Sky News Australia

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Sky News Australia
Sky News Australia logo
CountryAustralia
Broadcast areaOceania
Programming
Language(s)English
Picture format576i (SDTV 16:9)
1080i (HDTV)
Ownership
OwnerAustralian News Channel
(News Corp Australia)
Sister channelsSky News Weather Channel
Sky News Extra
History
Launched19 February 1996[1]
Links
Websiteskynews.com.au
Availability
Terrestrial
SCA (as Sky News Regional)Channel 56
WIN Television (as Sky News Regional)Channel 53 (Northern NSW)
(Mount Gambier/Riverland)
(Griffith NSW/Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area)
Cable
FoxtelChannel 600/103
Channel 291 (HD)
OptusChannel 600/103
Neighbourhood CableChannel 21
Satellite
FoxtelChannel 600/103
Channel 291 (HD)
Sky (NZ)Channel 085
IPTV
Foxtel NowChannel 600/103
Vodafone TV (NZ)Channel 085
Streaming media
Australia ChannelWatch live
Sky Go (NZ)skygo.co.nz

Sky News Australia is an Australian 24-hour cable and satellite news channel available on the Foxtel, Optus Television, and Flash News subscription platforms and on free-to-air television in regional and non-metropolitan areas throughout Australia. It is also available in New Zealand on Sky Television and Vodafone.[1] Since its takeover by the Murdoch family in 2016,[2] and the subsequent sale of Murdoch's remaining shares in Sky Britain to COMCAST,[3] Sky News Australia has no relation to the British Sky News.

Sky News Australia launched at 5 pm[4] on 19 February 1996, as the first Australian-produced television news channel. The channel aired its 50,000th unique newscast on 23 April 2003 at 11 am.[5] Sky News was added to Austar on 1 April 2000.[6] In 2004, Sky News began broadcasting Sky News Active, its on-demand interactive TV news service.[1] In 2008, Sky News launched the Sky News Business Channel, and on 20 January 2009, Sky News launched Australian Public Affairs Channel (A-PAC). It began widescreen broadcasting on 17 May 2009.[7] Sky News Australia began broadcasting in high definition on 1 December 2015.[8][9] A fourth spin-off channel, Sky News Election Channel, was launched on 1 May 2016.[10] In July 2017, Sky News became provider of Fox Sports News.

In mid-2019, the channel began expanding its digital operations.[11] This included a content partnership with YouTube, Microsoft News, Facebook and Taboola.[12] That led to new, opinion-focused videos being uploaded more frequently and across News Corp platforms, after having previously not uploaded any videos from February 2017 to April 2019.[11]

Corporate history[edit]

Australian News Channel Pty Ltd logo

Sky News Channel's parent company, Australian News Channel (ANC), was owned equally by British Sky Broadcasting (now Sky Limited; which is now a division of Comcast), Seven Media Group and Nine Entertainment Co., each with a 33% stake in the company from its founding until December 2016, when it was acquired by News Corp Australia.[13]

In 2013, Sky News Australia was granted A$20 million in funding from its parent company to be used over three years.[14]

Sky News Australia's online domain

Until 2015, Sky News was responsible for producing New Zealand's Prime News - First at 5:30 from Sydney, hosted by Eric Young with filming taking place in Prime's Albany studios. It lost the contract to MediaWorks and subsequently ceased broadcasting a local New Zealand bulletin.[15]

In February 2018, Sky News Australia launched a digital-first brand and content platform called 2600. The online political newsletter is sent out daily with breaking news from Canberra.[16]

Programming[edit]

Sky News programming consists of a mix of live news bulletins, live broadcasts from events (such as Parliament Question Time and selected press conferences), original commentary panel programs and simulcasts of international sister station Sky News UK. Sky News has broadcast every sitting of Question time from the House of Representatives since its launch in 1996.[17]

Sky News Australia increased its primetime programming offerings, particularly its political themed shows, significantly in 2013, when it made more obvious its right leaning ideology, ahead of the 2013 federal election, canceling almost entirely the slot's rolling news block News Night.[14] It would then regain most of its runtime in 2014. Sky News Australia rebranded on 19 January 2015 as "Sky News Live", dropping the "Sky News National" branding.[18]

On weekdays, throughout most of the day, rolling news coverage is presented from one of Sky News Australia's studios. From 5pm (AEST/AEDT), commentary programs begin, and continue through primetime until 11pm AEST/AEDT. Most of these programs are presesented by conservative commentators discussing the news of the day, often with a panel of other commentators, and feature a news update at the beginning of the program (and sometimes further updates during the program). Rolling news continues from 11pm AEST/AEDT before coverage switches to an overnight simulcast of Sky News UK at 1am AEST/AEDT.

In 2007, Sky News aired local breakaway programming for New Zealand viewers in primetime, filmed at Prime NZ's Auckland studios. One of these programs, Prime News - First at 5:30, was also simulcast to Australian viewers.[19] The debut of Sky News NZ Evening News was watched by just 1,500 viewers and panned by critics.[20] As of 2015, no local New Zealand programs are produced or broadcast following the loss of a production contract with Prime NZ.[15] However the channel debuted New Zealand Agenda on 16 June 2018, hosted by New Zealand bureau chief James O'Doherty from Wellington, New Zealand, focusing on NZ politics.[21]

Current programs[edit]

Presenters and reporters[edit]

Sky News Australia broadcast equipment.
Kieran Gilbert, reporting from the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

News presenters[edit]

Program presenters[edit]

Reporters[edit]

  • Charlotte Mortlock and Danica De Giorgio - Sydney
  • Andrea Crothers, Gabriella Power and Patrick Murrell - Melbourne
  • Trudy McIntosh and Eliza Edwards - Canberra
  • Brendan Smith and Anna Rawlings - Brisbane
  • Emily Burley - Adelaide
  • Julia Bradley - Gold Coast
  • Matt Cunningham - Darwin
  • Emily Evans - Perth
  • Jackson Williams - Wellington, NZ.

Contributors[edit]

Former presenters and reporters[edit]

Bureaus[edit]

The Sky News Melbourne bureau is within the Foxtel headquarters in Southbank, Victoria.

Sky News Australia has a bureau in every capital city in Australia, completing this with the opening of its Hobart studio in 2013.[14] In 2016, it opened a bureau in Cairns, making it the first non-capital city bureau.[38] In 2017, a Gold Coast bureau was opened marking the third non-capital city studio after Cairns and Geelong.[39]

The base of Sky News Australia is in the Sydney suburb of Macquarie Park, from which the majority of its news and programming is broadcast. Its Melbourne studio was upgraded in 2014, allowing it to be used as a secondary broadcast studio.[40] Hinch Live became the first regular program to be broadcast from Melbourne.[41] Ahron Young is the Melbourne Bureau Chief.[42]

The third major bureau is in Parliament House, Canberra, opened in 2000.[17] Lyndal Curtis became Bureau Chief of in October 2015.[43] Additionally, Sky News has a small office in the Channel Seven building in Martin Place, which includes a small street-level single camera studio which looks onto Elizabeth Street, Sydney.[44]

Internationally, Sky News's only foreign bureau is in Wellington, New Zealand, opened in 2015.[45][46]

Resources[edit]

Apart from its own resources, Sky News Australia uses the news resources of its former parent companies Seven News, Nine News and Sky News UK, as well as sister network Fox News Channel. It signed a four-year partnership deal with CNN International, commencing on 1 January 2011, and additionally has agreements with CCTV China, ABC America, CBS, Reuters, APTN, Bloomberg, Dow Jones and Newshub.[47] Sky News UK, ABC and CBS were founding international partners of Sky News Australia.[48]

Reception[edit]

Ratings[edit]

The highest rating broadcast on Sky News Australia was an episode of Paul Murray Live on 26 June 2013 (following the 2013 Labor leadership spill), averaging 197,000 viewers across a special two-hour broadcast. The highest audience share Sky News Australia has achieved was during coverage of the 2009 Victorian bushfires.[49]

On 15 December 2014 during the Sydney Lindt cafe siege, coverage of the unfolding incident took 16 of the 20 most watched programs on the Foxtel platform. The 7pm (AEST) hour was the highest rated at 109,000 viewers.[50] Sky News achieved a day time share of 2.6% (behind ABC News 24's 3.8%) and a primetime share of 1.5% (behind ABC News 24's 2.5%).[51]

Sky News Live rated 56,000 viewers for early evening coverage of the 2015 Queensland state election, and 83,000 viewers for later coverage, beaten by ABC News 24's coverage which was watched by 195,000 viewers nationally.[52] For its coverage of the failed Liberal leadership spill on 9 February 2015 between 9am and 10am, Sky News Live was the second most watched subscription channel and the coverage was the third most watched program of the day with 69,000 viewers.[53]

Sky News Live reached a total audience of 700,000 viewers on 14 September 2015 (including simulcast on Sky News Business) during the 2015 Liberal leadership spill. It was the most watched subscription television channel for the evening and outrated all free-to-air television channels between 11pm and midnight AEST.[54] The highest rated hour of coverage was from 10pm, achieving 190,000 viewers, the second highest ratings since the 2013 Labor Party spill.[55][56]

A March 2016 article in The Guardian Australia reported Sky News averages 12,000 national viewers between 6pm and midnight, with a peak of 18,000 between 8pm and 10pm, although the report did not specify what days or dates this average refers to.[57]

During the 2016 federal election, Sky News averaged 96,000 viewers, an increase of 46% from the 2013 election.[58]

In July 2018, Sky News claimed to have achieved its highest ratings on record, with viewership up 9% overall and its weeknight primetime (6pm-11pm) viewership 25% higher on the same period last year, according to OzTAM figures.[59][60]

In August 2018, coverage of the Liberal Party of Australia leadership spill, 2018 saw Sky News gain its highest Tuesday primetime audience ever with a 4.2% audience share. Speers, Credlin and Jones & Co all had their highest-rated episodes on record.[61]

Criticism, controversies, and political bias[edit]

Sky News Australia is very widely considered to have a significant conservative, right wing bias.[62][63] In 2017, Denis Muller, a senior research fellow at the University of Melbourne's Centre for Advancing Journalism, described the channel as having a "split personality," running straight news bulletins and reporting during the day with professional and independent journalists and presenters, while moving towards "right-leaning punditry" in prime time.[64] Drawing a strong comparison to Fox News, the network began moving towards panel-based programming from 2010, with most of its highest profile prime time commentators conservative.[65][66] Hosts Andrew Bolt and Paul Murray have been compared to Fox News presenters Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity respectively.[64] In February 2021 Muller, commenting on former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's statement that Sky News was following a pattern laid down by Fox News, described the night time programming of Sky News as including "the unconstrained peddling of extreme right-wing propaganda, lies, disinformation, crude distortion of fact and baseless assertions..."[67]

In August 2018, Sky News was heavily criticised for providing a platform to Blair Cottrell, leader of the far-right, Neo-Nazi organisation United Patriots Front in a one-on-one discussion about immigration on The Adam Giles Show. Sky News presenters, including Laura Jayes and David Speers, were among those critical (both on-air and off-air) of his appearance on the program due to the fact that he has expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler and claimed to have manipulated women "using violence and terror."[68][69] Sky News commentator and former Labor Party minister Craig Emerson resigned in protest after the interview was broadcast, stating that "My father fought Nazis in WWII and was interred in a German POW camp", and that the decision to give Cottrell a platform on Sky News was "another step in a journey to normalising racism & bigotry in our country".[70] Activist groups called on advertisers to pull advertising campaigns off Sky News in the wake of the channel's interview with Cottrell.[71]

The channel is a strong critic of the Australian Labor Party, often publishing editorials which condemn their actions whilst simultaneously promoting and endorsing the policies of the Liberal and National parties of Australia. Victorian premier Daniel Andrews, Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Western Australian premier Mark McGowan are often strongly ridiculed and opposed by the channel. Since the beginning of Daniel Andrews' term as premier in 2014, reporters at Sky have often referred to him as a 'Dictator'[72] and a 'Chairman',[73] drawing a comparison to socialist and communist regimes.

In November 2018, Sky News terminated the contract of former Liberal Party MP and late-night presenter Ross Cameron for using racist language to describe Chinese people.[74]

In the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings in March 2019, Sky News Australia was temporarily removed from Sky New Zealand's satellite platform, amid concerns over how the channel's coverage could potentially affect the investigation into the attack; Fox Sports News was added to the platform as a replacement.[75][76] Sky News Australia was restored to Sky New Zealand on 21 March, six days after the attack.[77]

On December 13, 2020, Rowan Dean promoted the Great Reset conspiracy theory on Sky News Australia, claiming that "This Great Reset is as serious and dangerous a threat to our prosperity – to your prosperity and your freedom – as we have faced in decades".[78]

Sky News Australia has been a frequent critic of US President Joe Biden ever since he took office on January 20, 2021. Some reporters such as Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones have frequently commented about Biden's mental health, claiming it was declining and that Biden is unfit to be the President.[79][80]

YouTube ban[edit]

On August 1, 2021, YouTube barred Sky News Australia from uploading new content onto their channel for a week for breaking YouTube's rules on spreading COVID-19 misinformation.[81] Upon the channel's return to the platform, Sky News Australia published a piece titled 'Uncancelled: Sky News Australia Set Free" wherein Digital Editor Jack Houghton claimed the channel's temporary banning was the result of Silicon Valley and left-wing media attempting to stifle free speech.[82]

Accolades[edit]

List of accolades
Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result
2007 2007 ASTRA Awards Most outstanding performance by a presenter David Speers Won
Most Creative Use of Technology Anytime, Anywhere Nominated
2008 Logie Awards of 2008 Most Outstanding News Coverage Federal Election Nominated
2008 ASTRA Awards Most outstanding performance by a presenter David Speers Won
Most outstanding performance by a broadcast journalist Kieran Gilbert Won
Mike Willesee Nominated
Most outstanding performance by a presenter Hellen Dalley Nominated
Channel of the year Sky News Australia Nominated
Favourite male personality James Bracey Nominated
David Speers Nominated
Favourite female personality Helen Dalley Nominated
Brooke Corte Nominated
Most Outstanding News Program or Coverage APEC 2007 Won
2009 2009 ASTRA Awards Most Outstanding Performance by a Broadcast Journalist David Speers Won
Favourite male personality Kieran Gilbert Nominated
2010 Logie Awards of 2010 Most Outstanding Public Affairs Report Liberal Leadership Meltdown Nominated
2010 ASTRA Awards Most Outstanding Performance by a Broadcast Journalist Kieran Gilbert Won
2011 Logie Awards of 2011 Most Outstanding News Coverage Election 2010 Nominated
2011 ASTRA Awards Most Outstanding Performance by a Broadcast Journalist Ashleigh Gillon Won
Most Outstanding Performance by a Presenter David Speers Won
Most Outstanding News Program or Coverage Election 2010 Won
2012 Logie Awards of 2012 Most Outstanding News Coverage Qantas Grounded Nominated
2012 ASTRA Awards Most Outstanding Performance by a Presenter David Speers Won
2013 Logie Awards of 2013 Most Outstanding News Coverage Rudd Vs Gillard Leadership Challenge Nominated
2013 ASTRA Awards Most Outstanding Performance by a Broadcast Journalist Ahron Young Won
Favourite personality - male Paul Murray Nominated
Favourite Programme Australian Paul Murray Live Nominated
2014 Logie Awards of 2014 Most Outstanding News Coverage Leadership Spill Nominated
2014 ASTRA Awards Channel of the year Sky News National Nominated
Favourite personality - male Paul Murray Nominated
Favourite personality - female Laura Jayes Nominated
Favourite program: Australian Paul Murray Live Nominated
Most Outstanding News Program Election 2013 coverage Won
Paul Murray Live Nominated
Most Outstanding performance by a broadcast journalist Kieran Gilbert Nominated
Ahron Young Nominated
Daniel Bourchier Nominated
David Speers Won
2015 Logie Awards of 2015 Most Outstanding News Coverage What Is Metadata? Nominated
2015 ASTRA Awards[83] Channel of the year Sky News National Won
Most Outstanding Presenter – Male Paul Murray Won
Most Outstanding Presenter – Female Nina Stevens Nominated
Most Outstanding Performance by a Broadcast Journalist David Speers Won
Kieran Gilbert Nominated
Celina Edmonds Nominated
Ahron Young Nominated
Most Outstanding News Program Paul Murray Live Won
PM Agenda Nominated
Richo + Jones Nominated
2016 Logie Awards of 2016 Most Outstanding News Coverage[84] Liberal Leadership Crisis: Abbott V Turnbull Nominated
ASTRA Industry Awards Most Outstanding Innovation (use of technology)[85] LiveU SmartGRIP Nominated
Walkley Awards Coverage of a Major News Event or Issue[86] 2016 Election coverage Won
6th AACTA Awards Subscription Television Award For Best Live Event Production[87] 2016 Election Coverage Nominated
Subscription Television Award For Best Male Presenter[87] David Speers Nominated
2017 Logie Awards of 2017 Most Outstanding News Coverage[88] 2016 Election coverage Won

Broadcast[edit]

Sky News began broadcasting in widescreen, along with its sister channels on 17 May 2009. Sky News Australia only provides closed captioning between 4pm and 5pm (AEST/AEDT) each day.[89]

Sky News began broadcasting in high definition on 1 December 2015.[8]

Other services[edit]

Sky News Multiview[edit]

With the roll-out of Foxtel Digital, Sky News Australia launched the Sky News Active interactive news service based on the Sky News UK service with the same name. The service offered a choice of eight news screens, some with original content not seen on the main channel they vary depending on the days news or events and include the latest news, business, sport, showbiz and weather in text. Other features included interactive polling and the latest news headlines via text. On 15 November 2009 Sky News active re-launched with a new look as well as 5 additional local screens (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide[90]

Sky News Now[edit]

Sky News Now was a mobile service available on Vodafone, Telstra and 3. It offered a wide variety of news in both video and text.[91] As of 2015, the service was no longer available.

Sky News Alerts[edit]

Sky News Alerts is a SMS and MMS breaking news service available on all mobile phones inside Australia.[92] Breaking news alerts are sent to a subscriber via SMS or MMS at a cost per message.[93]

Qantas[edit]

In November 2014, Sky News Australia was contracted to provide Qantas with in-flight news bulletins replacing a longstanding contract with the Nine Network.[94]

Podcasting[edit]

Sky News offers various programs via podcast including First Business, Market Day, Showbiz, Agenda, Australian News Week, and Prime News New Zealand.

Sky News Regional[edit]

Sky News Regional is a free-to-air 24-hour general and sports news channel, formerly Sky News On WIN that was launched on 2 September 2018.[95][96] The channel features Sky News Australia and Fox Sports News programming. The channel is available on digital channel 56 across Southern Cross Austereo's regional markets in Regional QLD, Southern NSW & ACT and Regional VIC, and on the WIN Network on digital channel 53 in Northern NSW & Gold Coast, Griffith and Eastern SA.[97]

In its first two weeks, since first launch free to air on affiliate network the channel averaged 10,000 viewers in primetime and 4,000 viewers in daytime, with Richo the highest rated program at 24,000 viewers.[98]

The specifically produced morning news program Sky News Breakfast is also simulcast nationally on Sky News Weather.

Sky News' contract with WIN expired on 1 August 2021, with the channel replaced by 9Life from Nine Entertainment Co.. This was announced on 12 March 2021 and went into effect on 1 July.[99] The similar Sky News Regional instead appeared on Southern Cross Austereo stations on 1 August 2021, plus WIN in some markets where it has a 10 affiliation (though not Mildura and Western Australia).[100]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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