Sky News ‘in Freeview talks’

Talks have taken place for Sky News to be given a Freeview slot, it has been reported.  

The pay TV news service – Australia’s only 24 hour news channel – is jointly owned by Nine owner PBL, Seven Media and BSkyB.

If a deal is done, then it would be a major selling point for the Freeview platform, which is the digital offering of Australia’s free to air channels. So far there is little content on the platform to drive subscribers, with Ten’s Sports channel One, ABC2 and SBS 2 the only content that analogue free to air households cannot receive.

It would also give Rupert Murdoch – whose News Corp controls BSkyB – his first foothold in Australia’s free TV market. But it would come as a blow to the ABC, which has its own ambitions for a 24 hour news channel.

In the UK, Sky News has been a major  driver of Freeview takeup – so much so that owner BSkyB threatened to pull Sky News from the Freeview platform in order to push subscriptions to Sky’s satellite service. However, it later backed down.

The report came in The Prince column in the weekend edition of the Australian Financial Review which said the talks – as yet unresolved – were parts of “the desperate search for some half-decent content ot put on the multichannels”.


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