June 20, 2019
WIN Corporation announced on Wednesday it will close five regional newsrooms: in Orange, Dubbo, Albury, Wagga Wagga and Wide Bay.
Staff at the newsrooms were told their offices would close on June 28.
The closures will affect up to 40 staff, including casuals, although some employees will be redeployed to other parts of the network.
WIN is Australia’s largest regional TV network, broadcasting in 29 markets around the nation.
Like most TV broadcasters in recent years it has struggled to stay viable as advertising revenue has declined and TV viewing in some areas has dwindled.
The newsroom closures are the latest in a string of cuts across regional broadcasters in recent years.
WIN said in a statement the decision was “based on the commercial viability of funding news in these areas”.
“Changing content consumption habits and increased competition from digital content providers … has led to a reduction in demand for local news bulletins in these regions,” the company said.
“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.”
A report completed in 2013 by the media regulator found local content was highly valued by regional Australians, but that TV audiences were declining.
This was partly due to the rise of pay TV services, and partly due to the explosion in the number of free-to-air TV channels.
Providing local content was high cost with “funding pressures … likely to continue”.
Last year, WIN TV moved its Tasmanian news bulletin to the company’s Wollongong office, cutting staff from 18 to nine.
WIN News Toowoomba (Darling Downs) was not named in the list of closures.