Press release from ACTA

The Australian Community Television Alliance (ACTA) today expressed support for the Government’s announcement of the creation of a children’s television channel on the ABC.

However, while the Government has shown through this decision its clear commitment to new and innovative free-to-air channels it is yet to affirm its support for community television by providing digital spectrum and financial support during the extended simulcast period.

Just as the ABC’s children’s channel is targeted at an audience group that is under-served by the existing channels, community television provides access for the diverse special interest groups, ethnic communities and social networks that are not well catered for by the mainstream media.

Community television also provides a dynamic training ground for people aspiring to work in television and acts as an incubator for new talent and new program concepts.

ACTA calls on the Government to end the uncertainty that is hampering the development of the community television sector by making provision for simulcasting in the upcoming budget.

For a relatively modest sum of money the Government can provide a long term future for the thousands of not-for-profit community groups and individuals across Australia that create programs for community channels.

As previously announced, ACTA has received confirmation that community television channels will be included in the Freeview Electronic Program Guide (EPG) once they commence digital transmission.

Inclusion in the Freeview EPG will dramatically increase the exposure of the community channels and lead to much improved viewing audiences. All the research, by the Australian Communications and Media Authority and others, shows that one of the key ‘drivers’ for people contemplating going digital is the opportunity to receive extra channels. So it is in the Government’s interest to provide a digital pathway for community television as it rolls out its campaign to get Australians to convert to digital TV.

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