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Tuesday, 8 May 2012
Page: 4199

Australia Network

(Question No. 330)

Ms Julie Bishop asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in writing, on 24 March 2011:

(1) What is the target audience for the Australia Network, and was it determined by market research; if so, is this research publicly available.

(2) Has his department undertaken any studies to determine whether the Australia Network is reaching this audience; if so, when were they undertaken and what were the results.

(3) Did his department undertake a study of the Australian Network's effectiveness before the Government announced it would put out to tender a new 10 year contract.

(4) Does his department believe that television remains the best medium for reaching this target audience; if so, why.

Dr Emerson: The Minister for Foreign Affairs has provided the answer to the honourable member's question:

(1) The target audience comprises:

(a) decision-makers;

(b) emerging middle class;

(c) young aspirants;

(d) students; and

(e) regional nationals who are Australian alumni.

DFAT selected the target audience as the demographic sectors which would most likely form a dedicated and influential viewership, and achieve the overarching Commonwealth Objectives for the service, in particular the Objective of "providing a credible, impartial and independent voice, delivered to an international audience via innovative as well as conventional multimedia platforms". The selected target audience are also the priority demographic sectors to attract to viewership of Australia Network in terms of the Commonwealth's Objectives to:

promote an image of Australia as a dynamic and culturally diverse nation of the Asia-Pacific region and raise awareness of Australia's strengths and achievements across a range of fields;

present Australian perspectives on the world and foster public understanding of Australia's global and regional role; and

increase awareness of the close links between Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

(2) In accordance with the previous contract dated 4 August 2006 ('ABC Contract'), DFAT undertook a review of the performance of the ABC, including its reach to the target audience, in June 2010

the Network was available at that time in 31 million homes across 45 markets, through 640 rebroadcast partners (up from 460 in 2009).

This information was sourced from surveys Australia Network has subscribed to (as required under the terms of the ABC Contract). These surveys measure 'elite' viewership across markets (the target audience).

(3) Yes

The ABC contract set out detailed performance standards which were reported on annually and addressed the reach and appeal of the service, and the quality, relevance and credibility of programming, including of news, current affairs and business programs

the ABC Contract also required DFAT to undertake a detailed review of the performance of the ABC after three years of the term of the contract

this review was completed in June 2010.

(4) Television remains a key medium. DFAT anticipates that the rapid evolution of digital media services and technologies will continue. The Statement of Requirement, which formed part of the Request For Tender, therefore emphasised the Government's expectation of a modern up-to-date service, which is not limited to television, and which keeps pace with technological developments over the life of the contract.

The Statement of Requirement anticipated that greater efficiency and effectiveness would be delivered through increasing the Australia Network's online presence, increased use of social media and employment of new digital media technologies as alternative means to the television service of providing audio-visual content to target audiences.