|Broadcast area||Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Tuvalu, Tonga and Papau New Guinea|
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to 16:9 480i/576i for the SDTV feed)
|Owner||Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australian Government|
|Launched||17 February 1993|
|Former names||Australia Television International|
(1993 – 2002)
ABC Asia Pacific
(2002 – 2006)
(2006 - 2014)
(2014 - 2018)
ABC Australia is an Asia-Pacific pay television channel, launched in 1993 and operated by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The channel broadcasts a mix of programming, including lifestyle, drama, sports, English-language learning programs, children's programming and news and current affairs to viewers across East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands.
It is partially funded by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as well as some advertising (unlike the ABC's domestic television services). It is part of the ABC's International, Corporate Strategy and Governance division.
Australia Television International was launched on 17 February 1993. It was originally a part of the so-called "Gang of Five", which was a consortium that was set up to compete against Star TV in the region. (The others in the group were CNN International, HBO, ESPN International [with its Asian operations] and TVB [with TVB Superchannel]) The consortium's channels were initially transmitted via Palapa satellite, but were later also added to Apstar satellite.
Radio Australia had been operating as part of the ABC since 1939 while the passing of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act in 1983 allowed the Corporation to operate an additional international television service. The channel was originally proposed by directors Mark Armstrong (television executive) and David Hill, who felt that a television channel would further heighten Australia's presence in the Asia-Pacific region and demonstrate the ABC's technical abilities.
The new channel was to be funded by a combination of government subsidies and commercial sponsorship. The presence of commercials, not previously seen or heard on the ABC, resulted in the creation of an updated edition of the ABC Editorial and Programme Practices stipulating that the 'Australia Television service will retain editorial control and independence in all programming'. Paul Keating launched Australia Television International on 17 February 1993 – televised live to 50 countries in the southeast Asian region, from the ABC's television studios in Gore Hill. The actual broadcast was from the Darwin uplink where Dominic Stone, the service's Program Director and David Hill, Managing Director of the ABC commissioned the first transmission.
Funding cuts made in the 1997–1998 federal budget, and recommendations made in the Mansfield Report, meant that control of Australia Television was handed over to the Seven Network in 1998. Under Seven's direction the channel continued to receive federal funding, and carry some ABC News.
2002–2006 – As ABC Asia Pacific
Despite efforts made by Seven to expand into Asia using the service, it continued to lose money. In 2002, the government announced a five-year, $50 million tender for the service – at the time watched primarily by Australian expats for its news programmes, football coverage, and children's programming. Seven chose not to bid, while Imparja Television's application was unsuccessful. The ABC won the contract and Australia Television was rebranded as ABC Asia Pacific on 1 January 2002, with content from the Seven Network, Nine Network, Network Ten, and the ABC's own original content, as well as news bulletins produced by Sky News Australia.
The tender was renewed in 2005 however the ABC was re-awarded control of the service, over other applicants including Sky News Australia. Soon after, the network stopped showing content from Sky News Australia, replaced with bulletins produced by the ABC's own news and current affairs division from its Southbank studios in Melbourne.
2006–2014 – As Australia Network
ABC Asia Pacific changed its name to Australia Network on 7 August 2006, at the same time introducing a number of new programs, as well as the expansion of its existing news programs and English-language learning programs. Following a restructure of the ABC in early 2007, Australia Network became a part of the Corporation's International, Corporate Strategy and Governance division.
The channel was not available in Australia or New Zealand, owing to rights restrictions, although ABC News for Australia Network bulletins were carried overnight on ABC News 24 and Al Jazeera English in Australia and on Face TV in New Zealand. Several Australia Network programmes are also available online in Australia on the ABC's iview platform. Australia Network became available in Malaysia on Astro (Channel 514) in December 2008.
In 2010 the Australian Government invited media organisations to submit tenders to deliver the Australia Network for 10 years, despite the tender evaluation board repeatedly selecting Sky News Australia as having a superior offering of better value than the ABC, the government awarded the contract to the ABC. The awarding of the Australia Network to the ABC was subsequently heavily criticised by the Auditor General for Australia and the government was forced pay millions in compensation to Sky News.
In the 2014 Australian federal budget, all funding to the Australia Network was cut and its closure was announced, days before it was about to sign a contract with Shanghai Media Holdings to begin broadcasting in China (making it only the third foreign broadcaster with access to the country). 80 jobs, mostly in Melbourne, were lost and the government was forced to compensate the Australian Broadcasting Corporation 10 million dollars for breaking its contract.
2014–2018 ��� As Australia Plus
Following the closure of Australian Network, Australia Plus, a new multi-platform international service was launched on 29 September 2014 as a replacement. The channel continued to broadcast entertainment, sports, education and English learning shows from ABC through Asia and Pacific partners. Big events from Australia, such as Melbourne Cup, Sydney's New Year's Eve Fireworks and the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race were also featured on the channel.
2018–present – As ABC Australia
Australia Plus was rebranded as ABC Australia on 1 July 2018. ABC Head of International Strategy David Hua said, “The rebranding of the international television service makes sense to our audiences overseas, who want distinctive Australian content from a highly-respected media organisation.” The rebranding came just weeks after the lifting of the geo-blocking of the ABC News live stream on the ABC website and YouTube channels.
In addition to those listed below, the now rebadged ABC Australia shows a range of programming targeted at audiences within the region, including evening news bulletins at two-hour intervals targeted at different parts of the region, and a number of English-language educational programs produced by the Network including Study English, Living English, English Bites and The Business of English. Drama series shown include Home and Away, Offspring, Packed to the Rafters, Rake, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, The Time of Our Lives, factual entertainment programs Bondi Vet, One Plus One (TV program), and Cosmo Times, lifestyle programs Big Break, Food Safari and Poh's Kitchen, music program Rage, light entertainment programs Gruen Planet, Good Game and Good Game SP, the children's shows Play School, Blue Water High, A gURLs wURLd, and Scope.
The news programming of the channel is produced and broadcast from the ABN news studios in Sydney, the headquarters of the ABC News channel and the network news service.
- Everyone's ABC Asia Pacific (2002-2006)
- A different view (Australia Network, 2006-2010)
- From our world to yours (Australia Network, 2010-2014)
- Your World, Our World, One World (2014-2018)
- Yours (2018–present)
- "About Us | Australia Plus TV" (Press release). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 29 September 2014. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
- "ABC Bolsters Its Commitment To International Broadcasting" (Press release). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 7 February 2007. Retrieved 25 September 2007.
- Inglis, Kenneth Stanley (2006). Whose ABC? The Australian Broadcasting Corporation 1983–2006. Melbourne, Victoria: Black Inc. ISBN 1-86395-189-X.
- Launch of ABC Television International, Gore Hill, Sydney, Prime Minister of Australia, 17 February 1993
- "PM – Channel Seven axes Australia TV". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. March 2001. Retrieved 25 September 2007.
- Downer, Alexander (13 February 2002). Australia, the Asia-Pacific, and Television: Broadcasting to the Region (Speech). Canberra. Archived from the original on 30 August 2007. Retrieved 25 September 2007.
- "ABC Signs ASIA Pacific TV agreement". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. August 2001. Archived from the original on 6 June 2008. Retrieved 25 September 2007.
- "Sky's push for Asian subsidy". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. June 2005. Archived from the original on 24 September 2007. Retrieved 25 September 2007.
- "Australian Television Service to the Asia Pacific Region" (Press release). Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 13 December 2005. Archived from the original on 30 August 2007. Retrieved 25 September 2007.
- "New Australia Network Offers Different View". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. October 2006. Retrieved 25 September 2007.
- Packham, Ben (3 April 2012). "Auditor-General slams government over tender process for Australia Network". The Australian. Sydney. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
- "The demise of the Australia Network". Lowy Institute for Public Affairs. 16 May 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
- "Eighty jobs to go at ABC News and Australia Network". Sydney Morning Herald. 14 June 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
- "ABC to get $10.6m for cancellation of Australia Network contract". The Guardian. 13 May 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
- Knox, David (26 June 2018). "Australia Plus channel to rebrand as ABC Australia". TV Tonight. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
- "About – Our Services". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 4 October 2007. Retrieved 25 September 2007.
- "ABC Asia Pacific to launch as Australia Network on 7 August". Indiantelevision.com. Retrieved 25 September 2007.
- "Australia Network Programming". Retrieved 7 March 2014.