Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji will have access to more Australian television content through the PacificAus TV initiative delivered by Free TV Australia.
Programs such as Neighbours, MasterChef, The Voice, 60 Minutes, House Rules, Border Security: Australia’s Frontline and children’s program Totally Wild will be available for broadcast on local free-to-air channels. The initiative is worth AUD$17.1 million over three years.
Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said that the PacificAus TV Initiative is a great way to broaden audiences for much-loved Australian screen content.
“Our close neighbours across the Pacific can now enjoy more Australian television content including lifestyle programs, news, drama and sports on their local free-to-air television stations through the initiative. I want to acknowledge the efforts of FreeTV who made this possible,” Minister Fletcher said.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, said today’s announcement builds on the range of initiatives under Australia’s Pacific Step-up, strengthening links between Australians and people across the Pacific.
“Having the opportunity to watch the same stories on our screens will only deepen the connection with our Pacific family. For decades, many Pacific countries have had access to Australian programmes and televised sporting matches and this initiative will expand those entertainment options. Free TV Australia is in the process of finalising arrangements for sport to be broadcast from codes including netball, cricket, soccer, AFL and NRL,” Minister Payne said.
Assistant Defence Minister and Minister for International Development and the Pacific, the Hon Alex Hawke MP, said Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji are the first of seven countries that will receive Australian content through the initiative.
“The PacificAus TV initiative is a terrific demonstration of shared cultural ties and links between Australia and the Pacific. While Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji are the first to switch on to the Pacific TV initiative, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Nauru will follow in the coming months,” Minister Hawke said.
The PacificAus TV initiative will make the broadcast rights to 1000 hours of Australian television content available to broadcast partners in Pacific nations each year for three years.
Free TV Australia was selected to work with Australian commercial free-to-air television networks and Pacific partner broadcasters to supply premium Australian content, free of charge, to the Pacific broadcasters.
Content availability is based on consultation by Free TV Australia with Pacific broadcasters, and the additional Australian content is provided for programming by partner broadcasters as best meets their audience needs and other country-specific requirements.
PacificAus TV is the result of a partnership between Free TV Australia and the Federal Government.
“We are excited to share with our Pacific neighbours so many of the quality television programs that Australian audiences know and love,” said Bridget Fair, CEO, Free TV Australia. “Through our Pacific partner broadcasters PacificAus TV will offer the best of Australian drama, entertainment, children’s programming, sport and lifestyle shows to viewers in our region.”
PacificAus TV content will be supplied directly to Pacific Partner broadcasters using either a file-based internet distribution portal or satellite depending on the requirements in each nation. The local broadcasters will then incorporate the PacificAus TV content into their own broadcast services to meet their own audience and programming requirements.
“NBC is excited to be part of this Pacific TV initiative to incorporate Australian TV programs into our existing TV schedule,” said Kora Nou, Managing Director, National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) in PNG. “We are equally appreciative of the Australian Government’s commitment, through Free TV, to cover the licence costs of this content.
“While the initial arrangement will see us receive many popular Australian programs, we also look forward to sharing some of our local NBC content with our close Australian neighbours in the future.”
“The programs will greatly enrich the television content available to all Fijians,” said Stanley Simpson, Director Mai TV, Fiji. “We have received a great mix of drama, entertainment and educational programs that will both delight and inform our viewers on Mai TV. Sincere thanks to the Australian Government for the initiative.”
In some markets such as Tuvalu and Nauru, broadcasters do not currently have the necessary satellite dishes to receive the PacificAus TV content. Free TV has ordered satellite dishes for these broadcasters and, given the constraints on travelling presented by COVID-19, Free TV will offer remote support to local broadcasters with their installation.