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The Australian media landscape is set for a shake-up in 2010, with the ABC to launch Australia’s first free-to-air 24-hour television news channel.
The channel aims to provide constant coverage of breaking local and international news stories by harnessing the ABC’s existing network of regional and international newsrooms.
ABC managing director Mark Scott says the channel will usher in a new era for ABC news and current affairs.
“We can draw on the investment already made in the ABC, through its major newsrooms in every state and territory, 12 international bureaux and 60 regional newsrooms, to deliver to Australians a top-quality 24-hour news service that is comprehensive, independent and up to the minute.”
A number of new programs, focusing on world news, national politics and business, are also set to be launched alongside the ABC’s existing current affairs line-up.
It will also expand the ABC’s international presence through the Australia Network, allowing audiences in 44 countries access to the channel.
The channel has been developed without extra funding from the Federal Government, with the ABC citing previous changes in production and advances in technology to allow investment in new programming.
News director Kate Torney says it will give Australians greater access to the range of ABC news content.
“ABC journalists around the country and around the world produce hours of original, quality content each day,” she said.
“The news channel will give Australians more flexible access to our best reporting and analysis, along with an opportunity to watch breaking news as it happens.
“Australians can tap into news from the national broadcaster when they want it and where they want it through the new 24-hour news channel and also from services like ABC News Online, ABC News Radio and ABC Mobile.”
Mr Scott said the channel, which has been in development for several years, was the latest step in ensuring ABC News upholds its responsibility to provide innovative and comprehensive broadcasting to the Australian public.
“ABC News Breakfast on ABC2 has shown how effectively the ABC can deliver live breaking news, tapping into the full resources of the national broadcaster,” Mr Scott said.
“By putting TV cameras in radio studios, we have already been able to put on television some of the outstanding agenda-setting radio interviews from ABC programs such as AM, PM, Radio National Breakfast and a range of local radio programs.
“And over the past week we have witnessed the ABC’s capacity to cover breaking news with the crisis in Haiti. Our correspondents have provided dozens of live crosses into radio, television and online bulletins and programs.”
The news channel will be launched on the ABC’s HD channel, and forms the latest arm in the ABC’s widening TV presence, alongside the recently launched ABC 3.
The channel will be based out of a continuous news centre in Ultimo, enabling the content to be streamed across a number of different formats.
“No media organisation in the country is better equipped to deliver this channel than the national broadcaster,” he said.