Australian TV Networks Land Datacasting Deals

The country’s national, publicly-owned television network, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC), is
set to move into multimedia with the help of the Victorian state government.

Cinemedia, the government’s film
and multimedia funding and development body, have agreed to each contribute
AUS$1.6 million in cash and in-kind resources over the next two years to
develop a Multimedia Production Accord.

The Accord has been developed to fund collaborative multimedia projects
between the Victorian independent production sector and the ABC.

This move comes less than a month after the ABC Multimedia Unit
demonstrated a functional datacasting system to its Board. Such
technologies that are actively being developed are certain to be pursued
with this new input of funding.

Datacasting is the transmission of Internet data and software alongside
television signals when digital television is introduced in Australia in
2001. The format of digital television signals is still a matter of
political debate, in spite of the local technological developments to carry
it.

While the Accord is similar in nature to local television production
accords, it is the first time it has been applied to the multimedia industry.

Australia’s other public broadcast network, the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), will
meanwhile receive AUS$2 million from the federal government to establish a
new media unit. This funding will come from the AUS$120 million Television
Fund derived from the next 16.6 percent sale of national telecommunications
carrier Telstra.

The funding, which was announced by acting Minister for Communications, Information Technology and
the Arts
, Peter McGauran, will be spent over the next five years.

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