List of Australian television channels

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(Redirected from Television in Australia)

Australian television channels include two government owned national networks, three major commercial capital city networks, several regional commercial networks and independent stations that are generally affiliates of the major networks, and a handful of community stations.


Government networks

Australia has two (and a half) government owned national TV networks:


ABC TV (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) carries a variety of locally produced news, current affairs, and sports coverage, as well as arts and comedy. It also carries a lot of content from the United Kingdom. It has an output deal with the BBC, and has strong ties to Channel 4 (UK).

To match the commercial networks, ABC TV is often known as Channel 2 in the major capitals where it's broadcast on that frequency. However this name is never used on-air.


SBS (Special Broadcasting Service) was founded to cater for the roughly 1/3 of Australians that don't speak English in the home. Its role was to complement the ABC.

SBS TV has in recent years moved away from this audience, preferring instead to target a broader-based section of the Australian community. This was in part because of the emergence of pay-TV channels broadcasting entirely in ethnic minority languages, which are better placed to cater for such audiences. (A similar situation has arisen in the UK with Channel 4.) It was always difficult to cater to such a diverse audience as no one language (other than English) has a large proportion of speakers.

However, SBS does operate the SBS World News Channel on digital television, showing news bulletins from Malta to Indonesia. It also is part of the consortium that owns the subscription-only World Movies Channel.

SBS shows many non-English language films with English subtitles, and each morning shows news bulletins from around the world. It also has a lot of English-language PBS, CBC and BBC documentaries, and Comedy Central comedy. Acquired entertainment programs includes the US animated series South Park and the US version of Queer as Folk. It broadcasts the nightly World News in English, and makes other current affairs programs such as Dateline. SBS also commissions documentaries, co-produced with other broadcasters, movies and comedy programs. In the sporting field, it often screens soccer, cycling and athletics. It also screens more opera and classical music programs than the other free-to-air networks.


The "half" is Imparja. Imparja is owned by governments of various kinds, including the federal one. Its main channel (known as Imparja) is a commercial station affiliated with Nine and Ten, but it also produces some of its own programs. This makes it a bit like S4C, although it doesn't have the strong alternative language focus it has.

Imparja also has a second channel (Indigenous and Community TV - ICTV) which is used for non-commercial broadcasting. Many indigenous community broadcasters broadcast Imparja developed material, and content also flows back the other way.

NIRS (the peak Indigenous radio group), is lobbying the government to start a new, nationwide Indigenous TV network. No major political party has championed this cause however. Imparja has stated a desire to run such a network, at least within its licence area (Source (

Federal department DCITA is presently considering funding such a station. Public submissions into this inquiry ( are available on it's website.

Some have argued that all that would be required is the existing system plus some digital terrestrial carriage on the SBS mux, Pay TV carriage, and more funding for local Indigenous media groups.

Commercial stations

There are several commercial broadcasting companies:

Ownership and network affiliation do not necessarily align; see the table below for the relationships between stations. Markets served are shown by row; programming affiliation is shown by column; on-air name is shown in the body of the table, along with station ownership in brackets.

Region Seven Ten Nine
New South Wales
Sydney (Metropolitan area) Seven (Seven) Ten (Ten) Nine (PBL)
Northern NSW (Newcastle, Central Coast,Taree, Coffs Harbour, Lismore, Tamworth, Gold Coast(Qld)6) Prime (Prime) SC Ten (SCB) NBN (NBN)
Southern NSW (Wollongong, Canberra, Dubbo, Orange, Wagga Wagga) Prime (Prime) SC Ten (SCB) WIN (WIN)
Griffith 1 2 Prime (WIN) WIN (WIN)
Melbourne (Metropolitan area) Seven (Seven) Ten (Ten) Nine (PBL)
Regional Vic (Albury, Shepparton, Ballarat, Bendigo, Gippsland) Prime (Prime) SC Ten (SCB) WIN (WIN)
Mildura 2 Prime (Prime) WIN5 (WIN)
Brisbane6(Metropolitan area) Seven (Seven) Ten (Ten) Nine (PBL)
Regional Qld (Toowoomba, Mackay, Cairns, Townsville) Seven Qld (Seven) SC Ten (SCB) WIN (WIN)
Western Australia
Perth (Metropolitan area) Seven (Seven) Ten (Ten) Nine (Sunraysia)
Regional and Remote WA 3 GWN (Prime) WIN WA (WIN)
South Australia
Adelaide (Metropolitan area) Seven (Seven) Ten (Ten) Nine (SCB)
Regional SA (Spencer Gulf, Broken Hill (NSW)) 1 2 Central GTS/BKN (SCB) SC Ten (SCB) Central GTS/BKN (SCB)
Regional SA (Mt Gambier, Riverland) 1 2 WIN (WIN) WIN Ten (WIN) WIN (WIN)
Tasmania 4 Southern Cross (SCB) WIN (WIN)
  Ten (TDT) (SCB/WIN)
Northern Territory
Darwin Seven Darwin (SCB) 9 Darwin (PBL)
Remote Central and Eastern Australia (Remote NT, SA, Qld, NSW, Vic, Tas, Norfolk Island) 3 Seven Central (SCB) Imparja (Imparja)

1 One company has a monopoly in this area, as the ABA believed the viewers should have a choice of two commercial stations, even though there is only enough advertising revenue for one.

2 Non-aggregated area. Aggregation is the joining of multiple television markets into one, allowing all broadcasters to transmit to the new aggregated market.

3 Transmission via satellite for remote areas

4 Tasmanian Digital Television (TDT), a digital only station, only recently began broadcasting. Southern Cross, as the former sole broadcaster of Seven and Ten programming in the state, has retained significant Ten programming for the benefit of analogue only viewers. It is expected to align fully with Seven once digital television receivers are common enough that significant advertising revenues can be made via the platform.

5 Mildura Digital Television (MDT) a joint venture company between WIN and Prime, is due to start broadcasting in 2005. While its format has yet to be officially announced, it is widely expected to carry significant Network Ten programming. Very little Ten programming is currently available in Mildura (via WIN), and most of that is sport.

6 While there are a couple of areas where viewers can receive programs from more than one licence area, the Gold Coast is a special case. Despite clearly being only part of the Northern NSW zone, the Brisbane licensees produce separate feeds for the Gold Coast. Nine goes so far as to produce a special Gold Coast news service, available only in the area.

So the Gold Coast actually has six commercial broadcasters, but usually only three choices of viewing on these channels.

Commercial networks

There are three main commercial networks in Australia:

In the five major capital cities, the stations use these names. They are also used in some rural and remote areas.

In other areas, there are stations who contain just as much network programming as these stations, but use different names. In a few areas there are less than three commercial broadcasters, and these three streams find themselves on two stations.

Most of the commercial stations in the major capitals are owned by the same company that owns the network, and most rural and regional stations are owned by different companies. However, this rule is not absolute (as can be seen in the above table).

Regional and remote commercial networks

Regional and remote on-air names include:

Most stations using these names are clear extensions of the three major networks, and their on-air graphics usually make this very clear. Stations in the two channel markets generally look very much like one of the major commercial networks, with a few programs from one or two others thrown in.

As with the major metro stations, local content is usually only in the form of a nightly news program and advertising. Some stations import all their "local" news though, and some have a lot more local programming, like NBN.

Datacast stations

This is an interesting class of broadcasting that is little used.

Channels broadcast using datacast licences include Macquarie Digital (, Channel NSW (, Australian Christian Channel ( and Expo ( At present, datacast licenced channels are only regularly broadcast in Sydney.

Community stations

Some cities also have a community station. Although the stations are not strongly related, they are usually known as Channel 31 because most of them transmit on that frequency.

Current stations include:

TVSydney ( Channel 31 Melbourne & Geelong ( Briz31 (Brisbane) ( Access 31 (Perth) ( Channel 31 Adelaide ( LINC TV (Lismore) (

And dozens of ex-BRACS stations throughout remote Australia.

The main aspirant community TV group is Bushvision (, which looks like getting a licence in Mt Gambier in 2005, and plans to spread throughout rural Australia after this.

Other independent aspirant groups exist is other rural centres. Those in Bendigo, Ballarat, Victor Harbour/Goolwa and Hobart have applied for licences. (Source (

Stations without a Community licence, but with a similar format include:

Imparja Info Channel ( Westlink ( Schools Television ( Ballarat Community Cable TV (

and the Narrowcast TV stations.

Amateur stations

The Australian Amateur Radio bands include frequencies standard TVs can receive. A few hardcore amateurs make use of this by broadcasting video.

Channel 16 is usually used. Sometimes other frequencies are used, especially those used by satellite TV services. Most transmissions can be viewed and heard on a standard TV, but some transmissions require additional or other equipment.

A complete list of services (


Television Gladesville ( in Sydney transmits three nights per week on Channel 16 (VK2TVG). Channel 35 was used until July 2001 when the Australian Communications Authority reallocated Channel 35 to digital television. They operate the strongest ATV station in Sydney, using 1kW.

VK2RFM ( is another Sydney service, broadcasting from Oakdale. They use a variety of frequencies, including Channel 16.

VK2RTS broadcasts a good signal from Springwood on 16.

VK2RTG ( on the NSW Central Coast also uses Channel 16.


VK3RTV ( is Melbourne's main amateur transmitter - on Channel 16. This is located on Mt Dandenong, and broadcasts something most nights after 8pm.

List of Australian television callsigns

When each broadcaster is granted a license, they select a callsign. For commercial networks, these are generally three letters, followed by a number. The first two letters are selected by the licensee; the third letter indicates the state or territory; and the number indicates the frequency (channel) that the station broadcasts on at its primary site. For example, HSV-7 broadcasts on channel 7 in Victoria. Sometimes the third letter is used as part of the acronym or mnemonic to name the station - for example GTV represents 'General TeleVision' or 'General TV', although the V stands for Victoria.

With the onset of aggregation in regional areas, and now digital television, the callsigns do not retain the meaning that they did in the past. Stations will sometimes change frequency, or have different frequencies at different locations, such as re-transmission sites, where the same signal is re-broadcast in a different area. However the three letter codes have generally not changed and are still used within the industry.

A list of callsigns is show below, with original explanations of the callsigns, and alternate uses shown in brackets.

  • New South Wales/ACT
    • Sydney
      • TCN-9 - Television Corporation NSW
      • ATN-7 - Amalgamated Television NSW (1980s - "Australian Television Network")
      • TEN-10 - The number TEN (1990s - "The Entertainment Network")
    • Regional
      • Newcastle - NBN-3 - Newcastle Broadcasting and Television Corporation, New South Wales
      • Wollongong - WIN-4 - Wollongong Illawarra News/Network
      • Canberra - CTC-7 - Capital Television Canberra (?)
      • Lismore - RTN-8 (NRN-8 since aggregation)
      • Orange - CBN-8
      • Wagga Wagga - RVN-2 (CBN-2 since aggregation)
      • Tamworth - NEN-9 New England (?)
      • Coffs Harbour - NRN-11 Northern Rivers (?)
      • Dubbo - CWN-6 (CBN-6 since aggregation)
      • Griffith - MTN-9 Murrumbidgee Television (?)
      • Taree - ECN-8 (NEN-8 since aggregation)
      • Broken Hill - BKN-7 - BroKeN hill (?)
  • Victoria
    • Melbourne
      • HSV-7 - Herald Sun Victoria
      • GTV-9 - General TeleVision
      • ATV-10 (was 0) - Austarama TeleVision
    • Regional
      • Traralgon - GLV-10 Gippsland, Latrobe Valley
      • Shepparton - GMV-6 Goulburn Murray Victoria (VTV-6 since aggregation)
      • Bendigo - BCV-8 Bendigo Central Victoria (?)
      • Ballarat - BTV-6 - Ballarat TeleVision (now VTV-36 since aggregation and conversion from VHF)
      • Albury - AMV-4 Albury Murray Victoria (now AMV-11)
      • Mildura - STV-8 - Sunraysia TeleVision
  • Queensland
    • Brisbane
      • QTQ-9 - Queensland Telecasters/Television (?)
      • BTQ-7 - Brisbane Telecasters/Television (?)
      • TVQ-10 - TeleVision Queensland (?)
    • Regional
      • Townsville - TNQ-7 - Townsville/Telecasters North Queensland (now "Southern Cross Ten")
      • Toowoomba - DDQ-10 - (now RTQ-0) Darling Downs (?)
      • Rockhampton - RTQ-7 - Rockhampton Telecasters/Television Queensland, now part of WIN Television
      • Marybourough - SEQ-8 - (now STQ-8, originally WBQ-8) South East Queensland (?)
      • Cairns - FNQ-10 - Far North Queensland (part of Telecasters North Queensland- now "Southern Cross Ten")
      • Southern Downs - SDQ-4 - Southern Downs (now RTQ-42)
      • Mackay - MVQ-6 (now Seven Queensland)
      • Mt Isa - ITQ-8 - Isa Telecasters/Television (was part of Telecasters North Queensland, now owned by Southern Cross but operated as "Seven Central" and broadcasting Seven Network programming)
  • Western Australia
    • Perth
      • STW-9 - Swan Television
      • TVW-7 - TeleVision Western Australia (?)
      • NEW-10 - The NEW station (station began 1980s) (?)
    • Regional
      • Bunbury - BTW-3 - Bunbury Telecasters/Television (?) (now SSW-3)
      • Albany - GSW-9 (now SSW-9)
      • Kalgoorlie - VEW-8
      • Gerlandton - GTW-11 - Geraldton Telecasters/Television (?)
  • South Australia
    • Adelaide
    • Regional
      • Mt Gambier - SES-8 - South East South Australia
      • Port Pirie - GTS-4 - Gulf Telecasters
      • Riverland - RTS-5A - Riverland Telecasters/Television (?)
  • Tasmania
    • TVT-6 - TeleVision Tasmania
    • TNT-9 - Television Northern Tasmania
    • TDT-11 - Tasmanian Digital Television
  • Northern Territory
    • NTD-8 - Northern Territory/Telecasters/Television (?)
    • TND-34 - Territory/Telecasters/Television North (?)
  • Satellite broadcast licenses
    • Central and east
      • IMP - Imparja
      • QQQ - Queensland Queensland Queensland
    • West
      • WOW - WOW we've finally got two commercial TV stations (?)
      • WAW - Western Australia

See also

TV Idents and Presentation

External links


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