ABC (Australian TV channel)
ABC (formerly known as The ABC National Television Service or ABC-TV from 1956 until 2008, and as ABC1 from 2008 until 2014) is a national public television network in Australia. Launched on 5 November 1956 it is the responsibility of the ABC‘s television division, and is available nationally. ABC head office is based in the inner-city suburb of Sydney, Ultimo.
The history of ABC-TV can be traced back to 1953, when the federal Television Act was passed, providing the initial regulatory framework for both ABC Television and ABC Commercial television networks under the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Over the next three years, planning for the introduction of a national television service was put in place – land for studios and transmitters in Sydney and Melbourne was acquired, and overseas tutors were brought to Australia to assist with training.
Commercial station TCN-9 Sydney was the first to broadcast in Australia, soon followed by the ABC’s own ABN-2 Sydney and later ABV-2 in Melbourne. Six stations, three in Melbourne and three in Sydney, were in operation in time to cover the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne. The channel’s first television broadcast was inaugurated by prime minister Robert Menzies on 5 November at the Gore Hill studios in Sydney, followed two weeks later by transmission in Melbourne.
Although radio programmes could be broadcast nationally by landline, television relay facilities were not put in place until the early 1960s. This meant that news bulletins had to be sent to each capital city by teleprinter, to be prepared and presented separately in each city, with filmed materials copied manually and sent to each state.
A purpose-built television studio opened in Sydney on 29 January 1958—replacing temporary sound studios used since ABC-TV’s inception. In the same year, technical equipment was also moved to permanent locations, while main transmitters were introduced to Melbourne and Sydney in 1957 and 1958 respectively.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) series which debuted in 1956 included TV Channell and Picture Page. Other 1950s-era Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) series included variety shows like Look Who’s Dropped In and Café Continental, discussion series like Any Questions, and children’s series Children’s TV Club. Starting in 1957 the two ABC stations then in operation each produced one live drama presentation each month, which would be kinescoped for broadcast in the other city.
1960s to the 1990s – colour television
Weekly current-affairs programme Four Corners began in 1961, followed in the same year by Profiles of Power, a series of interviews with prominent Australians. Direct relays between Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra were also established in 1961, replacing temporary microwave relays as a means of simultaneously airing programmes across multiple stations. Videotape equipment, allowing the sharing of footage with much greater ease and speed, was installed in each state capital by 1962.
ABC-TV was one of the first television networks in Australia to embrace the rock’n’roll revolution of the late 1950s, most notably with Six O’Clock Rock, hosted by Johnny O’Keefe. During the 1960s and early 1970s the channel continued to broadcast programmes on popular music, including the pop show Hitscene, performance specials by groups such as Tully and Max Merritt & The Meteors, as well as the magazine-style programme GTK, which premiered in 1969 and screened for 10 minutes, four nights per week at 6:30 pm, immediately prior to Bellbird and the 7:00 pm news bulletin. In 1967, the weeknightly television current-affairs programme This Day Tonight was launched on ABC-TV.
Teletext services were introduced to ABC-TV in 1983 to allow hearing impaired viewers access to closed captions. Nationwide, successor to This Day Tonight, was replaced in turn by a new, hour-long, national news programme called The National. Having proved unsuccessful, it reverted to a state ABC News bulletin at 7:00 pm, with a state-based edition of The 7.30 Report following afterwards. Lateline and Media Watch also launched in the 1980s.
2000s and beyond – digital television
The year 2001 saw the launch of a new logo to celebrate the introduction of digital terrestrial television in Australia. The logo was modified to a three-dimensional metallic design. Coinciding with this, digital television was introduced to most of the network’s coverage area on 1 January 2001 – this was soon followed by the gradual introduction of widescreen and high definition programming.
In 2002, to celebrate seventy years of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ABC-TV’s logo reverted to the “over and under” design seen in the previous decades, however it retained the three-dimensional metallic design. The channel’s idents featured elements – fire, leaf and ice, and the slogan was updated to Everyone’s ABC. The idents also featured the silver ring that morphs into the ABC logo. This however did not last, as later in 2003, the channel’s idents were modified to feature everyday Australians.
In 2005, The ABC have switched from the Supertext logo to their own Closed Captioning logo. On 19 December that year, the channel’s idents were revamped featuring a modified ABC logo transforming to a television. These idents were also carried onto ABC2 (now ABC Comedy), which launched in the same year.
At midday on 8 February 2008 ABC-TV was rebranded as ABC1 with the standard-definition redirect channel moved from LCN22 to LCN21, complementing the existing ABC2 digital-only channel launched on 7 March 2005. Further cementing the change in identity was the change from the slogan There’s more to television to It begins with 1. After concerns in some sections of the media that the 43-year-old Lissajous curve brand was to disappear completely, ABC management reaffirmed that it would remain in use by the corporation.
As of 10 December 2013, ABC no longer broadcasts on analog TV and is now only available through digital TV or digital set-top box.
On 6 February 2011, ABC1 launched its new branding via idents featuring a range of channel personalities including the face of the channel Adam Hills, with the new tagline – “ThinkEntertainment”. A new watermark is also aired with a single “1” above the network’s famous Lissajous curve logo.
On 20 July 2014, ABC1 changed its name back to just “ABC” and at the same time, they introduced new idents featuring the 1975 Lissajous curve logo being drawn by itself of videos of people doing activities (taken from ABC Open’s video library). Then, the words “It’s (Insert Words Here)’s ABC” (the words change depending on the ident) fade in on the left side of the logo. The words then change to “#OurABC”, which is the network’s new slogan. In 2018, these idents were updated. The “#OurABC” slogan at the end of each ident was changed to “Yours”. The new 2014 idents look very similar to the 1996–1998, 1998–2000, 2003–2005 and 2008–2011 ABC station idents.
ABC is required by charter to meet certain programming obligations. Although it has a strong focus on news and current affairs, it also presents documentaries and educational programmes, drama, light entertainment comedy and variety, and sports.
News and Current Affairs
ABC News, broadcast on ABC, is a national news service produced by the News and Current Affairs division of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. A number of bulletins and updates are shown throughout the day, which include the flagship state-based evening bulletins of ABC News at 7.00 pm, focused on local, national and international news relevant to their entire respective state or territory. In addition, ABC News Breakfast is broadcast each weekday morning and it is also shown on the ABC News channel, The Midday Report, a national weekday edition of ABC News, is broadcast at noon live from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s studios in Ultimo, Sydney. News updates are presented nationally only on both the ABC News channel and ABC throughout the day, however evening updates are shown in most states by their respective presenters.
Other flagship programmes, which include Four Corners, Australian Story, Foreign Correspondent, Lateline and 7.30, are broadcast in primetime and are widely respected for their agenda-setting journalism. In addition, Landline, Insiders, Media Watch cover rural, political and business, and media affairs respectively.
ABC Sport currently holds the broadcast rights to a range of sports, which are broadcast on ABC, these include the Women’s Australian Open, W-League, Women’s National Basketball League, AFC Women’s Asian Cup as well as state football league competitions which include Australian rules football and rugby league. In addition to this, The ABC also holds the rights to the Paralympic Games and the Australian Rugby Championship.
ABC Sport currently broadcasts Grandstand which includes the state football leagues such as New South Wales Rugby Union, Queensland Rugby League, Victorian Football League, Tasmanian Football League, South Australian Football League, West Australian Football League, and Northern Territory Football League. in addition to Tiwi Islands Football League and Australian Rugby Championship.
ABC varies depending on state and territory in terms of what 7:00 pm news bulletin, state-edition of 7.30, and some promotions, are shown. National programming is often interrupted to show state election coverage. Each state and territory’s individual station is based on that of its capital city, meaning that in the state of Victoria, all programmes originate from either Melbourne or Sydney, where the remainder of programmes are broadcast from. ABC is broadcast nationally via ABC Television transmitters, in an analogue and standard definition format.
The ABC HD multichannel was launched on 1 January 2008. The service provided a 720p simulcast of ABN Sydney nationwide. The channel was closed on 22 July 2010 and its HD channel space was re-purposed for the ABC News channel. ABC HD was relaunched on 6 December 2016 as a simulcast of ABC, localised to each state, reducing the news channel to SD.
ABC iview is a video on demand and Catch up TV service run by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The service became available on 24 July 2008. This was the next step after the podcasting of programmes since July 2006. Currently iview can only be viewed by users in Australia. The iview website streams video at 650kbit/s in the H.264 format, and uses the RTMP protocol, which makes it accessible to web browsers installed with Adobe Flash. Iview is also available through native apps for iOS and Android smartphones, tablets, and HDMI devices, as well as on some brands of internet-connected TVs. These use a HTTP stream to deliver video to the client.
In the early years, ABC-TV had been using Lissajous curves with its initials, ABC-TV, inside it as fillers in-between programmes.
A staff competition was conducted in 1963 to create a new logo for use on television, stationery, publications, microphone badges and ABC vehicles. Graphic designer, Bill Kennard, who had been experimenting with telerecording of the Cathode Ray Oscillograph displays, submitted a design in 1965 which was part of the waveform of an oscilloscope. The letters A-B-C were added to the wavelength design and it was adopted as the ABC’s official logo. Bill Kennard was paid £25 for his design. This logo has been modified from two dimensions, to colour, to three dimensions, over time and it is now one of the most well-known logos in Australia.
Due to the start of colour test transmissions, ABC TV’s logo was modified to a thickened variant on 19 October 1974 and it was also changed to a crossover design. To celebrate the Australian Bicentenary, on Australia Day in 1988, the ID’s were updated. The original set of ID’s were titled “Natural Textures of Australia”, with a following called “Man Made Textures of Australia”.
- In 1999, ABC-TV’s logo was again modified, but this time to a giant 3D silver design which turns from a giant silver ring morphs into the logo. The logo was also radically modified to lose the “over and under” design in 2001.
- In 2002, to celebrate seventy years of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ABC-TV’s logo changed back to the “over and under” design, however it still kept the 3D silver design. The channel’s idents featured elements – fire, leaf and ice, the silver ring that morphs into the ABC logo, and the slogan “Everyone’s ABC”. These idents were also carried to ABC Asia Pacific.
- Later in 2003, the channel’s idents were modified to feature everyday Australians.
- On 19 December 2005, the channel’s idents were revamped featuring a slightly modified ABC logo transforming into a television.
- On 8 February 2008, the channel was renamed as ABC1 with its logo (adopting a blue colour theme) updated concurrently with ABC2 (in a yellow theme). In addition to this, the slogan There’s more to Television was rebadged to It begins with 1. After concerns in some sections of the media that the 43-year-old Lissajous curve logo was to disappear completely, ABC management reaffirmed that it would remain in use by the corporation. Aside this, the idents were revamped to feature a version of that of 2003, but with animations.
- In 2007, the ABC Television Corporation announced that the squiggle logo will not be removed but kept it a secret until 8 February 2008 when the ABC1 logo was branded with the ABC2 logo.
- On 6 February 2011, the channel was rebranded with new idents and a new on-air logo, with a new slogan “Think Entertainment”.
- On 20 July 2014, ABC1 changes to ABC with a new on-air presentation it restores the 1975 lissajous curve logo with a new slogan “#ourABC”. The restored logo now appears in different gradient colours.
Identities of the Australian ABC
- 1965-1970s: Australian Broadcasting Commission, National Television Service.
- 1971: This is National Television ABC. (based on “A Shade of Brass”)
- 1972: This is ABC Television, The Good Looking Australian. (based on “A Shade of Brass”)
- 1972–1973: Around Australia, You’re in Tune with the National Network – ABC Television.
- 1974: This is ABC National Television.
- Christmas 1974: Wishing You a Merry Christmas From ABC National Television.
- 1975 (Jan–Feb): Come on Home to ABC.
- 1975: Come to Colour on ABC National Television.
- 1977: You’re at Home with ABC.
- 1978–82: ABC-TV.
- Summer 1980/81: Summer ’80.
- Summer 1981/82: ABC Summer.
- 1982–83: ABC – Your National Network.
- 1982: The Games Station.
- 1985–94: You’re Watching ABC, Your Australian Network.
- 1986: This is ABC Television, Coming to You via Domestic Satellite Throughout Australia.
- 1988–96: Natural Textures of Australia.
- 1992: 8 Cents a Day.
- 1994: Seeing is Believing on Your ABC.
- 1990–95: Man-Made Textures.
- 1993–2000: It’s Your ABC.
- 1 January 1999 – January 2002: You’re Watching ABC, Your Australian Network – First in Australia.
- 2002–2005: Everyone’s ABC.
- 2005–2008: There’s More to Television.
- 2008–2011: It Begins with 1.
- Summer 2010/11: Colour Your Summer with ABC.
- 2011–2014: Think Entertainment.
- Summer 2011/12: Happy Summer.
- 20 July 2014 – 31 December 2017: #ourABC.
- 31 December 2017 – present: Yours.
- December 2016–present: ABC: Original. (secondary slogan)
- “Archived copy”. Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 February 2017. Retrieved 18 March 2017.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- “Archived copy” (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 1 January 2017. Retrieved 10 April 2017.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- The Age – 23 November 1979[page needed]
- “About the ABC – The 50s – The Postwar Years”. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 11 December 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2007.
- Brooklyn Ross-Hulands. “AusTVHistory: Australian Broadcasting Corporation 1950s–1960s”. AusTVHistory. Archived from the original on 7 October 2008. Retrieved 4 October 2007.
- “Twenty-Sixth Annual report of the Australian Broadcasting Commission”. 1958.
- “About the ABC – The 60s and 70s”. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 6 December 2012.
- “GTK Title Details”. National Film and Sound Archive. Archived from the original on 21 January 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2007.
- Inglis, Kenneth Stanley (2006). Whose ABC? The Australian Broadcasting Corporation 1983–2006. Melbourne, Victoria: Black Inc. ISBN 1-86395-189-X.
- Brooklyn Ross-Hulands. “AusTVHistory: Australian Broadcasting Corporation 1970s–1980s”. AusTVHistory. Retrieved 4 October 2007.
- “About the ABC – The 80s”. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 8 December 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2007.
- “Digital TV to commence on 1 January 2001”. Australian Broadcasting Authority. Archived from the original on 21 September 2007. Retrieved 19 August 2007.
- “ABC-TV Australia”. Finns TV Website. Archived from the original on 12 March 2005.
- “AusTVHistory – ABC Australia”. Archived from the original on 21 November 2008.
- “ABC promises more content choice”. The Australian. 6 February 2008. Archived from the original on 7 February 2008. Retrieved 6 February 2008.
- Welch, Dylan (30 January 2008). “ABC squiggle to stay”. Brisbane Times. Archived from the original on 24 June 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
- “ABC revamps squiggle logo”. ABC Online. 30 January 2008. Archived from the original on 1 February 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
- “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 18 December 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- Reilly, Claire (10 July 2014). “New ABC tagline embraces hashtag revolution”. CNET. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
- “Annual Report 2006–07” (PDF). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 1 November 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 February 2008. Retrieved 6 December 2007.
- “It begins with 1”. TV Tonight. 26 January 2008. Archived from the original on 29 January 2008. Retrieved 29 January 2008.
- Official Site
- Program Websites by Subject of ABC-TV
- ABC-TV’s Program Websites – Complete List
- ABC-TV Online website in 1997
- ABC-TV Online website in 1999
- ABC-TV Online website in 2000
- ABC-TV Online website in 2001
- Corporate Site
- Australian Broadcasting Corporation