Chanel Nine New Channels News – Article is Courtesy of DeciderTV

Last month saw the long-awaited launch of the Nine Network in High Definition plus the arrival of a new multi-channel 9LIFE, but it now appears certain a significant portion of the population will not have access to the new services at launch.

Viewers in regional Australia and those that access Nine via Foxtel's satellite service look certain to miss out on the new services with negotiations between the broadcasters not progressing.

A spokesperson for Foxtel has confirmed to DeciderTV a deal is now in place that will see NineHD, 9LIFE and the revamped 9GEM added to the Foxtel Cable service on November 26th, but an agreement for carriage on the Foxtel satellite service has not progressed.

The addition of new channels on the satellite is an expensive business, particularly because Nine has 5 different versions of each channel to provide for local advertising and time zones. Further complicating the matter is the fact just one High Definition channel would take up to four times the satellite space as the Standard Definition version of the same channel.

A spokesperson for Foxtel telling DeciderTV,
"Carriage of free to air services on the satellite platform is governed by retransmission agreements. Under those agreements the broadcasters can elect which services will be carried on the platform and they take responsibility for paying the transponder costs.

There are two reasons for this arrangement. The first is that carriage benefits the free to air broadcasters who reach more viewers, which in turn helps support advertising revenues. The second reason is that if free to air broadcasters could require Foxtel to pay for any service they wished to have on the satellite platform the cost would be enormous and, in effect, Foxtel customers would end up paying for a service they are entitled to receive for free."

Nine however refute this position and believe that Foxtel should be paying the retransmission fee as the channels are providing a benefit to Foxtel customers. A spokesperson for Nine yesterday stating,
"We don't have anything to say other than we are currently in discussions with Foxtel."

The situation in regional areas of Australia is even more complicated with the WINTV Network currently battling to secure the right to rebroadcast any of Nine's content into the future.

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WIN is in negotiations with Nine to extend is current affiliate deal, which is due to expire at the end of this year. The Australian recently reported Nine is seeking an increase in payment to more than 50% of WIN's advertising revenue, a significant increase from the current deal, which is believed to be at 38%. If WIN fails to form an agreement, its likely all of Nine's programming would move across to the Southern Cross Network which is currently considering merger possibilities with Nine.
With the ongoing uncertainty regarding its future, WIN Television is reluctant to invest in converting its primary channels to HD, or the addition of 9Life until the affiliate deal is settled. The negotiations between WIN and Nine have a deadline of December 31.
NBN Television, which services regional viewers in northern NSW, is not expected to launch the new services on Nov 26th due to ongoing negotiations with Nine.
Nine will relaunch its entire TV line-up on November 26th with the move to make its primary channel available in HD. A new multichannel 9LIFE will also launch with a focus on reality and lifestyle programming designed to target a young female audience. The GO channel will be rebranded as 9GO with a mix of comedy, reality and live sport designed to target a male audience. While the GEM channel will be rebranded as 9GEM and switched to SD. 9GEM will provide a mix of drama and movies with a focus on the over 55 audience.
Spokespersons for WIN Television and NBN Television were approached for comment but declined.

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