Is the Nine Network’s Melbourne newsroom
about to downsize? Word has it that the GTV newsroom is about to be
trimmed – just when it’s under pressure from Seven for the first time
in years.

GTV 9’s news still easily wins most nights, but lately
Seven has snuck the odd evening battle: not many, but enough to make
Nine sit up and notice. The most notable win was on the Thursday night
before the AFL Grand Final.

Excluding the 2004 Olympics,
Nine’s average audience for its 6 pm news has shrunk this year by 5.6%
while Seven’s has grown by 8.8%. The gap last year was large: around
150,000 Nine’s average was 484,811 and Seven’s was 334,586.

That
has now shrunk to less than 100,000 on average: 457,887 to Seven’s
363,998. It’s against that background that rumours of the cutbacks have
started circulating as Nine’s chief operating officer, Ian Audsley,
continues his campaign to trim all but the most essential functions out
of Nine’s stations in Brisbane and Melbourne.

Staff in the
newsroom at Bendigo St Richmond are watching nervously to see how News
Director, Michael Venus, handles the developing situation amidst
sapping morale.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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