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Compare and contrast the origins of television in Australia and Britain.

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Name Louise Alexander ID s1545100 Subject 2117 FMC Tutor Jason Jacobs Tutorial Wednesday 12:00 N29_Theatre 3 Assessment Long Essay Due Friday 5th June 2003 Word Count 2,228 Title Question 1) Compare and contrast the origins of television in Australia and Britain. Broadcasting is an extraordinarily expensive business. To put to air even the most humble of programs requires trained personnel and complicated equipment to create just one hour of television can cost more than the average family home. So due to broadcasting being so expensive it is interesting that two countries alike in culture would choose comparative and yet contrasting techniques. Like in much of Australian culture, it has mimicked that of the British. It is hardly surprising considering Australia's heritage and being colonised by this England it seems only right that many things are done the same way. With regards to media both had similar beginnings. Radio was for a long time the prime source of entertainment and information and was followed by television that had a very different history in each country. By comparing and contrasting television's origins in either country we can see how entertainment changed in many different ways and how the beginnings of television had an enormous impact on broadcasting development. The British Broadcasting Company was founded as a monopoly radio broadcaster in 1922. The BBC dates from 1927 when, after extended heated parliamentary discussion about how the organization should function the 'Company' was relaunched as a 'Corporation' and given a Royal Charter. ...read more.


News and current affairs programmes were 'protected' from market pressures and both public and commercial broadcasters were required to schedule these programmes during prime time. Regulation commanded that both popular and less popular programming ought be scheduled in prime time viewing hours, therefore guaranteeing that the purposes of information and education did not become subservient to those of entertainment. It was further typified by a 'principled pluralism'2 whereby programme schedules were deliberately distorted to reflect the range of interests represented in a diverse society and to allow each sector to come into contact with the opinions and way of life of others. In contrast of Britain television broadcasting is that of Australian broadcasting. While they had similar beginnings, it was Australia who branched away from the broadcasting monopoly to begin its own way of television broadcasting. When the ALP was elected to federal office in 1929, it sought to establish an Australian version of the BBC on radio. Labour's legislation did not propose banning any commercial radio because such a nationalisation would have never passed the conservative dominated Senate. Besides this, proposals for a state monopoly would have been strongly opposed by the newspaper companies who had begun buying into the profitable commercial radio industry. Instead Labor accepted the dual system of broadcasting. Commercial stations would compete for audiences with the new ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission). Modelled on the BBC and designed to be comprehensive and independent, the new ABC would be a national radio broadcasting network funded by license fees paid by all who owned radios. ...read more.


In the beginning SBS programmes were transmitted through ABC TV and due to ABC seeming uninterested in permanent commitment to ethnic broadcasting, the government allowed for a SBS network and the statutory authority was replaced by the Independent and Multicultural Broadcasting Corporation (IMBC) and though partially funded SBS would also accept some supplementary advertising. The differences in television history of Britain and Australia have not just been about public broadcasting but also about commercial broadcasting. While governments in Australia procrastinated about whether to follow the British precedent and create a state monopoly over broadcasting, a commercial sector was allowed to develop by default. In Britain however an independent channel was began and even then it was followed by yet another public channel BBC2. The most obvious difference between these two nations television broadcasting is that of ownership and funding. ITV was a subscription service, and the subscribers are limited to existing independent companies also the channel C4 sells its own advertising time and is slightly similar to that of a commercial channel in Australia. The difference once again is that ITV own Channel 4 not a private entity as began in Australia. Even though the ABC and BBC have many similar characteristics the most obvious contrast is how the BBC is funded by licence, and ABC by a publicly funded national broadcasting system. The other major difference would have to be the proposals for a state monopoly - BBC had the monopoly system however the ABC was competing with other commercial stations very early on it its history. ...read more.

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