In what appears to have been a parting gift from Malcolm Turnbull before he resigned as Communications Minister (to return as PM), he has granted Community TV broadcasters a further 12 months on broadcast television before they must switch to being online entities.
Channel 31 general manager Richard McLelland describes the news as a light at the end of the tunnel.
“Australia’s five community television stations recently received a letter from the Minister confirming an offer of a 12 month extension to the apparatus (transmitter) licence, which will allow CTV to remain on free-to-air television until December 31st, 2016,” he wrote in a statement.
“The C31 Board of Directors, along with the boards of the other four stations, and in conjunction with its member organisations, is currently considering the offer and its conditions and will formally respond at the appropriate time.”
The offer follows a concerted sector campaign and upholds the “extra time” they have been seeking, to put better business models in place before eventually moving online.
C31 Melbourne has also entered into a partnership with digital consultants and YouTube Enterprise Partners Totem ahead of the shift.
“Whilst free-to-air is currently its main platform C31 recognises that it must develop its online presence. Over the past eight months the C31 staff and board have been meeting and working with key players in the online video delivery services sector. Concurrently, C31 has employed the services of a key technology partner – Hostworks – who is now quickly developing brand new, platform agnostic content delivery methods for CTV,” he continued.