Asia Minute: Australian Commercial Television Network in Financial Trouble

Jun 15, 2017

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The future of a major broadcaster in Australia is in question. Channel Ten is a commercial broadcaster that needed tens of millions of dollars—and several of its large investors decided not to extend their financial support. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

 


When it comes to commercial broadcasting in Australia, there are three networks of free over-the-air television.

While they’re the equivalent of American television networks, people generally call them “channels.”

Channel 9 and Channel 7 started in the 1950’s—Channel 10 went on the air in 1964.

As a columnist wrote Thursday morning in the Australian Business Review, “Channel Ten has always been the worst house on the free-to-air broadcasting street in Australia.”

And now the entire neighborhood is going downhill.

Audience measurement company OzTam says Australians are spending less time watching free over the air television. It’s still an average of more than two and a half hours a day, but that’s down nearly 20 percent from several years ago.

Channel 10 has been hit harder—in part because of a strategy pursuing younger viewers.

The government-run Australian Broadcasting Corporation quotes an industry media buyer as saying simply, “that demographic is not where the money is.” 

On Wednesday, Channel 10 went into what’s called “voluntary administration” – basically a form of bankruptcy aimed at restructuring.

Channel Ten is publicly traded—and its shares have gone from a high of around $33 a dozen years ago to an average of a little more than a dollar over the past year.

When trading was halted, the company’s last share valuation was 16 cents.