Nine News boss admits network needs time to be competitive in Adelaide and Perth, despite winning ratings year

Nine Adelaide's  Kate Collins and Brenton Raglass

Nine Adelaide’s Kate Collins and Brenton Raglass

Nine Network’s news boss Darren Wick says he is pleased with winning the 2014 news battle but has admitted there is still a long way to go before the network can claim victory in the cities of Perth and Adelaide.

In an interview with Mumbrella, Nine’s director of news and current affairs said while he was proud the network had won 21 weeks out of the 40 of the ratings year, the network had a lot of work to do to “claw their way” to the top in the non eastern seaboard states, a year after Nine took control of the stations there.

“It is going to take time, and Perth is going to be one hell of a hurdle because it is such a Seven (Network) town and Adelaide is a different one as well,” said Wick. “Seven are the market leader in both towns and they do a good job in both towns of convincing people that you have a good bulletin there but come and stay with us. But bit by bit, viewer by viewer, we will hopefully claw our way into it and claw our way over the top.”

Wick’s remarks came after the Seven Network issued a media release yesterday aimed at spoiling Nine’s news victory by pointing out the network’s weakness particularly in Adelaide. Both networks rely on their 6pm bulletins being strong to provide a lead in to their prime time programming.

Despite regularly winning the metropolitan news battle across the five cities, today with an audience 91,000 bigger than Seven’s, the rival noted how Nine had slipped to fourth in Adelaide with “the average margin between the two bulletins this year now a record 71,000 viewers”.

Referring to how Nine bought both the Adelaide and Perth stations a year ago from WIN Wick said: “Adelaide and Perth are massive challenges for us because we’ve come in and taken bulletins which were pretty much the fourth in the market – behind Seven, Ten and the ABC. We were kidding ourselves if we thought we were number two.

“I’m happy with where we are at the moment but there are massive amounts of work to do and it really just comes down to that and proving day in and day out to the audiences there (in Perth and Adelaide) that we are well worth turning on and watching.”

Wick, who led a resurgence in the Sydney bulletin in the last few years, said the process would take time.

“It is going to be a couple of years of working through those things,” he said. “I tell everyone there that we have gone through this same thing in Sydney where five years ago we were losing 200,000 a night in Sydney, same thing in Melbourne, same thing in Brisbane.

“None of these things happen overnight, each of those markets took us respectively two years to get on top. We have changed the bulletins a lot and they are a lot better than what they were but their time is still to come.”

On the win in news ratings for 2014 Wick said: “I’m very proud of the team we have at Channel Nine and I’m very proud that it is all about the team effort and I think that is why we’ve done so well.”

Nic Christensen 


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