Regional viewers are still awaiting word on whether ELEVEN will be available to them at the same time as metropolitan viewers.
TEN launches the new digital channel on January 11th with Neighbours, The Simpsons, Supernatural, Nurse Jackie, Dexter, Stargate, Smallville, The Office, Futurama, 90210 and more.
But so far Southern Cross has not confirmed it will be ready for the start-up date.
Yesterday Rhys Holleran, Chief Executive Officer of Southern Cross Media, told TV Tonight: “Our plan is to be on air hopefully around the same time as Network TEN.”
TV Tonight understands that while parties are moving towards the January 11th date, deals are not yet finalised.
As such a spokesperson from TEN directed all enquiries back to Southern Cross.
Carrying of digital channels for regional broadcasters has always been a challenge, requiring upgrading of equipment at playout centres that host diverse local advertising.
Freeview CEO Robin Parkes told TV Tonight, “Regional viewers should expect to receive the full line up of channels. In some areas where infrastructure needs to occur the roll out dates may be delayed from the metro cities for a few months, but they will in time all receive the full suite of Freeview channels.”
Unless ELEVEN launches in time, regional viewers are at risk of missing new episodes of Neighbours and other shows that may not necesarily be made available in catch-up once it does launch. Viewers of 7TWO on Prime will remember missing key episodes of new shows when it eventually launched last year.
The government has already announced $34m across 4 years so that regional networks could bring digital channels to regional viewers. In November Senator Conroy’s office said WIN, Prime, Southern Cross and Imparja woukd announce a rollout schedule to regional viewers “in coming days.”
The clock is ticking.
Meanwhile there is also no clarity on ELEVEN being available via the Foxtel platform, with negotiations still continuing.
Foxtel has reserved channel 131 to transmit 11 on cable -meaning satellite viewers are likely to miss out.
TEN said, “We are currently working through the technical requirements to make this happen.”
Foxtel says a retransmission agreement is not yet finalised.