Australia Network is no more

2014-09-29_0114Australia Network is now off the air, ending transmission into Asia-Pacific after the government axed its funding with the ABC.

Australia Network has operated since 1993, originally known as ATVI. From today it is now replaced with the Australia Plus website which offers block programming, with 6 hours of television content each day through regional providers.

Australia Network website and Facebook have been rebranded as Australia Plus and a new Twitter account was recently set up.

The AFL Grand Final was one of the final programmes broadcast on Saturday. The loss of contract with Department of Foreign Affairs and Trading has led to around 80 job losses within ABC.

An ABC spokesman denied Foreign Minister Julia Bishop’s claim the channel had not met its contractual obligations.

“Australia Network met all of its contractual obligations and key performance indicators as set out in its contract with DFAT,” he said in a statement.

“During the first 12 months of the contract the network grew to with a potential an audience of 144 million in the Asia and Pacific region.

“The termination of the contract led to redundancies within the ABC and had affected the organisation’s ability to maintain its international broadcasting responsibilities.”

Lynley Marshall, CEO ABC International, recently wrote to regional partners:

As you may be aware, the ABC has been forced to terminate the service following the Australian Government’s withdrawal of its funding. The ABC has developed a new service to fulfil its obligations to broadcast internationally however, at this point in time, this does not include a widely available television channel.

We will be terminating the Australia Network service at 12.00 midnight Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) on Sunday, the 28th of September. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

From Monday 29 September, we will provide a 6-hour block of television content from Australia Plus Television which will be available between 3pm to 9pm AEST (5 pm to 11 pm Fiji time). From Sunday 5 October following daylight saving, this will change to 4pm – 10pm AEDST (6 pm to 12.00 pm Fiji time). Technical specifications for the satellite delivery of this 6-hour block will be provided shortly.

Thank you for your support of Australia Network and the ABC over the years and we hope that one day in the future we may be able to partner with you again.

10 Comments:

  1. I had the fortune to be in the leadership of Australia Network from 2005 to 2008. I worked with some great people, dedicated to delivering a fantastic service to the Asia Pacific region. At circa $20mill per annum for 3 channels servicing about a third of the World with high end news and entertainment Australian content, I would have thought it very cost effective soft diplomacy. My best wishes to the Australia Network team.

  2. Rupert doesn’t like free unbiased news punching into the global market and a liberal government has a history of presenting their normally closed and guarded sensitive nether region to him, in a move that proves they can have an extraordinarily flexible spine when they want to. Rupert doesn’t like News24 or the free ABC News website either. Come to think of it, he doesn’t like the ABC at all. He expects anyone who wants to know something, should be paying a premium price for the privilege. Keep the masses dumb, and the government even dumber, they’re all better controlled that way. Stay tuned.

  3. @MattyS – Yes, likewise confused. AN website reads “Australia Plus TV is Australia’s international television service, available via satellite throughout the Pacific and online worldwide. Our mission is to provide a television and digital service that informs, entertains and inspires our audience with a uniquely Australian perspective.”
    Other than constant recycling of Playschool, Bananas, etc. and the seemingly loss of a few programs it’s pretty much business as usual. So far.

  4. So there is money for Australia Plus but not the soon to be axed as reported Lateline and state based 730 on Fridays? Where is the money for Australia Plus coming from?

  5. I am very confused… I was saddened by news of the Australia Network going off air. I am British but have an affinity with Australia and have been in Asia on business many times over the last few years, including a 6 month stint now. Australia Network was a window to the outside world and a change to the English-language stations that are accessible – they normally only show news – and I had become addicted to my morning wake up with Michael and Virginia on ABC Breakfast.

    This morning, I turned on my TV, still set to Australia Network to find Australia Plus broadcasting on air, with the exact same schedule as AN, the same jingles, just a new logo. As I understood it, it would be an online feed in the afternoon only. I am happy I still get to wake up with ABC Breakfast!

  6. This is a sad day for the millions of FTA viewers who will lose Home & Away, Offspring, Rush, The World, 4 Corners, Dateline, and many other programs on their local FTA channel from the Cook Islands in the east to Africa and Europe in the west. In many instances, the only FTA service available to them. Internet? PC? Streaming? Don’t make them laugh.
    Meanwhile, how’s the new PM1 BMW order coming along, and the search for the new PM private jet? John Howard “only” went for new silk curtains. Tony’s going for a whole new plane.

  7. @maxxdude: Setanta Sports is broadcasting the NRL across Asia. It is the AFL that will need to find a new broadcaster that will show the matches into the region. At the moment, Fox Sports Asia (formerly ESPN Star Sports) has a full schedule so the AFL may sign with Eurosport Asia.

  8. That scream you hear is all the Aussie expats in S.E. Asia looking at a blank screen.
    The NRL must be furious that the Grand Final will not be broadcsst to all those countries.
    Another fail from Captain Tony. Julie does ot know what she is talking about.
    Aust Network was my lifeline home when living in Jakarta.

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