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WIN Television is an Australian television network owned by WIN Corporation that is based in Wollongong, New South Wales. WIN commenced transmissions on 18 March 1962 as a single Wollongong-only station, and has since expanded to 24 owned-and-operated stations with transmissions covering a larger geographical area of Australia than any other television network except for Australia Plus which broadcasts to 44 countries. In most areas it is a primary affiliate of Network 10. 
The network’s name, WIN is a reference to its original Wollongong station WIN-4, itself an acronym of Wollongong Illawarra New South Wales. Through its news division, WIN News, WIN Television broadcasts a half-hour news service to twenty regional markets.
Television Wollongong Transmission Limited (TWT), was incorporated on 4 October 1955 by a group of local businessmen. Five years later, it was awarded a licence by the Postmaster-General’s Department broadcast to the Illawarra and South Coast regions, over a number of other groups aligned to Sydney-based stations ATN-7 and TCN-9. The new station was to broadcast on the VHF-4 frequency, using the callsign WIN (which stood for Wollongong (and the) Illawarra Network or alternatively Wollongong Illawarra New South Wales, in line with other Australian callsigns). Soon after, a plot of land was purchased at Fort Drummond, approximately two kilometres south of the Wollongong central business district, for the station’s television studios.
Prior to the opening night’s transmissions, WIN-4 undertook a television conversion program, aimed at encouraging residents to acquire new tuning equipment and converting television sets in the area to receive the station’s allocated frequency. A transmitter was to be erected on Knight’s Hill, however test transmissions were delayed due to rain.
1962–1979: Wollongong television
WIN-4 commenced transmissions at 5:15 pm. on 18 March 1962. The first night was met with a number of technical issues, most notably the complete loss of audio. TCN-9 and ATN-7 refused to sell programming to the station, leading to an unstable financial situation which, at its peak left the station with only 42 hours’ programming.
In April 1963, Media Securities, owned by Rupert Murdoch, acquired a controlling interest in the station (his second television station after NWS-9 Adelaide) and soon appointed a new general manager, Bill Lean. Both TCN-9 and ATN-7 began purchasing several hours of first-run American television programming from WIN-4, following contractual arrangements signed by Murdoch. Throughout this period WIN-4 expanded its repeater transmissions to include Moruya, Batemans Bay, Narooma, Bega and Eden. Local programming and the station’s near-monopoly in the area meant that by 1973, viewership had increased to occupy 63 percent of the audience.
Murdoch sold the station in 1979 to the head of Paramount Pictures‘ international distribution arm, Bruce Gordon, to purchase controlling interests in capital city stations TEN-10 Sydney and ATV-0 (now ATV-10) Melbourne.
1980–1999: Aggregation and expansion
During this period, WIN expanded to include new stations in Victoria, Queensland, and New South Wales. In 1984, WIN became the first regional television station to transmit in stereophonic sound. Close links between WIN Television and the Nine Network, ensured it the Nine Network affiliation for southern New South Wales when aggregation took place in 1989 thus the logo of the station changed to that of its partner network with the matching nine dots and similar ident packages. The changes meant that WIN expanded into the rest of southern New South Wales, launching new stations in Canberra, Orange, Bathurst, Dubbo and Wagga Wagga, amongst others in 1989, and at the same time acquiring new facilities in Orange, Wagga and Canberra. It also provided the network with two additional competitors, The Prime Network and Capital Television.
In 1990 WIN purchased Queensland station Star TV, with stations in Rockhampton (RTQ) and the Darling Downs (DDQ and SDQ), shortly before regional Queensland was to be aggregated. The new station was set to become a Network Ten affiliate, however WIN’s links with the Nine Network caused the Nine affiliation to move from QTV, which itself became affiliated to Ten, all within days before statewide broadcasts commenced.
ENT Limited, a Launceston-based company that owned a number of television and radio stations in regional Victoria and Tasmania, was bought in 1994. Television Victoria and TasTV were, as a result, incorporated into the WIN network and subsequently renamed WIN Television, complete with the nine dots logo of the Nine Network. The network further expanded to Griffith in 1998, when WIN purchased MTN-9 Griffith and its supplementary station AMN-31 from its local owners. Although station had previously been part of the Prime Television network, MTN already had links with WIN and took its feed from the network’s Wollongong base.
WIN became regional Western Australia’s second commercial television network on 26 March 1999 after winning rights in 1997. Prior to the launch of the new station, GWN held a commercial monopoly on the market. GWN became an affiliate of the Seven Network, while WIN took a combination of Nine Network and Network Ten programming. Despite the Nine Network‘s traditional ratings dominance throughout most of the country, GWN has remained the market’s most-watched station. The second ratings survey of 2006 placed WIN Television with a 34.7% commercial audience share in prime time, compared to the Golden West Network with 65.3%, thus being no.2 among regional viewers.
In the same year, WIN purchased two stations in South Australia, SES8 in Mount Gambier and RTS-5a in the Riverland region. They became known as WIN SA and until recently featured news bulletins presented from studios at both stations (bulletins are now presented from the set of studios in Mount Gambier). In 2002 supplementary licences were granted under Section 38A of the Broadcasting Services Act, allowing the network to launch additional channels, using the callsigns MGS in Mount Gambier and LRS in the Riverland, and known as WIN Ten, thus converting SES/RTS into the sole Nine affiliate for regional viewers in SA. This was the case until the affiliation moved to the Seven Network due to advertising problems with Nine’s then owners in 2007.
2000–2016: Nine affiliation
WIN Television began to introduce digital television soon after it became available to metropolitan areas in January 2001. Under Section 38A of the Broadcasting Services Act, the network has been able to introduce, in partnership with other stations, additional digital-only Network Ten affiliates. These have included Tasmanian Digital Television, launched in late 2003 in partnership with Southern Cross Broadcasting, and Mildura Digital Television in January 2006, with Prime Television Limited.
On 30 May 2007, Southern Cross Broadcasting announced its sale of NWS to the WIN Corporation for A$105 million. Similarly, STW Perth, owned by Sunraysia Television and affiliated to the Nine Network, was purchased on 8 June 2007, when the station was sold to WIN Television’s parent company, WIN Corporation, for A$163.1 million.
Despite the station’s ownership of Nine Perth, WIN in Western Australia broadcast Ten News Perth, produced for and shown on rival station Ten Perth up until 27 August 2007. Preceding this in June 2007, the network announced their intention to show National Nine News on WIN WA, due to the rise of yet another joint venture station, Ten West. This was its 3rd digital only Ten affiliate with both WIN and GWN taking charge.
A conflict between WIN and its long-time metropolitan counterpart the Nine Network arose in mid-2007. PBL Media, Nine’s parent company, requested up to 40% of the network’s advertising revenue in return for program supply. WIN’s owner, WIN Corporation rejected this offer, expecting to pay only 29% (a 3% decrease from the previous contract and in line with many of the network’s competitors, such as Prime Television and Southern Cross Ten). The network’s owner, Bruce Gordon, subsequently threatened to sever the network’s affiliation after negotiations stagnated, stating that his previous position at the Paramount Pictures Corporation meant he could program the network independently. On 16 August 2007 WIN Television dropped key Nine Network programs from its daytime television schedule, including Mornings with Kerri-Anne and National Nine News: Morning Edition. The end result was that WIN SA began to change affiliation from Nine to the Seven Network and the change was announced on 4 September 2007, for the network’s eastern South Australian stations in Mount Gambier and the Riverland. The new program schedule is a mixture of Seven and WIN programming and commenced broadcasting on 1 October 2007. Two years later, WIN officially relaunched its Nine Network service with the new channel, now known as WIN SA, carrying NWS from Adelaide and all Nine News programs but with local advertisements inserted to serve regional viewers.
On 9 August 2009 WIN began transmission of the new digital channel GO! on channel 88 in Southern NSW, Regional Victoria, Tasmania and Regional Queensland. It soon reached Mildura in 2010 and regional SA in 2011.
In June 2010, playout was moved from WIN’s Wollongong headquarters to a new facility shared with ABC Television at Ingleburn in Sydney’s south-west.
On 26 September 2010 WIN began transmission of the HD digital channel GEM on channel 80 in Southern NSW, Regional Victoria, Tasmania and Regional Queensland.
On 1 May 2012 WIN began transmission of an SD digital infomercial channel, Gold on channel 84. The second infomercial channel, Gold2 began on 13 July 2013 as a five-hour timeshift of Gold.
Following Nine’s launch of 9HD and 9Life on 26 November 2015 and WIN’s promises of following suit, WIN began broadcasting a “coming soon” test pattern on channels 85 and 86 on 10 February 2016 stating that they will revive WIN HD and carry 9Life from the Nine Network from 1 March 2016. As a result, their channel listing was reshuffled to match to Nine’s metropolitan with 9Gem on channel 82, 9Go! on channel 83, 9Life on channel 84, Extra on channel 85 and Gold on channel 86.
2016–present: Switch to 10
After Nine launched its new online catch-up video on demand and live streaming service 9Now on 27 January 2016, WIN filed a lawsuit against Nine, claiming that live streaming into regional areas breaches their affiliation agreement. Justice Hammerschlag of the NSW Supreme Court dismissed the case on 28 April 2016, ruling that the definition of “broadcasting” in WIN’s affiliation agreement with the Nine Network did not cover internet streaming, “and that Nine is under no express or implied obligation not to do it.”
Following WIN’s defeat in the 9Now lawsuit, Nine announced it had signed a new $500 million affiliation deal with Network Ten’s main affiliate Southern Cross Austereo. This saw Southern Cross Austereo’s stations in Southern NSW, the ACT, and regional areas in Victoria and Queensland switch to Nine affiliation on 1 July 2016. With that announcement, WIN was effectively stripped of its 27-year partnership with Nine. In response, WIN entered affiliation talks with Network Ten, in which Gordon held a significant stake, reaching a final agreement on 23 May 2016. Under the new agreement, beginning 1 July 2016, WIN would carry Ten programming into regional Queensland, Southern NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. Deals to supply Nine programming to South Australia, and Griffith were secured on 29 June 2016, a day later Tasmania were secured as well. A supply deal for Western Australia joint venture West Digital Television was not secured before the 1 July 2016 deadline, but a deal was later finalised on 2 July 2016 with programming resuming that night.
According to the channel changes, Ten’s channel listing was reshuffled with ONE on channel 81, ELEVEN on Channel 82, TVSN on channel 84 and Gold on channel 85.
In late January 2017, it was announced that WIN and Southern Cross Austereo had commenced negotiations over the sale of SCA’s Ten affiliate station NRN in Northern NSW in exchange for WIN’s Wollongong radio station i98FM. This deal would have given SCA access to the Wollongong radio market and allowed WIN to expand into the Northern NSW market for the first time, giving it coverage across all regional eastern Australian markets. Southern Cross later withdrew from negotiations on 20 February 2017 with no explanation given. However, WIN and Southern Cross later finalised an agreement on 28 March 2017 where they would sell NRN to WIN for a total of $55 million, however i98FM had been removed from the agreement. The sale took effect on 31 May 2017, however, NRN was maintained by SCA as Ten Northern NSW until playout and transmission were transferred to WIN on 1 September 2017. On the transfer date, the station adopted the WIN branding and the channel numbers were reshuffled to align with WIN’s other stations, but as Nine-owned NBN Television holds the 8-numbered digital channels in northern NSW, NRN’s digital channels will remain on the 5-numbered digital channels.
On 28 May 2018, it was reported that WIN had made a deal with Australian News Channel to carry Sky News Australia content on a free-to-air channel as Sky News on WIN. The new channel will reportedly be an amalgamation of content from Sky News, Fox Sports News, and WIN’s own regional news programming, while Sky News will also be given access to WIN’s regional news content. The channel launched on 2 September 2018.
WIN Television carries programming of all three commercial television stations in Australia. It is a sole Network Ten affiliate in all broadcast areas, but also carries Seven Network and the Nine Network affiliated channels in Griffith, New South Wales and eastern South Australia. WIN Television has always produced regional programming, including the flagship local news service WIN News, that supplement programs sourced from affiliates.
Since inception, the network has produced and broadcast notable programs including Sportsview and Sportsworld, a review of international, national and local sporting events. From the first week of transmissions, children’s television series The Channel 4 Club was produced, with children’s television program Stopwatch beginning in 1979. English-language educational programme You Say the Word began in 1971, catering to non-English-speaking immigrants. Long-running entertainment program Variety Italian Style premiered in 1974, with Malcom Elliott initially hosting the short-lived Tonight Show in 1981 being replaced by John Tingle a year later. To commemorate WIN Television’s 21st year of broadcasting, a one-and-half-hour retrospective montage special was produced in 1983. WIN Television also co-produced telemovie Last Chance in 1986 with a Canadian television production company. Spanning close to a decade, children’s television series Goodsports was produced by WIN Television from 1991 to 2000.
WIN Television’s current Australian programming productions consists of television shows including; Fishing Australia and Alive and Cooking. On 17 May 2007, WIN Television announced a new midday program called Susie, however this was subsequently moved to a morning timeslot. It lasted until 2009. WIN Television also broadcasts a range of exclusive overseas and domestically sourced programming including The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Alive and Cooking.
News & Current Affairs
WIN News is the network’s local news service. Eighteen regional bulletins are presented from studios in Wollongong, Tasmania and Maroochydore. Although in most areas it is the only local news bulletin, WIN News may compete in some markets with Prime7 Local News, Seven Local News, GWN7 Local News, or Southern Cross News.
WIN has produced independent news reports and bulletins since 1962 for its original Wollongong station. As well as the flagship nightly bulletin, WIN Television has in the past produced current affairs programming including community affairs program Roving Eye, and Sunday Review, a weekly review of international, national and local stories.
WIN also broadcasts All Australian News at 7am and at late nights, featuring highlights from news bulletins from its regional stations.
WIN Television simulcasts sports coverage from Ten Sport, the sports brand of the Network Ten under the WIN Sport brand.
WIN Television in Queensland also produced its own rugby league coverage in 1995, televising games which featured the fledgling North Queensland Cowboys in their maiden season after entering the ARL’s Winfield Cup competition.
WIN Television’s transmissions are available from both free-to-air terrestrial transmitters in major regional centres, and free-to-view satellite transmissions across regional and remote Western Australia on the Viewer Access Satellite Television service. WIN News bulletins are carried on the VAST service to allow viewers in remote areas of Central and Eastern Australia, and terrestrial reception blackspots to obtain news local to their area.
Subscription cable is also provided by TransACT in the Australian Capital Territory, and Neighbourhood Cable in Ballarat and Mildura.
WIN broadcasts to a geographically large portion of regional and remote Australia, through owned-and-operated stations including RTQ Queensland, NRN Northern New South Wales, WIN Southern New South Wales & ACT, VTV Victoria, TVT Tasmania, MTN Griffith, STV Mildura, MGS Mount Gambier, LRS Riverland, and WOW Western Australia.
WIN HD originally launched on 17 March 2008 as a sister to the Nine Network’s rebranded high definition simulcast, Nine HD. WIN HD broadcast in 1080i high definition and was available on WIN’s regional stations RTQ Queensland, WIN Southern New South Wales, VTV Victoria and TVT Tasmania. The channel broadcast breakaway programming from launch until 3 August 2009, when it was turned into a straight HD simulcast. WIN HD fully ceased broadcasting on 26 September 2010 with the launch of the HD channel GEM (now 9Gem).
On 10 February 2016, WIN announced that it would launch its own HD simulcast in the coming months in response to the Nine Network relaunching 9HD. It was later confirmed the HD simulcast would be titled WIN HD and would launch on 1 March 2016. Four WIN regions were excluded from the 1 March launch date. Griffith, Tasmania, and Eastern South Australia did not receive the channel until 2 March 2016 due to technical issues. In addition, the regional WA station didn’t receive the channel until 10 March 2016. With the change in regional affiliation between WIN and Nine Network, from 1 July 2016 WIN HD was changed to a regional affiliate of Ten HD in all WIN markets.
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