ABC digital dead; kids net shuttered

Digital TV slow to uptake; gov't funds reduced

SYDNEY — The Australian Broadcasting Corp. is quitting digital broadcasting and will shutter ABC Kids and youth signal Fly TV, after almost two years and close to zero eyeballs.

The decision comes after the government capped the pubcaster’s funding at $460 million a year. The ABC, banned from accepting paid advertising, had launched the digital services without extra coin.

“Given the paucity of incentives for the public to take up digital television, the ABC considered that a dedicated children’s and youth television service could attract funding support from the government,” ABC managing director Russell Balding said. “Unfortunately this has not been the case.

“This is the first of several hard decisions the ABC will make. Maintaining the comprehensiveness of ABC broadcasting is becoming increasingly difficult with funding today 30% less than it was in 1985/86.”

Digital TV was introduced in Australia in January 2001. But consumer uptake has been slow because the equipment is expensive and there were few services on offer.

The government hopes the advent of digital feevee services at the end of this year will stimulate consumer interest.

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