Sky News to launch its own online international channel as the ABC’s Australia Network wraps up

Australian News Channel The Australian News Channel, which runs Sky News, has announced it will launch its own Australia Channel as a subscription over the top content service available internationally, as the ABC prepares to close the Australia Network.

The new online channel will be a partnership with Globecast Australia and comprise of five channels including news, politics, business and sports news and provide locally produced programming to international audiences.

“Australia Channel has a broad remit to provide a comprehensive service allowing subscribers to choose the content they want, and the format they want to watch it in,” said Sky News director of digital, Kylie Merritt, in a statement.

“While we are building a go-to news and information service for the expat community, Australia Channel is about much more than that. It will help promote Australian culture and with content from Australia’s only 24 hour business channel, showcase Australian industry and Australia as an investment destination.”

As part of this year’s Federal Budget the government announced public broadcaster the ABC was told it was losing its 10-year contract for the Australia Network which is worth $223m and will finish its broadcast into APAC on September 27.

“This is not a replacement for the former Australia Network but rather a service that will develop and evolve over time to ensure it is relevant and meets Australia’s international needs,” she said.

Globecast Australia CEO, Simon Farnsworth added: “Globecast Australia is committed to the innovation and deployment of emerging technologies for broadcast services.    This long-term partnership enables us to provide live streamed channels via the web to customers throughout the world. Leveraging Globecast Australia’s extensive experience in the delivery of broadcast services, we have partnered with experienced “best of breed” technology partners Brightcove and Akamai to provide the most up-to-date and proven cloud based solutions. The launch of Australia Channel delivers a core component of Globecast Australia’s strategy to deliver television channels and broadcast content via the web.”

The service will not be available in Australia. Australia Channel will launch in the final quarter of 2014 with the subscription TV network noting that it would be produced and distributed at no cost to Australian taxpayers.

The Australia Network has been highly politicised in recent years after the then Labor government chose to abandon the tender process for the channel in 2011, after a review recommended that the Australian News Channel be awarded the contract.

Nic Christensen 


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