Oz channels embrace Freeview brand

Australian TV’s worst-kept secret, the establishment of an Aussie version of the “Freeview” free-to-air digital TV brand, has finally been made official.

A consortium of free-to-air broadcasters has been formed to help drive take-up of the country’s DTT platform. Freeview shareholders include public broadcasters the ABC and SBS; metropolitan channels the Seven Network, the Nine Network and Network Ten; and regional channels Prime, WIN and Southern Cross. The ABC’s Director of Television, Kim Dalton, will chair the not-for-profit organisation.

Freeview will launch an awareness campaign over the coming months, ahead of major activity next year when the commercial networks will be allowed to multichannel in standard definition, lifting the number of DTT channels on the platform to 15. Seven, Nine and Ten already offer stand-alone high-definition channels and ABC and SBS both already offer DTT-only standard-definition channels as well as their main services, on both standard and high definition.

Other jobs currently on Freeview’s “to do” list include working with manufacturers to ensure appropriate technical standards are met on all TV and digital set-top box equipment carrying the new Freeview badge. Freeview will also work closely with all relevant areas of government to ensure consistent messaging.

Dalton said: “This is an extraordinary step forward for the free-to-air broadcasters. Together we have pioneered digital television in Australia, investing millions in infrastructure and converting our equipment and studios accordingly. Now it’s time for Australians to reap the rewards; Freeview will offer viewers more channels, great content and the very best quality picture and sound.”