Qantas has kept the Nine Network as the provider of its on-board TV news
provider, but it was no lay down thing. The airline apparently made Nine jump through the hoops as it sought to
improve the quality and breadth of service from the deal, for roughly the same
price.

Qantas
is scared that rival Virgin Blue has suddenly positioned itself to
offer better
in-flight news and entertainment through a deal with Foxtel, so wanted
Nine to improve the quality of its offerings (live TV for example
and more content)

Apparently
Nine got so nervous about losing the contract,
that it stepped up its negotiations earlier this month, bringing in that gun
operator, Ross Greenwood, to get the deal over the line.

Qantas
sources say Greenwood appeared as part of Nine’s
negotiating team to drive home the business side of the Nine offer: Greenwood is the Today
Show
finance person, a role that he has been told to maintain and enlarge by
the new management at the program and Nine.

It’s
thought other contenders for the deal were the ABC and Sky News, which is
sort of like Nine competing with itself, as Sam Chisholm is chairman of Sky.

Since James
Packer is a director of Qantas, and ACP Magazines publishes the
Qantas, Jetstar and Australian Airlines magazines, for Qantas to go
elsewhere for its TV news would have been humiliation for Nine.

Peter Fray

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