28 January 2004
New digital commercial television service for Mildura/Sunraysia
The Australian Broadcasting Authority has allocated a third commercial television broadcasting licence for Mildura/Sunraysia and has released a proposal to assign a digital channel for the service.
The licence was allocated to Mildura Digital Television Pty Ltd, a joint-venture company owned by the two existing commercial television broadcasting licensees in the Mildura/Sunraysia licence area: WIN Television Mildura Pty Ltd and Prime Television (Victoria) Pty Ltd.
The new commercial television broadcasting service will broadcast to the same area as the existing commercial television broadcasting services in the Mildura/Sunraysia licence area. The licensee has 12 months to commence the new service.
The Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the Act) provides for the allocation of an additional commercial television broadcasting licence in markets where there are only two commercial television broadcasting licences in force.
‘The establishment of this service will add to the range of services and diversity of programming available to the people of Mildura/Sunraysia,’ said Lyn Maddock, ABA Acting Chair.
The additional commercial television broadcasting service is to operate in digital mode only. Today the ABA has released a discussion paper and draft variation to the digital channel plan for Victoria: Part 3 – Mildura/Sunraysia proposing to assign UHF digital 33 to Mildura Digital Television Pty Ltd.
The discussion paper and draft variation to the digital channel plan is available on the ABA’s website or by calling Freecall 1800 810 241.
The closing date for submissions is 5:00pm, Thursday 10 February 2005.
Media contact Donald Robertson, ABA Manager Media and PR on (02) 9334 7980.
Amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act (section 38B) streamlined the process for the allocation of a second 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 the ABA 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 a licence area outside a remote licence area is the date of the commencement of section 38B, which is 1 January 2001. The designated time for a licence area that is, or overlaps with a remote licence area is a time determined by the ABA. The designated time for the Mildura/Sunraysia licence area, which overlaps with the Remote Central and Eastern Australia television licence area, was determined by the ABA as 19 January 2004. The ABA received a joint notification from the existing licensees on 14 April 2004.
Secondly, the joint-venture company or single applicant may apply in writing to the ABA for an additional licence within 12 months after the designated time for the licence area. Mildura Digital Television Pty Ltd applied for the additional licence on 30 November 2004.
In accordance with the legislation, the ABA must allocate an additional licence to a joint venture company under section 38B so long as the ABA is satisfied that the company is jointly owned by the existing licensees.
If the ABA receives applications from both of the existing licensees, it must allocate the licence under a price-based allocation system determined by the ABA.
If the ABA receives only one application from an existing licensee, it must allocate the additional licence to that licensee.
What is the allocation fee?
The ABA has determined an allocation fee of $12,000 for the allocation of section 38B licences.
Some important features of licences allocated under s38B
The ABA must not allocate a licence to an applicant if the applicant is not a company formed in Australia with a share capital or if the ABA 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 second commercial television licence that has been allocated by the ABA under section 38B. A section 38B licence was allocated to TasTV Pty Limited in November 2002.