Earlier this year, Nine News suspended production of its regional news bulletins due to the coronavirus pandemic. The regional bulletins, broadcast through Southern Cross Austereo‘s Nine Network affiliated stations in Southern NSW/ACT, Regional Queensland and Regional Victoria, were replaced by a relay of the 6.00pm Nine News from their capital city.
Nine, which produces the bulletins on behalf of Southern Cross Austereo (SCA), has announced that the bulletins are now set to return from 10 August, but in a reduced format.
Instead of each region receiving a one-hour bulletin of national news with local news inserts, Nine News Regional will return to cover only local news from 5.30pm, leading in to the relay of the 6.00pm capital city Nine News, as is now happening.
In an email circulated to affected staff, Nine’s managing director for Queensland and northern NSW, Kylie Blucher cited that ratings were not largely affected by Nine News replacing its regional bulletins with each state’s capital city bulletin, but is committed to maintaining SCA’s licence obligations in providing a local news service.
Around a dozen staff are reported to be let go, with Nine stating that the number would have been higher had it not been for the Federal Government’s $50 million assistance package to regional media.
Nine launched the regional bulletins in 2017 after it formed an affiliation with SCA. At the time it hired around 80 staff to resource the news gathering and production for bulletins covering 15 SCA regions across Queensland, Southern NSW/ACT and Victoria.
The shift of Nine News‘ regional news to 5.30pm may deliver a small benefit to the Ten-affiliated WIN News, which continues to present a half-hour regional news at 6.00pm across many of its eastern states regions.