One of the biggest deals in Australian TV is up for grabs. The contract to supply Qantas with its in-flight news broadcasts is a low profit deal, but with 2.6 million people flying with Qantas domestically and internationally every month, supplying the news is excellent PR.

At present the Nine Network supplies Qantas with its three news shows each day (one around 5:30am and the other two in the afternoon), and with James Packer on the Qantas board you’d reckon that Nine can’t fail to retain the contract.

So why are other networks bothering to put in bids on what seems quite a forlorn chase? Mainly to force down the income from the lucrative contract that’s worth at least a couple of million dollars a year. Nine will be forced to drop its price to keep the work because losing the contract would mean sacking four or five producers and at least two newsreaders.

But the newsroom, like every department at Nine, has to lose staff over the next six months. ACA, Sunday and Business Sunday are said to be looking to use natural attrition to reach tier savings. And News will need to do the same..

Peter Fray

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