Nine ends syndication deal with Crocmedia

Nine has ended its syndication deal with sports radio network Crocmedia, citing a need to reduce its cost base in order to minimise “any impact on jobs or salaries” as COVID-19 wreaks havoc on advertising revenue.

Nine’s radio boss Tom Malone said the pandemic has led to “an unprecedented downturn in the advertising market” causing Nine Radio 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”.

Malone, Nine’s head of radio

Malone added that the termination of the syndication deal, effective from last Friday 1 May, will allow Nine to have greater control over the distribution and commercialisation of its content, and noted Crocmedia will “continue to be an important partner of ours across our suite of sports rights”.

“We are in the process of communicating with the stations who buy our content,” Malone wrote 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.”

Due to the impacts of COVID-19, Nine has suspended some print sections, and committed to slashing $200m off costs this year. Production on shows like The Block has been paused, and its studios were impacted early when Today Extra guest Rita Wilson and husband Tom Hanks tested positive to the virus, leading to host Richard Wilkins’ diagnosis and the network’s #slowthespread campaign.

But the media company hasn’t yet had to resort to the more drastic measures of pay cuts, reduced hours, stand downs and redundancies employed by many of its competitors, including News Corp, Seven, Ten, Australian Radio Network, and Southern Cross Austereo.

On the same day the termination of the syndication agreement took effect, Crocmedia acquired Spirit 621 AM in Western Australia’s Southwest/ Bunbury region.

CEO Craig Hutchison said the acquisition will lead to an “additional content offering”, to be revealed to local listeners in coming months.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.