Sky News to Launch Dedicated Regional Australian Channel | Media
Sky News Australia will launch a new free channel, Sky News Regional, in August after reaching deals with two regional broadcasters that have the potential to reach over 7 million viewers.
The channel’s news and evening shows featured by Andrew Bolt, Peta Credlin and other presenters will be shown to regional audiences on the dedicated 24-hour stream after Sky reaches multi-year agreements with the Win and Southern networks. Cross Austereo (SCA).
It comes as the federal government refuses to say whether Win will be penalized for laying off up to 20 employees and removing local television newscasts months after receiving $ 4.5 million in journalism grants.
The government distributed $ 50 million in public interest information (Ping) collection grants to more than 100 regional newspapers and broadcasters last June to help deal with severe declines in advertising revenue due to Covid- 19.
These grants were awarded on the condition that applicants maintain “existing levels of journalism production and distribution during the grant period”.
But last month, Win announced he was cutting regional journalism jobs in Queensland, Victoria and parts of southern New South Wales, and moving to newsletters across the country. the state.
Federal Communications Minister Paul Fletcher declined to reveal what sanctions, if any, would be imposed on Win, except to say his department had met with management after the job cuts were announced.
“The [communications] The department receives periodic reports from all Ping grantees and can assess whether any of the terms of the grant have been violated, ”a spokesperson said. “In this case, there are provisions for all or part of a subsidy to be returned.”
The department told Senate estimates that it spoke with Win after the announcement and that “early discussions indicate that they will continue to meet the demands.”
A spokesperson for Win told Guardian Australia it was too early to say how many job cuts were coming, but the conditions for the grant would be met.
“The Ping funding deal is due to be finalized on August 14, 2021,” they said. “The Win Network has no intention of breaking the terms of this agreement.”
Sky News Regional will air on Channel 56 in 17 of SCA’s regional markets across Victoria, Southern New South Wales and Queensland including Cairns, Townsville, Sunshine Coast, Canberra, Wollongong, Wagga Wagga, Orange, Bendigo and Ballarat.
It will also be available on Win’s Channel 53 in North New South Wales and on Channel 83 in Griffith, New South Wales and South Australia.
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told the Media Diversity Inquiry in February that Sky News would radicalize politics in Australia within a decade, just as Fox News had undermined democracy in the United States.
The new deal, which includes a live breakfast on weekdays, replaces Sky’s first deal with Win, which ends next month after three years.
Sky News broadcast to 30 regional markets as part of this landmark first deal with Win, but the channel is reportedly not determined whether its new deal with SCA and Win would have a smaller footprint.
“Sky News Regional will bring our award-winning news and opinion programming to a potential audience of +7 million viewers in select WIN and SCA markets,” Sky News told Guardian Australia. “And of course, Sky News channels are available nationwide on Foxtel.”
Sky News Australia says its first foray into free TV has reached 5.5 million unique viewers since 2018.
Sky News Australia chief executive Paul Whittaker, who is celebrating 25 years of Sky News in Australia, said the new channel would introduce new audiences to “Sky’s unparalleled news coverage, as well as analysis and an enlightened background from our leading journalists and commentators “.
“We have established a strong and dedicated free audience in regional Australia and are delighted that, through this new multi-year agreement with Southern Cross Austereo, we can now offer viewers of the SCA network the opportunity to experience Sky Content from news via a new dedicated channel, Sky News Regional.
SCA chief executive Grant Blackley said the contract meant Australians in the region would soon have access to Sky News’ “diverse and high-caliber programming”.
Like all free-to-air channels, Sky News Regional will be subject to the provisions of the Commercial Television Industry Code, which recently forced Alan Jones to issue a correction after he “distorted research” on the effectiveness of masks and locks. .