Nine signs affiliate agreement with Southern Cross

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 29 April 2016

Nine Entertainment Co and Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) have signed a five-year regional television affiliation agreement that will allow SCA to broadcast Nine's content into regional Queensland, Southern NSW and Victoria from 1 July.

The deal brings to an end Nine's long-term affiliation with WIN, which yesterday ended on a sour note when the regional broadcaster failed in a legal battle to prevent Nine from streaming content on its 9Now AVOD player.

Under the agreement, SCA will pay Nine an affiliation fee of 50% of its television revenue.

SCA will also provide sales services for Nine’s NBN channel in Northern NSW and NTD9 in Darwin, providing regional advertisers with a central point of contact on Nine’s content across the Eastern seaboard. 

Rumours of a tie-up have gathered momentum in recent months after Nine acquired a 9.99% stake in Southern Cross and Nine's boss Hugh Marks was reported to have sounded out investors over a potential merger. However, no acquisition can take place until media ownership laws, in particular the 75% reach rule, are reformed.

The progress of Mitch Fifield's media reform package, which is currently being debated in the Senate, will now be delayed until later in the year, well after the Federal Election in July. 

"This is a great outcome for Nine and SCA. We are confident that, together, we will offer a premium viewing experience for audiences and a best in class platform for advertisers," Nine CEO Hugh Marks said in a statement.

SCA CEE Grant Blackley described the deal as a "landmark long-term agreement" with a media company that has "successfully informed and entertained Australian audiences for many decades".

Nine's new commercial boss Michael Stephenson will join a panel to discuss the collision of digital video and TV at the Media Summit on 19 May. Tickets are still available here.

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