C31 Melbourne and Geelong (the Melbourne Community Television Consortium) is Victoria's not-for-profit community television service providing locally-based entertainment, education and information. C31 provides access and representation to the many diverse communities within Victoria. You can find faces, voices and issues which are not present in mainstream television.
WHAT IS COMMUNITY TV?
Community Television is a not-for-profit media resource providing local and diverse communities access to television broadcasting, and presenting news and issues not covered by commercial or government funded stations.
The Community Television Sector in Australia is vibrant and diverse, with television stations in Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth.
Every week around 4000 volunteers participate in creating content for Community TV
Melbourne Community Television Consortium Ltd (ACN 104 562 076) is a not-for-profit public company limited by guarantee. It holds the community television licence allocated to serve the general community within the Greater Melbourne and Geelong licence area, and operates the television service broadcast as C31.
The Melbourne Community Television Consortium was formed in 1990 to lobby for the allocation of a trial community broadcasting licence in Melbourne. The consortium was initially comprised of several groups which had conducted brief, short range test broadcasts in the late 1980s. Licensing of community TV broadcasters commenced in early 1994, under a Temporary Open Narrowcast licence.
C31 began regular broadcasting on the 6th of October, 1994. Initially, the station only broadcast programs for a few hours each evening, and on three or four days per week. This soon expanded to a seven day a week service for six hours per night, with the remaining time filled with the ever popular Fishcam.
C31 now broadcasts local content 24/7 and operates under a permanent Community Television Broadcast Licence awarded by the ACMA until June 30 2019.
Unlike the ABC and the SBS, community television is not government funded. C31 is financially self-sufficient driving revenue primarily from TV Sponsorships, livestreaming production, funded content production and supporting NFP’s to create content for digital channels through our social enterprise unit, Community Builder.
C31 Melbourne is continuing to evolve in response to the growing shift of audiences to online. C31 supports diverse communities, multicultural groups, NFP, NGO’s and local councils to develop content optimised for online platforms like YouTube.
THE FUTURE OF C31 MELBOURNE
In September 2014 the Minister for Communications announced that Transmitter Licences for CTV stations would not be renewed beyond December 31 2015 in order to allow for spectrum to be utilised for tests and trials of new compression technologies.
Following a public outcry and ongoing discussions with the current Government the C31 and our sister stations in Adelaide and Perth have been able to secure a number of extensions to our Transmitter Licences.
C31 Melbourne has continued to work with our partners in Government, the Department of Communications and the ACMA to determine a path forward and in June 2018 the Community TV sector secured an extension of its Licence through to 2020 – a fantastic outcome that will enable diverse communities a voice on Free To Air TV for many years to come.
C31 Melbourne aims to continue to develop our capacity to support and enable communities to create content and connect with audiences in a multi-platform world.