The Australia Network has gone off the air after the Federal Government withdrew funding for the broadcaster earlier this year.
Australia Network had a potential audience of 144 million people, the ABC said. (Credit: ABC)
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade cut Australia’s international television service, which had broadcast content to 46 countries in the Asia and Pacific region including Solomon Islands, India, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, in the May budget.
The ABC was one year into a ten-year contract to provide the service, which had a potential audience of 144 million people.
Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop told ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday that the Government cut funding to the broadcaster because it did not believe it was meeting its contractual obligations.
However, an ABC spokesman said the number of viewers in the region had grown over the past 12 months.
“Australia Network met all of its contractual obligations and key performance indicators as set out in its contract with DFAT,” he said in a statement.
“During the first 12 months of the contract the network grew to with a potential an audience of 144 million in the Asia and Pacific region.
“The termination of the contract led to redundancies within the ABC and had affected the organisation’s ability to maintain its international broadcasting responsibilities.”
On Monday the ABC will launch Australia Plus, a new multi-platform international service which will screen blocks of ABC entertainment, sport, education and English learning content through Asia and Pacific broadcast partners.
Network partners include NowTV in Hong Kong, Astro and TM Net in Malaysia, Singtel and Starhub in Singapore, Indovision and Telkomvision in Indonesia, True Visions and Thai Cable Holdings in Thailand, Dream, Sky Cable and Cignal in the Philippines and DD Direct in India.
“The Australia Plus international media service is a digital-led multiplatform service, it is a fully commercial service and will be working closely with business to enhance their opportunities for market access and growth across the region,” the ABC spokesman said.
Australia Plus will also ensure big events from Australia including the Melbourne Cup, Sydney’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks and the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race air in the region.