Nine is set to bring back its regional news bulletins in half-hour formats after suspending the bulletins amid COVID-19.
Earlier this year in the wake of the pandemic, Nine replaced its regional news bulletins with metro bulletins during the initial months of the crisis.
B&T understands there will be redundancies as a result of the changes – around a dozen positions – however larger cuts have been able to be avoided thanks to the help of the government’s recent regional funding.
Managing director of Nine QLD & Nine Northern NSW Kylie Blucher flagged the changes to the current structure of Nine’s regional news broadcasts in regional Queensland, Southern New South Wales and regional Victoria in an email to staff.
She wrote: “For the past three years, Nine has produced a one-hour bulletin under the brand of Nine News for the Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) regional television markets across the aforementioned regions.
“In the wake of COVID-19, we then moved to statewide bulletins where we recorded no detrimental shifts in audience ratings during that time compared to last year.
“With that as a foundation, we have come to the decision to restructure our bulletins permanently for our regional audiences.
Blucher said she was “conscious of the impact of [the] restructure” and how it will impact individual people.
She added: “However, the unprecedented advertising and economic downturn has prompted a review of the functional effectiveness while ensuring our bulletins remain commercially sustainable.”
The new format will commence from Monday August 10 and will see a local bulletin air each day, Monday to Friday, at 5.30pm for half-an-hour and lead directly into the state-based metro bulletin at 6pm.
Blucher said the restructure will not only offer Nine’s regional media partner SCA local news content but also protect the well-rating metro news bulletin nightly at 6pm. She added Nine will continue to service its SCA license obligations for regional Australia.
Daily news updates will also be produced in support of the regional news supplementing the daily bulletins.
Blucher also flagged redundancies to the tune of around a dozen.
“Regrettably, this change will have an impact on some of our staff – and in total we expect a little over a dozen roles to be impacted – in these regional markets and we are in the process of pursuing alternate opportunities across the business, where possible, for those individuals impacted.”
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