Sky News ahead in race to run Australia Network in Asia
Thursday 18 Aug 2011
Sky News has trumped the ABC in the battle to win the A$223 million (US$234 million) deal to run Australia’s official TV service in Asia by snaring a landmark deal for television broadcasts in China, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The agreement signed with Chinese state television CCTV in Beijing yesterday, means live and breaking news stories from Sky News, part owned by Rupert Murdoch, will be broadcast in China with reciprocal rights back into Australia.
The deal makes it almost impossible for the ABC to match Sky News in the bid for the Australia Network to aggressively expand the audience in the China market.
”For the first time, Australian major news events will be seen live in China, and major Chinese news events seen live on Australia’s news channel,” said a statement from Sky News and CCTV.
An expansion into China was a key reason an independent public service panel set up to evaluate the bids initially backed Sky News to win the contract – only for the Australian government to intervene in the tender process and sideline the recommendation.
The contract is expected to be decided before mid-September.
In addition to China’s several English-language TV stations, Australian programmes will appear on one of the state broadcaster’s channels with Chinese captions.
Australia Network broadcasts news, drama, sport and English-language training programmes to 44 countries to promote Australian values to the region.