Nine has ended its syndication deal with sports radio network Crocmedia, citing a need to reduce costs in order to minimise any impact on jobs or salaries.
This move comes as COVID-19 (Coronavirus) continues to cause “an unprecedented downturn in the advertising market”, according to Nine Radio managing director, Tom Malone, who said Nine Radio has been forced to “examine everything we do, as we prepare our business to survive through the crisis, and emerge on the other side, stronger and more efficient”.
With the termination of the syndication deal, effective from Friday May 1, Malone said Nine will have greater control over the distribution and commercialisation of its content, noting Crocmedia will “continue to be an important partner of ours across our suite of sports rights”.
“We are in the process of communication with the stations who buy our content,” Malone said in an email to staff.
“Ultimately we have a strong business, and decisions like this will help us deal with the many challenges ahead as we prepare for the post-COVID world,” he said.
Despite Nine Radio taking control of the syndication of its own content, Crocmedia will still supply Nine Radio with programs including Sports Day Victoria, Sports Day Western Australia, Sports Zone, Great Australian Lives, and This Is Your Sporting Life as part of their deal.
Nine’s decision comes just hours after Pacific Star Network, the parent company of Crocmedia, resumed trading on the ASX after suspending their shares due to refinancing discussions.
Pacific Star Network managing director, Craig Hutchison, said the arrangements are anticipated to have a positive yet immaterial financial impact for Pacific Star Network.
“In simple terms, the role we played sending Nine’s programs to our partner networks in regional Australia has ended,” Hutchison said.
“The net outcome for us is that we have lost some inventory, while importantly reducing syndication costs.
“This decision allows us to focus on producing, distributing and commercialising our own shows on our stations.
“Nine remains an important and valued commercial partner of ours, in both radio and TV and our relationship remains strong,” he said.
As of July 1, 2020, Patrick Moloughney will replace former Crocmedia chief commercial officer, Sam Bingley, who stood down in March after being appointed North Melbourne Football Club chief commercial officer.
Moloughney was recently the network director of sport sales with Seven West Media.
“I had an incredible nearly 14-year career at Seven so it’s exciting to be entering a new chapter,” Moloughney said.
“The opportunity to join Crocmedia held great appeal and I’m looking forward to leveraging my long career in sports media sales to drive new opportunities to connect brans with sports fans through Crocmedia’s broad content offering across radio, TV, digital and events,” he said.