Australia Network open for tender

The government has thrown open the the contract to run Australia Network to tender.

The free-to-air international satellite television service plays in 44 countries across Asia and the Pacific.

Since 2002 it has been operated by the ABC after winning an earlier tender.

ABC Managing Director Mark Scott said he welcomed the opportunity to bid for the continuation of the contract.

“We look forward to highlighting the important achievements of Australia Network over the last decade – bringing its mix of news, current affairs, education, lifestyle, drama and sport to more than 20 million homes across Asia, the Pacific and the Indian sub-continent,” he said.

“During this tender process we will also take the opportunity to identify some of the areas where we believe the service can expand, while demonstrating the ABC’s distinguished 70 year record in international broadcasting which forms part of our charter.

SKY News has recently run an aggressive campaign to bid for the contract, worth $20m a year.

The channel shows a mix of education, language and entertainment titles including Home and Away, All Saints, City Homicide, East of Everything, Getaway and Play School.

The government also extends the duration of the contract from five to ten years.


  1. If memory serves me correctly (sorry about getting all Iron Chef there), the Seven Network was running a direct feed of ATN7 on the Asia Pacific service for the last couple of years of its contract. There’s an argument that Seven was kinda watchable before 2002 (when their Asia Pacific contract ended) when they didn’t have xenophobic programs like Border Security.

    Does anyone believe that Sky will continue to produce programs like Study English & English Bites? Have we (or the Government) heard what kind of programming Sky will continue with on Australia Network? Hadley(!)? Sounds like a major risk to me!

    The only way I see Sky getting their dirty hands on this is if they offered a major bribe to Labor like some kind words from The Australian newspaper.

  2. Yes, I was a bit disturbed to read in the Age: ‘Lobbyists for News Corp say it should ”showcase the best of Australian news media”, not recycle ABC content.’ Spectres of ACA and Today Tonight arise and haunt me. (by the by, how does “showcase” differ from “recycle” in this context?)

  3. Secret Squïrrel

    I vote for the Nine Network. There are people in parts of south-east Asia and some of the smaller Pacific islands who have never seen an episode of 2.5 Men.

  4. I hope Nine or Seven get it.

    Then the whole of the Asia Pacific can share our excruciating pain of sitting through F*Troop and All My Children re-runs.

  5. There is no way they can grant to Sky News. Star/Fox International channels already have 5 plus channels across pan Asia and also carry a right wing Fox News. It would get very ugly if News Corp some how were granted however i dont see that as a possibility.

    In terms of any other Australian channels wanting the feed, it would simply be a money burner. All the US content is taken across the footprint and the running costs of servicing a few hundred thousand expats just doesnt add up.

  6. They should just put the ABC permanently in charge. Every other country gets their national broadcaster to operate these sorts of services. A commercial operator could not be trusted to put the interests of Australia first, they would be more interested in furthering their commercial interests.

  7. I hope ABC win this again. The content on this channel is really good when I visit Pacific countries. Turning it into a 24 hour news channel (which I assume is Sky’s plan) would be really bad.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.