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Australia TV seeks aid from government

Australia Television, the cash-strapped Asian satellite service of the Australian Broadcasting Corp., was thrown a $A2.5 million ($1.8 million) lifeline May 31 by the pubcaster’s board pending yet another government review of its operations. But the beleaguered service has designs on the budget of another pubcaster to ensure its long-term survival.

Federal grant

When it launched in February 1993, ATV received a federal grant of $A5.4 million ($3.6 million) after which it was to be self-sufficient via sponsorships. But ATV’s revenue has fallen drastically short of projections and the board agreed the service could not continue on current levels of sponsorship.

Government help

ATV chief executive Michael Mann believes the service should be underwritten by the government owing to its national and regional importance. He also claimed potential sponsors were scared away by the much-publicized ministerial and senate reviews ATV has had to weather.

ATV’s long-term viability depends on the government review of international broadcasting, which was already on the cards, but is to be brought forward for use in the 1996-97 federal budget.

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