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Deadline for Third Commercial Station Application

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:Pc=PC_100396" target="_blank">Source

23 December 2005

MR 69/2005

ACMA sets a designated time for a third commercial television service in Darwin

The licensees of Darwin’s two commercial television stations will have 90 days from 1 January 2006 to either jointly or separately indicate their intention to apply for a third, digital only, free to air commercial television licence for the Darwin area.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has determined 1 January 2006 as the ‘designated time’ to apply in the Darwin commercial television market.

‘Setting the designated time commences the process that may lead to the establishment of a third commercial television service for Darwin, unless some other mutual agreement is reached by the licensees,’ said Lyn Maddock, Acting ACMA Chair.

‘The provision of a third commercial television service in Darwin will provide people living in Darwin with the same number of free to air television services available in all metropolitan areas of Australia,’ she said.

The existing commercial television licensees in Darwin are Territory Television Pty Ltd (Nine Network), licensee of NTD Darwin and Telecasters Australia Pty Ltd (Southern Cross Broadcasters) licensee of TND Darwin. The licensees may apply for the third licence as a joint venture company or separately.

After submitting a written notice within 90 days of the designated time, the joint venture company or single applicants must apply for the licence within 12 months of the designated time. If Nine Network and Southern Cross decide to apply separately for the licence, ACMA will conduct an auction to sell the licence to the highest bidder.

Media contact: Donald Robertson, Media Manager on (02) 9334 7980.

Backgrounder

Section 38B of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the Act) sets out the process for the allocation of a new commercial television licence to licensees in markets where there are two commercial television licences in force. As long as neither of the existing licences were allocated under section 38A of the Act, the existing licensees may either apply for a licence as a joint venture company or apply separately.

When can a section 38B licence be allocated?

There are two steps involved in applying for a section 38B licence.

First, the existing licensees may give ACMA a single or joint ‘written notice’ stating that they will apply for an additional licence in the licence area within 90 days after the designated time for the licence area. The designated time for the Darwin licence area, has been determined by ACMA as 1 January 2006.

Secondly, the joint-venture company or single applicant may apply in writing to ACMA for an additional licence within 12 months after the designated time for the licence area.

In accordance with the legislation, ACMA must allocate an additional licence to a joint venture company under s38B if ACMA is satisfied that the company is jointly owned by the existing licensees.

If ACMA receives applications from both of the existing licensees, it must allocate the licence under a price-based allocation system determined by ACMA.

If ACMA receives only one application from an existing licensee, it must allocate the additional licence to that licensee.

What is the allocation fee?

There is a fee of $12,000 for the allocation of a section 38B licence if there is only one applicant.

Some important features of licences allocated under s38B

ACMA must not allocate a licence to an applicant if the applicant is not a company formed in Australia with a share capital or if ACMA decides that the applicant is not a suitable applicant in the terms set out in section 41(2) of the Act.

If the licence is allocated to a joint-venture company it is not possible to transfer the licence for a period of two years after the date of allocation.

This is the third commercial television licence that has been offered under section 38B, the previous licences being offered in the Mildura and Tasmania licence areas.

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My guess is ch 10 will be the third digital station as in tas with tdt. I doubt imparja will merge with scx and nine.

7seven

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Nah. It won't work.

I can't imagine Channel Nine Darwin bidding for a competitor 3rd commerical station full of Ten network programs.

Channel 9 Darwin is not in the same league as WIN. And Packer will frown and shake his head at the idea of one of his stations applying for a competing network license. He'd say a loud resounding NO!

My guess is Southern Cross or Imparja will bid for the 3rd commerical station.

Whoever set the designated date probably from his Canberra cosy room better make a lightning trip to the hot humid stormy monsoonal conditions in Darwin and walk across the park in Darwin to see the situation for himself including a visit to Imparja, southern cross and nine stations in Darwin and come back to his cosy Canberra office and start all over again.

And at the time of writing I am on hoildays and not in Darwin ATM.

William Walker

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Interesting... no mention of a required transmission date after the licence is handed out to someone though.

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Can imparja bid for the licence on their own if PBL and SCB dont?

No. They could do a deal with either giving them full control though.

SCB are likely to bid I think, with or without PBL. Even with a joint bid, SCB are likely to be the ones to run the show. Ten Darwin might potentially screen Yamba's Playhouse though :-)

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If anyone missed it, there was an article in Tuesday's NT News about this - it didn't add much except to say it could be up to a year after it's all sorted before the new channel starts broadcasting.

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Only the two existing commercial television licensees in Darwin may apply for the third licence. Either as a joint venture company or separately, Those two existing commercial television licensees are Territory Television Pty Ltd (Nine Network), licensee of NTD Darwin and Telecasters Australia Pty Ltd (Southern Cross Broadcasters) licensee of TND Darwin.

There are two steps involved in applying for a section 38B licence.

First, the existing licensees may give ACMA a single or joint ‘written notice’ stating that they will apply for an additional licence in the licence area within 90 days after the designated time for the licence area. The designated time for the Darwin licence area, has been determined by ACMA as 1 January 2006.

Secondly, the joint-venture company or single applicant may apply in writing to ACMA for an additional licence within 12 months after the designated time for the licence area.

In accordance with the legislation, ACMA must allocate an additional licence to a joint venture company under s38B if ACMA is satisfied that the company is jointly owned by the existing licensees.

If ACMA receives applications from both of the existing licensees, it must allocate the licence under a price-based allocation system determined by ACMA.

If ACMA receives only one application from an existing licensee, it must allocate the additional licence to that licensee.

What is the allocation fee?

There is a fee of $12,000 for the allocation of a section 38B licence if there is only one applicant.

Taken from:

http://www.acma.gov.au/ACMAINTER:STANDARD:...81:Pc=PC_100396

It is normally 12 months after the Third Licence is granted they the new service must be up and running. This has been the case for both Mildura & Tasmania. See:

New digital commercial television service for Mildura/Sunraysia:

http://www.acma.gov.au/ACMAINTER.131684:ST...981:pc=PC_91658

New digital commercial television service for Tasmania:

http://www.acma.gov.au/ACMAINTER.131684:ST...981:pc=PC_91270

Mark

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I posted this on the Mildura Thread. However I thought I'd post it here as well since it is relevent.

Will the existing Digital TV Services in Darwin change when the third channel starts broadcasting, and align their programming completely with the Nine and Seven Networks programming? Leaving their Analog Services as they have been. I asked because I dug out some old info I had on the Governments 'REVIEW OF UNDERSERVED REGIONAL TELEVISION LICENCE AREAS' Issue Paper, to post in a thread about Griffith and Solus Licence areas. See:

http://www.dtvforum.info/index.php?showtop...=0entry320164

As I read back over it I noted a few things about the Third Licence (Digital Only) in Section 38B Licence areas. See:

http://www.dcita.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_...cence_Areas.pdf

Anyway if you look at pages 8 & 9 it states the following:

....Section 38B potentially provides viewers in two operator markets with the ability to

watch three commercial channels. However, as the third commercial licence is

available only as a digital television service, broadcasters need to make decisions about

the balance of programs between the two original services in the market, and the new

digital-only service.

The normal simulcast provisions apply to the two ‘original’ services – the same

programs must be provided in both analog and digital form. If the two operators were

to immediately change their analog services (and the digital simulcast of those services)

to straight network feeds and provide the third network’s programming only on the

digital section 38B service, viewers without access to digital services would lose the

programs from one network. This would particularly be an issue in the early stages of

the roll out of digital services, as the digital service would not yet be available in some

areas.

The first section 38B service, TDT, commenced broadcasting in Hobart in December

2003 and in Launceston and surrounding areas in July 2004. The new service takes Ten

Network programming, with Southern Cross’ existing service retaining a mix of Seven

and Ten programs. Consequently, a number of programs are shown on both channels

with some broadcast at the same time. However, as the rollout of the TDT service has

not been completed and viewers outside Hobart and the Launceston area currently do

not have reception of TDT, the alternative of aligning Southern Cross fully with the

Seven Network would mean that Ten programs are no longer available to these viewers

in any form until the new digital service is rolled out.

An option may be to permit continuation of the current mixed-network program

selection arrangements for the analog service, but allow an exception to the general

simulcasting rule in two operator markets when a section 38B digital service

commences, so that the operators can offer three services based on the Seven, Nine and

Ten network in digital (with local programming from the analog services as required).

This would enable viewers with digital set-top boxes to view three commercial

networks, similar to viewers in metropolitan and aggregated regional markets, but allow

viewers accessing only analog television to view a mix of network programming.

Analog viewers would not lose programs, and at the same time there could be an

incentive for viewers to convert to digital. However, broadcasters may not wish to avail

themselves of this option due to the costs involved.....

So I'm wondering you will have three completely different Digital Services operating in Darwin with each only offering programming for the Network that they are aligned to? This would mean that the two existing Analog Service/s would/could be showing different programming to the Digital Service with the same name.

Mark

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Ah interesting - a joint venture, thanks for the link!

Yes it is a joint venture, and this is the best way around it as the money coming in from the 3rd commercial can be split evenly between the two original commercials, where as if only 7 or 9 took it then they would have an unfair advantage over the other.

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So what is the end result likely to be with the joint venture? Sounds as though the new station will be digital only which is fine by me. Will it show predominantly channel 10 programs?

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My guess would be that it would show Ten programs because you would be in a similar situation to Tasmania. You have Southern Cross Darwin which as far as I know runs pretty much a copy of Southern Cross Tasmania and is affiliated with both Seven and Ten and Nine Darwin being a Nine Affiliate.

Tasmania also has TDT which is a Ten affiliate only, so once a digital only station became available in Darwin, Southern Cross could become a full 7 affiliate, Nine stays the same and the new station would become a full Ten affiliate.

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Yeah except that the new station cant be a ten affiliate if it is a joint venture by southern cross and ch9. I think perhaps the deal will see imparja come to darwin as a swap for ch9 going into alice springs. Not sure what that would mean for programming on imparja - would mean a bit of change though

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Yeah except that the new station cant be a ten affiliate if it is a joint venture by southern cross and ch9. I think perhaps the deal will see imparja come to darwin as a swap for ch9 going into alice springs. Not sure what that would mean for programming on imparja - would mean a bit of change though

I forgot about Imparja.

Why can't it be a ten affiliate if it's a joint venture? TDT is owned by both Southern Cross and WIN Television and it is a Ten affiliate.

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I forgot about Imparja.

Why can't it be a ten affiliate if it's a joint venture? TDT is owned by both Southern Cross and WIN Television and it is a Ten affiliate.

Well then maybe it can be ten then. Just seems a bit strange to me. The more I think about it the more I wonder how it will work.

If imparja comes to darwin then obviously they can't broadcast the same programs that are already showing on southern cross or nine. But if they become completely ch10 and southern cross revert to completely ch7 then everyone without a set top box in darwin would not have access to any of ch10 programming. But then I guess they dont get that much at the moment....

Looks as though the whole thing has stalled anyway - which is a shame. Darwin could really do with a third commercial channel.

On another point - what is going happen to footy next year in darwin when 9 lose the rights and there is no channel 10? southern cross can't show all of ch7's and ch10's coverage???

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On another point - what is going happen to footy next year in darwin when 9 lose the rights and there is no channel 10? southern cross can't show all of ch7's and ch10's coverage???

Wanna make a bet?

Southern Cross in Tasmania, the 7 and 10 affiliate, Will show all games next season, all on one channel and all without ads during the quarter

I dont think any other place in Australia is doing that, unless Southern Cross in Darwin pitch in.

As it stands, Mildura's Prime and Win will take coverage next year (Win is, in the absence of a Ten network on analogue, despite having a Ten on digital)

In WA, GWN and Win will take coverage (once again, Win is in the absence of a Ten network)

I believe Griffith is in the same boat as Mildura as well

In NT, Southern Cross and Imparja are set to take it (Imparja in the absence of a Ten network)

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Southern Cross in Tasmania, the 7 and 10 affiliate, Will show all games next season, all on one channel and all without ads during the quarter

If foxtel doesn't pick up the three live games a week that were formerly on Fox Footy, Southern Cross will not be able to broadcast all games live, for example if there are two afternoon games and two night games on a Saturday as there was on most Saturdays in 2006 , they won't be able to show them live.

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"As it stands, Mildura's Prime and Win will take coverage next year (Win is, in the absence of a Ten network on analogue, despite having a Ten on digital)"

Are you sure on this point? I thought that was only for 2006. It was a crappy venture to ensure the people who didnt fork out for a STB when TEN Digital were not denied football coverage in Mildura.

I think next year it is every man for himself. I am of the opinion that WIN Mildura will not telecast AFL.

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Yeah except that the new station cant be a ten affiliate if it is a joint venture by southern cross and ch9. I think perhaps the deal will see imparja come to darwin as a swap for ch9 going into alice springs. Not sure what that would mean for programming on imparja - would mean a bit of change though

At the moment 95% of imparja is showing channel 9....even its news, themes is all from channel 9 just with a blue ball with imparja logo rotating to "GOT IT ALL"

Maybe Sthn Cross Central as it uses 7 programs 100% of the time, may follow Darwin, Port Pirie and Tasmania to use 7 & 10 programs.

Its pathetic that they call themselves southern cross central, when they use 7 and its gottaloveit theme. SC10 uses its own logos! which mind u sc10 logo has appeared on SC central.

So my guess is that sthn cross darwin will produce channel 10 as the do in tassie n S.A. hopefully they will extend the footprint to the alice!

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"As it stands, Mildura's Prime and Win will take coverage next year (Win is, in the absence of a Ten network on analogue, despite having a Ten on digital)"

Are you sure on this point? I thought that was only for 2006. It was a crappy venture to ensure the people who didnt fork out for a STB when TEN Digital were not denied football coverage in Mildura.

I think next year it is every man for himself. I am of the opinion that WIN Mildura will not telecast AFL.

If WIN don't telecast the Channel Ten matches in Mildura next year, then all those people who havent got a STB will miss out on half of the games for each round

It would be in the best interest of WIN to keep on telecasting Channel Ten matches next year, and most likely live while Ten Digital play what Melbourne plays...most likely on a delay

I would like to think that Prime, or even Southern Cross Central can play the football without interruption until the siren goes for each quarter (no ads when goals are kicked) But....then again

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hmm.. nice to see some movement, but they've still got another 12 months to commence broadcasting...

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There was an article in Saturday's paper about this... they are going to get the extra shows that are currently broadcast on Channel 10 that aren't being shown up here...

May 9th is their target start date though - long way off.

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