WIN TV axes Local News and Cuts Jobs in Orange, Wagga, Albury and Hervey Bay
Regional TV staff across NSW and southern Qld have been left frustrated and disappointed after learning they will soon lose their jobs, with confirmation WIN TV will soon shutdown four newsrooms.
The decision will see newsrooms close from Friday June 28th, in the NSW markets of Orange/Dubbo (Central West), Wagga (Riverina) and Albury.
WIN will also close the Hervey Bay (Wide Bay) newsroom in Queensland.
TV Blackbox understands approximately 40 staff will be affected by the decision, while viewers in the four regional markets will now receive 90 second “rip and read” news updates inserted into nightly programming.
Confirming the axing, a spokesperson for WIN TV told TV Blackbox;
“The decision to cease production of the Bulletins was based on the commercial viability of funding news in these areas. Changing content consumption habits and increased competition from digital content providers, that don’t face the same regulatory conditions that challenge traditional media, has led to a reduction in demand for local news bulletins in these regions.
In our other markets nothing has changed. WIN remains committed to local news and content but in a regional media environment that has its challenges and faces increasing program supply and infrastructure costs, WIN needs to continue to review its operating model to ensure the ongoing success of the business.
WIN’s priority in the short term will be working with the staff impacted to attempt to redeploy them into other roles in the Network.”
Prior to this decision, WIN had been producing 17 regional bulletins airing across Southern NSW, ACT, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania.
WIN has been under intense pressure since a decision to switch affiliate agreements from NINE to TEN content in 2016.
The partnership with TEN was a ratings disaster for WIN News, now forced to compete against high rating 6pm bulletins from SEVEN/PRIME and NINE. The WIN bulletins suffering audiences losses of up to 50% compared with during the previous NINE affiliate agreement.
WIN has looked to offset the cost of its regional news production by consolidating all studio production to Wollongong and signing a content sharing agreement with SKY News. However, the regional broadcaster is continuing to struggle due to a steep decline in adverting spending as regional viewers switch to watching content online.
A recent $60.4 million package from the Federal Government to support regional journalism and small publishers has provided some relief, but the overall market is still in decline.
Earlier this year, TV Blackbox revealed a NINE/SCA decision to shut down regional newsrooms in the Mackay and Toowoomba.