Local news facing blackouts

tv_staticSome local news bulletins in regional Australia could disappear under a proposal to rectify digital black spots, according to The Australian.

Senator Stephen Conroy presented a plan to regional TV broadcasters last week that would see a new state-based satellite TV service from each regional broadcaster.

It would replace the existing signal for residents who cannot receive terrestrial digital TV services once digital free-to-air TV is turned on.

The proposal would see news headlines and footage supplied from an archive of on-demand information by broadcasters.

But regional broadcasters indicated it could impact on businesses who wanted to advertise locally.

The switch to digital is to be completed by 2013 with the first area, Mildura, set for the first half of 2010.

Source: The Australian


  1. iam thinking the first regional free to air on Austra will be a huge winner…GO! is happening soon isnt it? iam sure 7TWO will happen and what about ONE…. let the FTA work out the logistics… my theory is that local news maybe important but does ity rate V cost…No…WIN only has two in regional NSW anyway..and that is the Orange/Dubbo/Bathurst central west and the sthWest Wagga/griffith/MIA news…. and Prime have two mopre in nth NSW I think…then in Vic they just have the Albury read

  2. Listen carefully…for many it is not about content it is about reception.

    Right now we don’t watch much FTA TV because the digital reception is pathetic and the “analogue reception” if that is what you call it is not much better. The only consistently decent recption we can get is through satelite tv, in our case austar which at the moment does not show any fta tv other than some sbs & abc.

    So who cares if its local or not just some viewable quality reception would be good..but maybe i misread this because i find it hard to believe something might actually be done by the Govt to provide a fix for our tv reception woes, so when the switchover comes for us it will be more like a switch off.

  3. I like the idea. The dominant networks in each state should be the ones available on satellite. Prime and WIN should have the capacity to tailor a channel for each of their states, perhaps using advertising from all their markets within the state.

    If you think local news will be compromised by having state-specific channels, then you mustn’t know how the current satellite situation deals with it. State-specific channels will increase the localised news for those areas. Rural residents in parts of Victoria, NSW and Tasmania suffer with just Queensland and Darwin news. SCTV and Imparja try to offer some service, but it’s just too big of an area to offer anything local.

  4. @ jason
    WIN Corporation Head Office is in Wollongong – don’t know about Prime or Southern Cross but i would hazard a guess and say neither is in Sydney.

  5. Oh dear, Nick. The rule ACMA (& before them, the former ABA) has had since at least regional aggregation in the late 1980s is not one commercial television network can exceed its coverage area to more than 75% of the Australian population. I didn’t see anything in that Australian newspaper article to suggest Conroy was looking at relaxing that rule. That’s one reason why we still have regional television networks.

    The other reason many people choose to ignore is the financial viability of a metro commercial network owning & operating all the stations their programming is currently screening on. For pretty much the same reason why you don’t see a David Jones store in every little town & major regional city throughout Australia, it will cost them more money to run than gains from local advertising revenue.

    I remember last year PBL-Nine wanted to off-load Nine Darwin to Imparja but it only fell through because Imparja couldn’t secure the loan to buy the station. Also, PBL-Nine didn’t put up a bid at all when Southern Cross Broadcasting was selling Nine Adelaide, thus letting WIN Corp take it on. So, apart from the Seven Network owning their regional Queensland stations & PBL-Nine operating NBN in Newcastle, I don’t see much desire on their behalf to extend their reach much further than that. It’s not even profitable for the existing regional networks to operate in many of the areas they do now, but because of Hawke Government policy, that’s imposed on them. Why do people living in ‘Wop Wop’ think they deserve the same goods & services that capital city residents receive?

  6. Prime broadcast local and national over an hour (in some areas).

    As much as it’s important to know what happens in the state and across Australia, so too the local region. SBS covers the world pretty damn well.

    If there’s a small group with digital them do the satellite or discount their ISP for streamed news – not that difficult

  7. Do they still have regional news bulletins??

    Honestly if you have a broadcast license in this country you should be required to throw together at least 15 mins of local news per day (I’m basing that on your regular metro ch 7/9 half hour bulletin would be 50% local 25% national and 25% international)

    It annoys me that “regional broadcasters” (the head offices of all you will probably locate in Sydney mind you!) start threatening news cuts when clearly only one of them is putting any sort of money into news at all!

    This sort of proposal has bigger implications for advertising (anyone whose watched Imparja/Seven Central from the Victorian Surf Coast can attest to this) but one satellite net for each state is a vast improvement – the only thing that would make it better is if they make the sattelite service the metro station! You watch the take-up of satellite dishes as people ditch the second rate regional service.

  8. Yes!!!!

    Praise the lord Finally something that makes sense, i could not give a rats arse about the local one hour news bulletin, I’d gladly watch Sydeny news if it meant i had a decent reception. Fingers crossed, cause right now our digital is a joke.

  9. Why have regional broadcasters anyway – look at what Prime has done with regional viewers??

    Can’t they make Nine, Seven and Ten national?

    They should have state based local news everynight.

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