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ABC2 goes for a digital view

World Brief

SYDNEY — A puppet rabbit, animated versions of Greek myths and docus featuring Brian Wilson and Johnny Cash will be on the eclectic sked for ABC2, the Australian Broadcasting Corp.’s digital terrestrial channel, which launches March 7.

This is the broadcaster’s second digital push. Its spinoff channels ABC Kids and Fly were axed in June 2003 after less than two years, due to lack of funding.

This time, the pubcaster is making a long-term commitment, allocating A$2 million ($1.5 million) to the start-up and an annual budget of $2.1 million.

“More Australians are switching to other platforms such as digital TV and broadband, so ABC2 will ensure ABC programming is easily available in this environment,” says Lynley Marshall, ABC’s director of new media and digital services.

Web will be available in more than 1 million homes, including 650,000 that have bought digital set-top boxes, and subscribers to the Foxtel and Austar digital platforms.

Among original programming will be “Mixy,” a show featuring a puppet rabbit, which started out on the ABC’s main channel then migrated to the pubcaster’s broadband service; “The Experimentals,” a science series for kids; and “Winged Sandals,” contempo animations of Greek myths.

Some of ABC2’s content will be available to download via dominant telco Telstra’s broadband service.

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