Promising future for Community Television

December 22, 2017

A message from Matthew Field, the General Manager of Channel 31:

2017 has been another year of upheaval for C31 – but the good news is we are still here, still on air, and will be through to June 2018 – as it currently stands.

It seems like a long time ago now that we learned our future was under threat from the Government’s insistence that our spectrum was needed for other purposes, way back in 2014.  As it currently stands those “other purposes” have yet to eventuate and we have been able to achieve a further four extensions thanks to our ongoing positive dialog with our Government partners and we hope that there may be more to come following a promised Roundtable meeting with the Minister and other stakeholders in early 2018.  Watch this space.

Since September 2014 C31 has undergone a significant transformation that in my view will stand us in good stead to take advantage of opportunities afforded by the growing move of audiences to online.

We have been supporting and encouraging our Producers to create content for online platforms and it’s been a fantastic to see long term TV aficionados taking up the challenge.  Online platforms, particularly social media platforms afford new opportunities to connect with niche and diverse audiences locally and globally.

We continue to refine the best way for us to distribute C31 content online.  We have learned that attempting to establish a C31 VOD platform (think Netflix) is extremely complex and costly, and that CTV producers are connecting with greater audiences via social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook.  The new C31 website links to our Producers YouTube channels and in this way we can drive audiences to find C31 content online.

We have been changing our business model to ensure that we remain viable and can grow without reliance on the whims of the Government of the day.  We have established new income sources from Live Streaming, Production Services and social media advertising services.  In 2017 we established Community Builder with the help of the Helen McPherson Smith Trust to support Victorian NFP’s to create content for their social media platforms, to grow their communities and communicate with their stakeholders.

Finally - we will continue to fight for access to Free to Air TV for as long as is viable – Community TV is the third pillar of the Australian broadcasting landscape, enshrined in the objects of the Broadcasting Services Act. TV is who we are and what we should be until the FTA signal is switched off – many years from now!

I’d like to thanks all of you for your ongoing support and to wish everyone a fantastic holiday season – onwards and upwards into 2018!

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