Sky News-backed Australia Channel to launch in November
Rebecca Hawkes
| 30 October 2014
The Australia Channel, which replaces ABC's Australia Network, is to provide 24-hour news across Australia and the wider Asia-Pacific region from 1 November 2014.

Backed by Sky News Australia a joint venture between Australian free-to-air TV networks Seven and Nine, and BSkyB the new channel will be anchored by Stan Grant, formerly of CNN, among other seasoned Australian journalists.

Australia Channel which is aimed at Australian expatriates will be distributed by Hong Kong-based Lightning International and will be available as either a premium channel or formatted for a broader audience, depending on the territory.

In addition to news from Australia's Parliament in Canberra, the commercial centres of Sydney and Melbourne and the Australian Stock Exchange, sports updates will cover all major sports including cricket, AFL, NRL and racing events such as the Melbourne Cup.

"Our production centres across Australia are committed to produce high quality news, business, weather and sports programming in real time for our viewers to Australia Channel," said Angelos Frangopoulos, CEO, Australian News Channel at the CASBAA Convention in Hong Kong.

James Ross, CEO, Lightning International, added: "Angelos and his experienced news and production teams have a vast experience of producing channels customised specifically for their audiences, as well as delivering timely content, in a fresh and exciting way. We are looking forward to a long relationship with this fantastic new channel, which has great opportunities ahead of it."

ABC's Australia Network was axed in the federal budget after totalling AUD223 million (US$197 million) in operational costs over the past decade. It stopped broadcasting at the end of September 2014.