HONG KONG — The privately-backed Australian News Channel will take to the airwaves in international markets at a moment when the previously government-backed Australia Network closes and is replaced by Australia Plus TV.
The new international-facing Australian Channel is backed by private sector media Sky News Australia, a joint venture of Australia’s two biggest free to air networks Seven and Nine and BSkyB.
Available from Nov. 1, Australia Channel will deliver 24/7 coverage of news, business and sport, targeted at Australian expatriates and a wider audience in North Asia, SE Asia, the Pacific Islands and the Indian sub-continent. Former CNN anchor, Stan Grant will be among the presenters.
The channel will be distributed by content distributor and consultancy Lightning International, based in Hong Kong. Depending on territory, Australia Channel will be available as either a premium channel, or formatted for a broader audience.
“Our production centres across Australia are committed to produce high-quality news, business, weather and sports programming in real-time,” said Australian News Channel CEO, Angelos Frangopoulos.
The country’s federal government earlier this year removed funding for the Australia Network, which had been operated by public broadcaster Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). The ABC was one year into a 10 year contract when the government pulled the plug and some A$223 million (US$197 million) had been spent operating it over the previous decade.
While, the Australia Network closed definitively from Sept. 29, the ABC has continued with its own international services on television, radio, online and mobile.
Its Australia Plus TV service is free to air and unencrypted across the Asia Pacific region and counts some 25 key cable, satellite and IPTV distributors. It also counts former Sky and CNN anchor Anjali Rao among its presenters.