Southern Cross Nine began as a small network of three stations in regional Victoria. The Southern Cross TV8 network comprised GLV-10 Gippsland, BCV-8 Bendigo, and STV-8 Victoria.
GLV was the first regional television station in the country, launched on 9 December 1961. BCV-8 launched in the same year, on 23 December, while STV followed four years later, on 27 November 1965. GLV-10 became GLV-8 in 1980, when Melbourne commercial station ATV-0 moved frequences to become ATV-10 The network began life in 1982 as Southern Cross TV8, but later changed its name in 1989 to the Southern Cross Network. Soon after this, STV-8 left the network after it was bought by businessman Alan Bond, and eventually sold on to ENT Limited (owners of Vic TV and Tas TV).
Regional Victoria was aggregated in 1992. Vic Television, based in Shepparton and Ballarat affiliated with the Nine Network, while Prime Television, based in Albury-Wodonga became an affiliate of the Seven Network. Southern Cross, therefore, took on an affiliation with Network Ten. Soon after, it changed its name and logo to SCN, directly emulating the look of its metropolitan counterpart. Local news was axed six months later, while the name and logo changed once again to Ten Victoria along with new names Ten Capital, Ten Northern NSW & Ten Queensland as they carried and introduced the Network Ten logo into their brand.
Canberra-based station Capital Television was purchased by Ten Group owner, Telecasters Australia, in 1994. It was soon integrated into the network, taking on the name Ten Capital soon after.
Southern Cross Broadcasting acquired Telecasters Australia in 2001. As a result, Ten Queensland and Ten Northern NSW became a part of the Southern Cross Ten network, while Telecasters' other assets – Seven Darwin and Seven Central – were later integrated into the Southern Cross Television network. Local news bulletins in Canberra and parts of Queensland were axed on 22 November 2001 – one of a number of moves taken by Southern Cross and competitor Prime Television that resulted in an investigation by the Australian Broadcasting Authority into the adequacy of regional news.
The network expanded into the Spencer Gulf and Broken Hill areas on 31 December 2003 under a supplementary license granted to Southern Cross GTS/BKN by the ABA. Southern Cross Ten moved away from generic Network Ten branding – in use since the early 1990s for most areas – with a new logo, similar to that of parent company Southern Cross Broadcasting.
Three-minute local news updates were introduced in 2004, following recommendations put into place following the ABA's report. The brief bulletins, produced out of the network's Canberra production centre, are made for the network's seventeen license areas.
It was anticipated that the network would be acquired by the Macquarie Media Group, following a A$1.35 billion takeover recommendation made to shareholders by Southern Cross Broadcasting to shareholder on 3 July 2007, and on 5 November 2007 this purchase was completed.
Southern Cross Ten began broadcasting Ten's digital channel, Eleven on 11 January 2011.
On 29 April 2016, Southern Cross Austereo announced that it had signed a five-year affiliation deal with Nine Entertainment Co., owner of the Nine Network, for almost $500 million. On 1 July 2016, Southern Cross switched its regional affiliation from Network Ten to the Nine Network and Nine's metropolitan branding was introduced across Southern Cross' television assets in Queensland, Southern NSW and Victoria, joining its existing Nine affiliate station in Spencer Gulf, SA and Broken Hill, NSW. NRN in Northern NSW was not part of the deal, as Nine Network already has an owned-and-operated station, Newcastle-based NBN Television, in the region.
Due to the need to import and install the required equipment, Southern Cross originally stated that it would not immediately offer Nine's digital services 9HD and 9Life upon the transition; the broadcaster stated that they planned to begin transmitting them by mid-August—a delay which would have caused the third match of the 2016 State of Origin series on 13 July to not be transmitted in high definition in the affected regions—which includes parts of the New South Wales and Queensland regions who play the series. However, on 24 June 2016, Southern Cross announced that it had been "working tirelessly to get HD to air as quickly as possible", and 9HD became available from launch day on channel 50. The same approach also prompted 9Life to return early on 17 July 2016.
Southern Cross announced on 25 July 2016 that it would broadcast New Zealand-based home shopping channel Yesshop as a datacast service. The channel became available on 1 August 2016 in Queensland, Southern NSW, ACT and Victoria on LCN 55. However, Yesshop's owner (Yes Retail) made the decision to cease trading on 29 September 2016 citing lack of funds to pay wages and the company's current losses of approximately 20 million dollars. Employees were terminated the same day, and the channels were removed on Freeview later that day.
Southern Cross Nine's programming schedule is almost identical to that of its metropolitan counterpart, Nine Network, with some differences.
The channel previously broadcast State Focus at 12pm Sunday, a magazine program featuring interviews from people across the regions where the channel broadcasts.
Prior to 2017, short local news updates were aired throughout the day for each of the seventeen licence areas served throughout regional Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT and Victoria. These updates broadcast throughout the network's daytime and primetime programming, hourly and lasting from one to three minutes, branded as Southern Cross News (known as Southern Cross Ten Local News Updates from 2014 to 2016, later as Local News Headlines during the initial months of Nine affiliation). The updates were produced from Southern Cross Austereo's studio in Canberra, and made use of news content from local radio stations owned by SCA in each market. Local sport and weather reports also air on an sporadic basis. Short updates were also aired throughout the day and evening alongside updates from Nine News. The bulletins are researched, produced and presented by a single journalist.
Prior to the formation of the Southern Cross Ten network, the Canberra and north Queensland stations broadcast one-hour nightly localised news bulletins. However, both were axed in late 2001 due to cost-cutting measures.
Regional programming was reintroduced in March 2011 with the launch of Weeknights, a 30-minute regional news magazine program broadcast in Shepparton and the Goulburn Valley, only to be axed in May 2015.
As part of the affiliation relationship formed between Nine and Southern Cross in 2016, local news bulletins began to roll out on Southern Cross Nine in 2017 from Queensland, Australian Capital Territory, southern New South Wales and Victoria.
In August 2016, the director of Nine's news & current affairs division, Darren Wick announced that Queensland news director Mike Dalton had been appointed to head the new Nine News Regional division to initiate Nine and Southern Cross Austereo's new regional news service in 2017.
At Nine's 2017 Program Launch held at Sydney's Star Casino in November 2016, the three presenters of Nine's regional bulletins were announced. Former WIN News presenter Samantha Heathwood will present the regional Queensland edition of Nine News, former ABC News Breakfast weather presenter Vanessa O'Hanlon will anchor the ACT and southern New South Wales edition while former Nine News Melbourne presenter Jo Hall will be the face of the regional Victorian edition. The bulletins will be produced by Nine News, presented from Nine's existing studio facilities in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
Canberra was first market to see the new NSW/ACT edition of Nine News bulletin on 6 February 2017. It will also be rolled out to Wollongong the following week, followed by a Central West bulletin for Orange, Bathurst and Dubbo, and Wagga Wagga.
Regional Victorian markets to receive their own bulletins are Ballarat, Bendigo, an Albury and Shepparton bulletin, and Gippsland. They will also be rolled out on a market-by-market basis from 6 March. Regional Queensland markets to receive their own bulletins are Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Wide Bay, Toowoomba, and Sunshine Coast; all of which will face competition from Seven News and WIN News once they are launched (except Mackay where WIN News bulletins were axed in 2015).
The regional bulletins' presentation will be similar to NBN News, the nightly bulletin presented from Newcastle airing across northern New South Wales on Nine-owned NBN Television, with a combination of national, state and local content tailored to each individual market. Nine News will also take over Southern Cross' Local News Headlines for its news updates once Nine News Regional is launced in their market.
Southern Cross Nine also broadcasts Today, Today Extra, all national Nine News programs and A Current Affair.
Southern Cross Nine is available in standard definition and high definition digital format. In all areas except Broken Hill and the Spencer Gulf, an additional 1080i high definition simulcast is also available. The network is available primarily through free-to-air terrestrial transmitters, with subscription cable also provided by TransACT and Neighbourhood Cable in the Australian Capital Territory and Ballarat, respectively.
The network's owned-and-operated stations include:
Southern Cross Ten's first networked logo produced and used across its regional stations was in 2002, featuring the word Southern Cross below Network Ten's logo. This logo was used across the network until 2005, when a new logo was introduced featuring a blue and yellow star with the word Ten added beside Southern Cross. This logo has been used since, and was launched concurrently with similarly designed logos on Southern Cross Television and across Southern Cross Broadcasting's other assets.
Once Southern Cross switched affiliation to Nine, the channel started only using Nine branding.