For Australia Network, will less footy attract a larger "target" audience? (updated: cricket, too)

Posted: 25 May 2011   Print   Send a link
World Footy News, 23 May 2011, Troy Thompson: "The Australia Network provides Australian TV content into Asia (on satellite/cable TV) much the same as Radio Australia does with radio content. It is a government program that has been provided by the ABC but with programs from across the Australian TV networks. On weekends this extends to coverage (often live) of AFL matches. This provides a strong link and easy access to the game for homesick expats but also a window into the Australian game for many Asian locals who have an interest in the game. ... This is however all under threat with the current 10 year deal set to expire at the end of August and the winner of the next 10 year tender, is yet to be announced by the Departmentof Foreign Affairs & Trade. According to AusNet's CEO, Bruce Dover, 'DFAT has indicated in the associated tender documents that in any case in the future, sports programming on the channel should be limited, as "much of the Sports [football] historically shown appeal more to the expatriate community rather than the target audience." Consequently, sports programming - be it NRL, rugby or AFL - will be significantly restricted on the channel after August 2011.'" -- This decision will either result in 1) fewer expats and more "target" audiences, or 2) fewer expats and a smaller overall audience. I would bet on the latter.

The Australian, 23 May 2011, Mark Day: "[T]his week ... the [Australian] government is expected to announce the winner of its tender process to supply the Australia Network international service for the next decade. This announcement was due three weeks ago, but it is in the Foreign Affairs portfolio of former prime minister Kevin Rudd, so I suppose it's no surprise that the industry is being kept waiting."

Update: The Australian, 25 May 2011, Sian Powell in Bangkok: "I once wrote a peevish email to the Australia Network, the channel funded by the Australian government. It screens overseas to give foreigners an idea of Australian life. The network is given to running some soaps, some English lesson specials, a few current affairs programs, and endless AFL and rugby league games. In my house it's known as the Footy Channel. Why, I asked, didn't the programmers screen international cricket matches? A prompt response made it clear; they couldn't afford it. ... So out here, in the cricket desert, we have tried various manoeuvres to listen in. I haven't yet managed to listen to the ABC's Grandstand coverage (although I have downloaded plug-ins too numerous to mention), but on the first day of each test the BBC's Radio 5 broadcast can be heard via the BBC website. But it seems it's only for that first day, after which the station reverts to taped announcements. So, asked a geeky friend, how about a proxy server? FoxyProxy was duly downloaded, and I managed to delude the BBC into thinking I lived in Britain. I got coverage for a few days, before the ruse stopped working. Now I'm back to the online scorecard, reduced to staring at fuzzy little lists on my computer screen - such is the extremely high price of living elsewhere."