Pacific islands still awaiting Aussie TV shows

Nearly a year after the Morrison government announced a multi-million dollar deal to have Australian TV shows screening to Pacific island audiences, none have begun screening.

Last November Scott Morrison said, “I’ve been speaking to Free TV Australia and the commercial TV networks about how we get more of our Australian content into the region. Our Pacific family switching on to the same stories, news, drama and sports we are watching at home. What better way of staying connected than through the people, the lifestyle and the every-day experiences we are lucky enough to enjoy?”

Free TV, which represents Australian commercial channels, was tasked with negotiating 1,000 hours of titles with Pacific broadcasters.

The move was later questioned by some observers about whether ABC content would be a better fit than commercial titles.

Jemima Garrett, co-convenor of the Supporters of Australian Broadcasting in Asia and the Pacific, told SBS, “Reruns of Love Island or Border Security are not going to help Australia’s standing in the region in the same way that a more interesting project could.”

However Free TV is yet to begin discussions with Pacific stations, a Communications Department spokesperson has now revealed.

“Free TV will soon commence work to consult with Pacific broadcasters that will inform a selection of Australian content that is suitable for each Pacific broadcaster,” a spokesperson told SBS in a statement.

Free TV chief executive Bridget Fair said in a statement, “We are well advanced in planning for the Pacific TV project.

“We expect to commence providing content to our Pacific partners in 2020, but we are not in a position to provide further details of the project at this time.”

Source: SBS


  1. Seriously, as an Australia living in Australia, why would I watch the reality rubbish served up in this country now, never have and never will. Then why on earth anyone in the South Pacific want to watch it either? Smacks of cultural paternalism to me. The ABC Australia network is stil running and is usually screened during downtime by some South Pacific broadcasters now anyway. Alll that is missing from the ABC signal into the South Pacifc is some quality commercial network Australian drama, some Australian sport and a tailored region specifc news service. And apart from TV, the South Pacific wants ABC shortwave services restored, which would be more useful anyway.

  2. The satellite broadcasting of Australian content had been somewhat effective in Asia, ever since ABC Australia, previously known as Australia Network, Australia Plus and ABC Asia Pacific had been included in subscription television services in Asia.

    The focus on providing Australian content for educational, trade, tourism and foreign affairs purposes and prospects from Australia had been targeted to the Asia and Pacific region only, where as other state-operated international broadcast services, such as NHK World (Japan) and BVN (Netherlands) have a global focus and span across satellite providers on many continents.

  3. And how is this to be delivered? Via which is the delivery service to Pacific broadcasters? This was the Australia Network service funded by DFAT which Turnbull and Bishop terminated in 2014 forcing ABC to fund and operate it, albeit a much cheaper version. The only non-ABC news/caf program remaining is Home & Away. Gone are the Australian commercial dramas. As above, “Love Island” and all of those other garbage “reality” shows won’t be accepted. Severe editing would be needed to cut foul language from virtually every other Australian program to be acceptable to Pacific Islands broadcasters. And who is to pay for this? And are the Pacific broadcasters interested? With content delivered 24/7 by satellite from PCBL/TVNZ/TV3 from NZ and US series, movies and other content from elsewhere one feels the Australian cat let escape by Julie Bishop has long flown the coop.

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