The Victorian Government will provide key funding to ensure that community television station Channel 31 (C31) can continue to provide a vital communication service through the coronavirus crisis and beyond.
Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley today confirmed the awarding of a $120,000 grant, which will support C31 in transitioning to a digital model.
The move came after lobbying from the Victorian Government, the City of Melbourne and a range of community groups led to the Commonwealth Government extending the station’s broadcast licence into Melbourne and Geelong for a final 12 months.
Additional support will also come via advertising investment from the Victorian Government, helping to make sure important information reaches all Victorians – particularly during coronavirus.
Since coronavirus restrictions came into force in March, Channel 31’s audience has soared by almost a quarter as many turned to religious services, seniors exercise classes, educational programs and other content during isolation.
C31 reaches 660,000 viewers each month and broadcasts 100 shows a week, the bulk of which are made with the help of the station’s 1,000 volunteers.
With programs representing 30 language and cultural groups produced by and for multicultural communities, Channel 31 is a vital source of information, connection and entertainment for many Victorians, including those without internet access.
Channel 31 is also an important training ground for Victoria’s screen industry and broadcasts 120 hours of locally-made content every week. It’s a place where aspiring screen practitioners, including those from culturally diverse backgrounds, can develop their skills, gain experience and test ideas.
The Victorian Government funding will help Channel 31 continue its digital transition and secure its future, while keeping Victorian communities connected and informed throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
The Government will also work with groups, including those from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds and older Victorians, to ensure they have the digital literacy skills to access C31 programming when it moves online.
As noted by Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley
“Community television is an important and highly valued service, particularly for members of Victoria’s diverse multicultural, disability and LGBTIQ communities.”
“As we continue to face the impacts of coronavirus and life with restrictions, access to information and home-based entertainment is more important than ever – especially for vulnerable Victorians.”
“For many in our community Channel 31 is a lifeline and this is an important investment in its future.”