On 29 September 2014, the Australia Network television service, which is run by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), will be replaced with a more limited television service to be known as ‘Australia Plus’.
Australia Plus will deliver Australian content with a focus on news and sport, business, lifestyle, education and English language learning. According to the Australia Network website, the new platform (to be run by the ABC) will be available online and on-demand, on television and radio. The Australia Plus Television service will consist of a six-hour daily broadcast from 5pm-11pm FLT and at this stage will be available in at least 21 territories.
The soon-demise of the Australia Network is not all bad news for those residing overseas who want to follow all that is Australian. Aside from the ABC’s new Australia Plus service (which will also include an international version of the ABC’s incredibly popular iView service), Australian News Channel (owned 33.3% by BSkyB, 33.3% by Seven West Media and 33.3% by Nine Entertainment Co) and GlobeCast Australia have today announced the launch of Australia Channel which will consist of five channels including news, politics, business and sports news and provide locally produced programming to international audiences.
SKY NEWS Director of Digital, Kylie Merritt said:
“While we are building a go-to news and information service for the expat community, Australia Channel is about much more than that. It will help promote Australian culture and with content from Australia’s only 24 hour business channel, showcase Australian industry and Australia as an investment destination.”
“This is not a replacement for the former Australia Network but rather a service that will develop and evolve over time to ensure it is relevant and meets Australia’s international needs.”
Globecast Australia CEO, Simon Farnsworth added:
“…This long-term partnership enables us to provide live streamed channels via the web to customers throughout the world [emphasis added]…The launch of Australia Channel delivers a core component of Globecast Australia’s strategy to deliver television channels and broadcast content via the web.”
The Australia Channel will not be available in Australia, just like Australia Network is not currently available to Australian viewers.
Australia Plus launches on 29 September 2014, while Australia Channel will launch in the final quarter of 2014.
With the ABC and Australian News Channel already battling each other in the 24-hour news space in Australia, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top internationally, as both try to develop new wide-reaching but cost-effective Australian-focussed international networks.