Channel Nine has signed a deal to return to its former long-time home the WIN Network, in a move which would mean the end of an Illawarra Nine news team, with staff jobs uncertain.
Nine's outgoing CEO Hugh Marks has told staff the network had agreed to terms for a seven-year deal with the Bruce Gordon-owned WIN, ending an affiliate arrangement with Southern Cross Austereo for carrying content into regional areas which lasted the past five years.
But because WIN already has its own news operation, Nine News Illawarra will be pushed out along with other regional Nine newsrooms.
WIN CEO Andrew Lancaster said he was glad WIN would once again be carrying Nine.
"We are pleased to be furthering our already strong relationship with Nine, through this affiliation agreement," he said.
"Nine has clearly established itself as Australia's leading media business and we are excited to be returning to carriage of the Nine broadcast content to our regional viewers."
It will mean after the July 1 change, viewers will need to switch on to WIN to watch Nine's biggest rating shows such as The Block, Lego Masters and NRL coverage.
In an email to staff quoted by industry news site Mumbrella, Mr Marks acknowledged the impact on news jobs but said there would be efforts to look at redeployments.
"One of the impacts of the change in affiliate partner will be an impact to our regional news services which we currently provide on behalf of SCA," Mr Marks said.
"We are aware that there will be some roles impacted as a result of this change but those impacted can be assured that director of news and current affairs Darren Wick and his team are actively looking at options for redeployment for as many employees as possible.
"Under the changes WIN will do its local news bulletin in regional areas at 5.30pm before taking the 6pm state bulletin in each state. WIN will also take over sales representation for NBN from SCA."
Mr Marks told the stock exchange the deal would increase Nine's reach.
"While our relationship with Southern Cross has been strong over the last five years, the opportunities presented by the WIN Network to both extend the reach of Nine's premium content into more regional markets under one agreements, and to work co-operatively with them on a national and local news operation, mean this is the right time for us to return to WIN," he said.
A statement from Nine described the seven year deal thus: "Under this new agreement, which will commence on 1 July 2021, WIN will pay an affiliation fee of around 50 per cent of its regional advertising revenue to Nine and provide airtime to Nine to allow promotion of Nine's assets across WIN's television and radio network."
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