The Nine Network and WIN Television have reached a short-term agreement to extend the regional network’s access to Nine’s programming.
WIN’s prior contract to the Nine Network expired on New Year’s Eve and both parties had been negotiating for months over the terms of a renewed affiliation. This included setting the share of advertising revenue that WIN is to pay to Nine for access to its programming.
It’s a case of history repeating — as both networks had a similarly difficult re-negotiation period back in 2007.
It was uncertain what would have happened to WIN’s programming after New Year’s Eve if an agreement could not be reached. WIN’s Nine Network affiliates offer a relay of Nine’s main channel and its secondary channels 9Gem and 9Go to regional markets in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia as well as the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania.
Nine had already established a fallback plan to have its cricket coverage broadcast in regional areas via SBS if the plug to WIN was to be pulled.
Although the two networks failed to reach a mutually agreeable fee for WIN to broadcast Nine’s programming into regional areas, they came to a last minute agreement to extend the previous contract to the end of June 2016.
In a statement issued by Nine on New Year’s Eve, the agreement does allow for Nine to receive some additional payment from WIN, while both Nine and WIN “will continue to work together on a range of opportunities relating to their content and to the mutual growth of their respective businesses”.
Nine has also been reported to have been in discussion during the year with Southern Cross Austereo — whose TV assets include WIN rivals Southern Cross Television and Southern Cross Ten in regional areas — over potential merger opportunities should the government lift the current ownership laws that restrict widespread merging of metropolitan and regional operators.
WIN owner Bruce Gordon is also a shareholder in both the Nine and Ten networks.