An on air marketing announcement of the Freeview platform will take place tonight – the first time in Australian television history Seven, Nine, TEN, ABC and SBS have joined for a single campaign.

Prime, WIN and Southern Cross are also part of the not-for-profit organisation.

Network CEOs have gathered at Parliament House in Canberra for the launch by Minister of Communications Stephen Conroy.

Freeview will feature 15 channels, including those already on air, and an Electronic Programme Guide, at a date yet to be announced.
The advertisement signals the beginning of a marketing campaign for the digital platform, set to launch in 2009.

“Freeview is perhaps the most important thing to happen in Australian television since Bruce Gyngell made history back in 1956 with those three simple words, ‘Welcome to television’,” the ABC’s Kim Dalton says.

“Tonight’s event is historic because every free-to-air television network is represented. Our traditional rivalries have been suspended in the name of a shared vision, ensuring that every Australian is ready for the future of digital television.”

Is this a vein attempt to keep free-to-air television relevant and up-to-date? While people aren’t abandoning free-to-air and flocking to subscription TV, the availability of popular TV programming online has been a thorn in its side. There has to be a turning point in order for the medium to remain significant – perhaps this is it.