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Community TV welcomes ALP pledge for C31 & C44

Labor has pledged $12 million from 2023-24 to the Community Broadcasting Program to give the sector the funding certainty.

The Australian Community Television Alliance has welcomed a commitment by Labor for the continuation of Community Television.

Labor has pledged $12 million from 2023-24 to the Community Broadcasting Program to give the sector the funding certainty it needs while working with the sector to identify a sustainable funding basis for the future. It will keep Community TV stations Channel 31 Melbourne and Channel 44 Adelaide on air until there is an alternative use for the radiofrequency spectrum they occupy, to ensure efficient use of this finite, scarce and valuable resource.

Shadow Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland (pictured), said, “Community Television is a vibrant part of Australia’s media, which is why Labor has fought attempts by the Liberal National government to boot it off air.

“Community TV adds to media diversity, local news and content, supports local businesses and community organisations and provides a much-needed training ground for the journalists, producers and the industry talent of the future.”

Since 2013 the current Federal Government has sought to take community TV off free-to-air television, forcing stations in Brisbane, Sydney, and Perth to close. But a late reprieve from switchoff in mid 2021, granted C31 and C44 ‘last and final’ extensions to their broadcast licences until 30 June 2024.

“‘This announcement from the Labor party today finally provides the Community TV sector an opportunity for certainty and a long-term future. It also reaffirms the important and vital service that Community TV provides,” C44 General Manager Lauren Hillman said.

C31 Melbourne General Manager Shane Dunlop added, “There is incredible potential for the future of Community TV in Australia. With the possibility of further certainty around free-to-air spectrum access and with the impending release of smart-device apps for the Community TV streaming service CTV+, we believe that Community TV can continue to be a solid contributor to the Australian media landscape for many years to come.”

3 Responses

  1. While this is extremely welcome for the CTV sector there are some words there that give this promise a lot of wriggle room, i.e. the commitment is only “until there is an alternative use for the radiofrequency spectrum they occupy”. So eventually the two channels 31 & 44 will end up in the same predicament they’ve been in since 2013 and still have to be booted off air. It’s really just kicking the can down the road, so to speak, not so much a firm commitment to a permanent free-to-air solution. Any re-organising of the spectrum should surely include a provision for a CTV channel.

  2. Such a ‘scarce and valuable resource’ that networks are allowed to screen adverts and racing 24/7 on separate channels whilst CTV can’t even have one lousy SD channel-an utter disgrace!

    1. From what I can see there are 4 shopping channels often flogging the same thing(s) at the same time on multiple channels. The reason given why CTV could not be allocated one of these channels was “because they are Datacasting channels”.
      “Regional broadcaster Prime Media yesterday (25/9/2011) launched the first datacasting channel from any metro or regional TV network with a new service which allows advertisers free rein with their own content, as long as it meets the information requirements from regulators. With Lachlan Murdoch as a shareholder and on the board and relatively new CEO and former Nine and Seven executive, Ian Audsley, brought in, Prime Media has fired back to life with vastly improved revenues, earnings and ratings success”. (AdNews)
      How is a non-stop advertising channel with real live people defined as ‘datacasting’? How were these channels given to commercial interests over CTV stations who were forced off the air?

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