The initiative - worth $17.1 million over three years - will see programs such as Neighbours, MasterChef, The Voice, 60 Minutes, House Rules, Border Security: Australia’s Frontline and children’s program Totally Wild available for broadcast on local free-to-air channels across the Pacific.
The PacificAus TV initiative, announced on Monday, will make the broadcast rights to 1,000 hours of Australian television content available to broadcast partners in Pacific nations each year for three years.
Free TV Australia was selected to work with Australian commercial free-to-air television networks and Pacific partner broadcasters to supply premium Australian content, free of charge, to the Pacific broadcasters.
The Government said on Monday that content availability is based on consultation by Free TV Australia with Pacific broadcasters, and the additional Australian content is provided for programming by partner broadcasters “as best meets their audience needs and other country-specific requirements”.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne, said today’s announcement builds on the range of initiatives under Australia’s Pacific Step-up, strengthening links between Australians and people across the Pacific.
“Having the opportunity to watch the same stories on our screens will only deepen the connection with our Pacific family. For decades, many Pacific countries have had access to Australian programmes and televised sporting matches and this initiative will expand those entertainment options. Free TV Australia is in the process of finalising arrangements for sport to be broadcast from codes including netball, cricket, soccer, AFL and NRL.”
Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, said that the PacificAus TV Initiative is a “great way to broaden audiences for much-loved Australian screen content”.
“Our close neighbours across the Pacific can now enjoy more Australian television content including lifestyle programs, news, drama and sports on their local free-to-air television stations through the initiative. I want to acknowledge the efforts of FreeTV who made this possible,” Minister Fletcher said.
Assistant Defence Minister and Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Alex Hawke, said Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji are the first of seven countries that will receive Australian content through the initiative.
“The PacificAus TV initiative is a terrific demonstration of shared cultural ties and links between Australia and the Pacific. While Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji are the first to switch on to the Pacific TV initiative, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Nauru will follow in the coming months,” Minister Hawke said.