While the Community TV sector was successful (finally!) in gaining access to Digital Television, now comes the hard part where they have to now make the actual transition.
So while Melbourne’s C31 acknowledges that it received a donation from the Federal Government to help facilitate its move to digital, they claim it is not enough, so is calling on the wider community to get behind their community TV station and become a subscriber via their website.
Subscriptions for community media are nothing unusual – radio stations have lived on subscriptions for years and C31 in its early days also ran on subscriber funds but these days rely predominantly on program sponsors.
C31 is offering a three-tiered subscription structure – offering subscriptions of $31, $75 or $100 for one year – where members will receive quarterly updates on the station’s activities and programs as well as the knowledge that they are helping C31 make the long-awaited move to digital transmission which should give the station a clearer reception across Melbourne and increase the station’s potential audience as more viewers switch to digital televisions and tuners.
While C31 is preparing to upgrade to digital, its Sydney counterpart, TVS, is already up and running with a digital signal on UHF 29 (digital channel 44).
And it’s not only the community stations getting government assistance, regional commercial network WIN is also putting its hand out for government money to assist in its digital transition in regional areas of South Australia and Western Australia. The network, owned by Bermuda-based billionaire Bruce Gordon (pictured), is currently faced with the task of upgrading transmission facilities in both states – amounting to over 200 transmission sites – as it races to meet the analogue shutdown dates set down by the Government.
In Western Australia, WIN’s regional network covers the entire state, outside of Perth, via satellite and terrestrial transmission with a mix of Nine and Ten network programming. WIN’s regional South Australian operation comprises SES8 Mt Gambier and RTS5A Riverland, with both stations broadcasting the Seven Network on their primary service and a relay of the Ten Network on a secondary signal.
WIN also owns Nine Network stations NWS9 Adelaide and STW9 Perth.