SBS Forms New Pay TV Supplier

Less than a week after Galaxy Television finally made it to air as Australia’s first pay broadcaster, government multicultural and multilingual free-to-air channel the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS-TV) unveiled a new pay TV program supplier, PAN TV.

In a pay TV saturated week in which every major media outfit had a role to play, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) also allocated 100 non-satellite pay TV licences to two companies part-owned by Galaxy’s parent, Australis Media, while Australis bickered with regulators over the status of other franchise deals and over its rights to broadcast cricket.

Not to be outdone, Optus Vision made “a major investment announcement,” while rumors of a deal between Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., Telecom’s Telstra, Australis and the Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC)-John Fairfax group refused to die.

In its deal, SBS joined forces with Kerry Stokes’ Australian Capital Equity (ACE) and Cameron O’Reilly’s Australian Provincial Newspapers (APN) to develop and provide program services for emerging pay TV operators targeting special interest audiences and audiences of cultural needs.

PAN TV plans to offer a World Movie Channel and a World News Channel.

The 100 licenses granted by the ABA to Selectra and Vinatech will be used to deliver Australis/Galaxy programs via cable and MMDS (microwave) under a franchise agreement to cover areas of Australia’s eastern states, plus South Australia.

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