it said …

Racing Media NZ Ltd, publisher of The Informant, has today informed its staff that it will cease publishing effective immediately.
Over the past 2 years The Informant has shown substantial growth as the independent voice of the New Zealand racing industry. Print subscribers are up 100%, online subscribers up 30% and retail sales up 50%. These numbers are underpinned by a new look and a renewed focus on quality independent journalism that appeals to the passionate nature of racing stakeholders and followers. We are proud that we have contributed to a recognition that things need to change for our racing industry to survive as evidenced by the Messara report. Unfortunately, like for many others in the industry, that change isn’t coming fast enough.

The headwinds facing the publishing industry are well known and for us the growth in readership has not overcome the declines in our advertising revenue. This decline isn’t simply a mirror of the challenge occurring in other print mastheads but a direct reflection of the state of the New Zealand racing industry. There are less new farms, studs and stallions as evidenced by the challenge seen at our major sales and foal crop, while more and more young trainers are leaving New Zealand for Australia rather than starting to syndicate horses at home. The industry is generally seen as not being progressive and many brands are dramatically reducing their association with it. Plus racing is failing to promote itself heavily to the wider public. 8 years ago the TAB were a major advertiser with us. Now they spend next to nothing, yet our readers represent their most dedicated punters.
The Informant, like so many stakeholders who try to make a living in the industry but face a harder task each day, has continued to try to hang in there because of our absolute love of the sport. But we cannot any longer.

We hope all stakeholders will continue to stand up and demand that those in power deliver on their promises for positive change, even though we can no longer lend our voice to this.
Matthew Francis

The Informant had become one of New Zealand's leading printed racing publications, covering all three codes of Thoroughbred, Harness and Greyhound racing. It was also available online by subscription and had proved popular with its subscribers in both formats, as well as having retail sales available throughout the country. The publisher, Matthew Francis, blamed a decline of advertising revenue for their decision to stop publishing.

The NZ Racing Board and the New Zealand TAB have also been targeted as culprits by those involved, with the suggestion each contributed to the demise of the publication through their lack of support for it.

Many people have worked very hard to produce the publication every week, giving full race coverage and feature articles, for both punters and industry participants, so it will be sadly missed by many and certainly a big loss to the entire Racing Industry.

Rob Carr