New Directions, New Challenges
Edited By Stephen Cushion and Richard Sambrook
Chapter 22: 24-Hour News in Australia: Public Service and Private Interests
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24-Hour News in Australia1: Public Service and Private Interests
The story of 24-hour news provision in Australia is one of a competitive dynamic between two organisations: one public service media provider, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which produces News 24, and one commercial organization, News Corporation, which operates and owns the Sky News channel (alongside commercial operators Seven Media Group and Nine Entertainment Co).2 These rivals attract relatively small proportions of the country’s TV viewers, and like other “legacy” platforms must now compete also with an expanding range of online news providers eating into audience share. This essay considers the ways in which News 24 and Sky News seek to distinguish themselves from each other, and also how they are adapting to the enhanced competitiveness of the digitized, networked media environment.
24-HOUR NEWS IN AUSTRALIA: AN OVERVIEW
Sky News was launched in 1996 (Young, 2009), the first domestically produced 24-hour news channel in Australia. ABC launched News 24 in July 2010. Paying subscribers to the Foxtel digital network may access a range of externally produced 24-hour channels, such as Russia Today (RT), CNN and Al Jazeera, but in the Australian public sphere, addressing Australian issues and events, ABC News 24 and Sky News comprise a duopoly of real-time news provision.
These channels have relatively low audience ratings by comparison with Australia’s free-to-air TV. Where an edition of prime-time news...
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