Nine, WIN, Prime Media each grab a $4m slice from a government relief package

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 16 September 2020

Nine Entertainment, WIN Corporation and Prime Media Group have all received more than $4 million each under the federal government’s relief package for regional journalism.

In June, the government announced that the $50 million Public Interest News Gathering (PING) grant will be split among more than  100 publishers and broadcasters operating in regional Australia.

The package was put together to provide relief to media owners hit by the pandemic, with many cutting staff and suspending newspapers and bulletins in the face of falling advertising revenue.

The largest slice of the grant so far has gone to Southern Cross Austereo, which revealed in June it would receive just over $10 million.

Meanwhile, Nine Entertainment received $4.03 million, according to public records. The media company, which reported a revenue fall of 13% to $952 million for the last financial year, has recently started to resume regional news programs which were suspended at the start of the pandemic.

In July, Nine resumed regional news bulletins put on pause mid-March, but reduced them to half an hour and cut about 12 roles. It also announced yesterday it was restarting the local Darwin 9News bulletin.

Prime Media Group was approved for funding from PING of $4.7 million in late June. The media company reported total revenue for the last financial year of $163.7 million, down 14.7% from the year prior.

The broadcaster, which cut staff in May, said it was unlikely to be eligible for JobKeeper extension from September 28, which requires companies with a turnover of $1 billion or less to demonstrate a decline of 30% across both the June quarter and the September quarter.

Other media companies approved for a grant include WIN Corporation which received $4.46 million, Grant Broadcasters with $3.32 million and West Australian Newspapers with $906,831.

Sources close to the matter say Australian Community Media is still finalising its grant with the government, while News Corp Australia says it hasn't applied for the grant.

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