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SA regions could lose Nine broadcasts

Media and marketing

In this week’s column, fears that a big chunk of regional South Australia is about to lose its Nine television broadcasts, including the cricket, a move to digital fails for a local magazine, and much more.

SA regions to lose Nine channels?

Regional viewers from the Riverland to the South-East might be about to lose their broadcasts of Nine Network channels.

The problem has its genesis earlier this year when Nine dumped WIN as its regional distributor to sign up with Southern Cross Austereo, effective from July 1 this year.

In South Australia WIN and SCA both have monopolies in their regional markets: WIN distributes all Ten, Nine and Seven programs in the Riverland and the South-East, and SCA does the same in its patch in the north and west of the state.

Interstate reports – and local media insiders – say that no special deal has been struck in South Australia between WIN and Nine to make sure regional broadcasts continue here. InDaily understands negotiations are ongoing between Nine and WIN.

If they can’t reach agreement soon, however, Nine will disappear from screens in large parts of regional South Australia, which won’t please any fans of Nine’s coverage, particular its big sports – the cricket and the NRL. It won’t be a great result for Nine, either.

Online is an option for some regional viewers. WIN’s owner, Bruce Gordon, recently lost his battle to prevent Nine streaming live into his regional zones via its online portal. In other words, Gordon is exceedingly cranky with Nine, which might explain the question mark over regional broadcasts.

Riverland MP Tim Whetstone told InDaily that losing the Nine channels would be a blow for the area. And he pointed out that internet coverage is patchy across his electorate.

Nine wouldn’t comment. WIN didn’t answer questions about the future of Nine stations in SA, instead sending through a media release about its arrangement with Network Ten.

WIN doesn’t have a great recent record in South Australia, cutting local news bulletins in the South-East and the Riverland in 2013, and replacing them with a brief local update.

Nine in Adelaide would be very disappointed if an agreement can’t be reached, and not only because of the pain of losing regional viewers. The South-East has been an excellent recruiting ground for Nine’s newsroom.

Print to online fails for Rip It Up

Adelaide’s media pool just got shallower, with music magazine Rip It Up announcing its closure after nearly 30 years.

It started as a street magazine in 1989, primarily to provide a “gig guide” to support Adelaide’s then thriving music scene.

After evolving into a broad-based music and entertainment magazine, it cancelled its print edition in 2014 to focus on digital.

As online editor Walter Marsh noted this week: “Unfortunately, digital advertising revenue did not follow our online experience, and as it currently exists will go offline from June 30.”

Publisher Opinion Media, which is backed by Spanish media mogul Javier Moll, says it will “incorporate our continuing coverage of the state’s music and arts scene into and, and over the next month will reveal the new online home of the much-loved gig guide that started it all”.

The sad closure is a perfect example of the modern media dilemma: readers are abandoning print, but many advertisers are still wedded to the dead-tree versions of publications.

But could there be a ray of light for Rip It Up?

Premier Jay Weatherill is concerned about what Rip It Up’s closure might mean for local musicians.

He told his Facebook followers this week: “It’s sad to see the end of Rip It Up. The media landscape is changing, but I still think there’s an incredibly important place for music journalism in SA. I’m keen to hear people’s ideas about how we can keep telling the stories about our State’s vibrant live music scene.”

Naughty corner

The tedious “culture wars” playing out in the media continue. These battles, waged with unequivocal arguments and no regard for nuance, grey areas or dignity, have become the grist of the nation’s opinion pages. They shed no light; they are black holes seeking to suck in clicks.

Former Labor leader Mark Latham is a master of the form. After losing one opinion gig after it was revealed he was behind a Twitter account which targeted, in aggressive fashion, a series of high-profile women including Australian of the Year Rosie Batty, he has emerged in the Daily Telegraph.

This week’s column, under an apparently un-ironic heading about people like him being “silenced”, he glibly describes domestic violence as a “Left generated issue”. I would have thought it was a “violent criminal generated issue”.

Top of the class

Advertiser veteran Penny Debelle deserves enormous credit for first breaking the story of SA Health’s chemotherapy scandal, and then sticking at the story through all of its horrible twists and turns. The Government’s handling of the case, as Premier Jay Weatherill conceded this week, has been appalling. Debelle’s coverage has forced the Government – belatedly – to act with some degree of humanity. It’s a perfect example of why fierce and intelligent journalism is crucial to democracy.

Farewell – for a while

This will be the final Media Week column from this correspondent, at least for a few months.

I’m taking an extended break, but I will be back later in the year with a new weekly take on the local media, politics and more.

Thank you for reading. In the interim, watch out for guest media columnists in these pages.



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