Anyone in regional Australia who has paid attention to the FreeView advertising campaign currently running will notice that there are only two extra digital channels mentioned – ABC2 and SBS2. A far cry to the 15 that the previous campaign offered.
Compared to the ad that airs in the 5 metro markets, the regional version of the ad is fairly light on with information, making no mention of ONE HD at all. Even though, in northern NSW, we have PRIME HD (a retransmission of 7HD), there is no show of PRIME HD amongst the channel logos that appear in the top corner.
UPDATED: ONE HD is coming to SC10 Esatern States 7pm July 2. Now they can add the ONE logo to the regional version of the FreeView ad.
The metro version of the FreeView ad scrolls through 10 channel logos in the top corner. ABC1, SBS1, 7, 9, 10, ONE, ABC2, SBS2, 7HD, 9HD and makes mention of “there is even a 24 hour sports channel” – which of course is ONE. Based the information they show on the ad, it maybe enticing to some viewers to switch to digital TV knowing there will supposedly be 10 channels instead of the 5 currently.
The regional version for Northern NSW shows ABC1, SBS1, PRIME, NBN, SC10, ABC2 and SBS2 only.
So if you are in a regional area, where is the incentive to switch to digital? Not only are there less channels at this point in time, but adverse geographical conditions can lead to poor or even no digital signal being available at all. Furthermore, some regional areas of Australia do not even have 5 free to air channels to start with.
Unfortunately, what seemed like a good idea initially, has turned out to be more and more confusing for the population. Thankfully, they no longer promise 15 channels, but the ad and even the website contains little information driving confused viewers to find out what is going on themselves on websites like this.
The regional / metro difference is set to grow further later this year when both 7 and 9 launch their second digital channels. Because PRIME already shows 7HD break away content, it is likely that PRIME will also launch 7’s second channel at the same time as the metros get it. The same cannot be said for NBN who have indicated they have no plans to take on any of 9’s alternative or break away programming in the near future. This can be taken as meaning they will not go ahead with GO99 at the same time as channel 9. And besides, NBN would probably have to call it GO88 or 81 even.
As we know, ONE HD is coming to SC10 in Newcastle and its northern NSW broadcast area [updated] July 2 and only for eastern states at this stage. However, its arrival will have been many months after the 5 city metro markets have already been enjoying the 24 hour sports service.