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ABC3: New kids channel by April

The ABC plans to launch a dedicated Free-to-Air children’s channel known as ABC3 by April 2008.

It will be a digital channel made available through the government’s election promise of $82m.

ABC’s Director of Television today told the SPAA Conference that, “We believe a balance is needed, and we need to ensure that future generations of Australian children can still see and hear Australian stories, and Australian voices, on children’s television.

“Provided the funds are approved by government soon after the election, we will be on air by April 2008.”

ABC3 would acquire and commission new childrens programming, Dalton said.

He said the ALP was considering the proposal.

Press Release:

The ABC plans to have a dedicated free-to-air children’s TV channel on air by April 2008, providing commercial-free children’s programming.

The ABC has welcomed the Government’s commitment to provide $82 million over four years to fund the channel, which is a joint proposal put forward by both the ABC and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation. The ALP is also considering the proposal.

ABC Director of Television, Kim Dalton, speaking from the Screen Producers Association of Australia Conference on the Gold Coast, said ABC3, as the new channel will be known, will be a tremendous addition to the entertainment choices available to Australian families.

“Australian parents know and trust the ABC brand because of the quality and educational value of ABC Children’s TV. We will build on that reputation in providing this dedicated commercial-free children’s channel. It will be available to Australian children of all ages across the country,” Mr Dalton said.

“The children’s channel will also have tremendous potential for the education sector in Australia. It will provide an opportunity for the ABC to rebuild its schools and educational services.

“Without a dedicated free-to-air children’s channel, with a high level of Australian content, Australian children will continue to drift to the commercial and overseas content provided on subscription children’s channels.

“As well as the popular ABC Kids programs currently screening on ABC TV, we’ll be commissioning and acquiring new material for the new channel,” he said.

“We believe a balance is needed, and we need to ensure that future generations of Australian children can still see and hear Australian stories, and Australian voices, on children’s television.”

Planning is already underway at the ABC for the provision of ABC3, which will be a digital channel, available free to viewers who have a digital television or a digital set-top box.

Mr Dalton said, “Provided the funds are approved by government soon after the election, we will be on air by April 2008.”

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