MTR

Austext Dead - RIP - Channel Seven 7 shuts down Australian Teletext services

Articles > Austext - RIP - Channel Seven 7 shuts down Australian Teletext services

 - MTR On 29 September 2009, Channel 7 pulled the plug on Austext. They cite various reasons, including old 1970s technology being obselete and costly to maintain, no revenue from advertising and the internet being more a favourable source of information. In other words, Austext has succombed as another victim of the rise of the internet.

Austext, in its prime years, provided news, weather, business, sports, lottery results, TAB information, TV programming guides and other niceties such as horoscopes. Leading up to the closure, various pages were scrapped. When TAB started moving their pages onto their own Sky Pay TV channels, Austext took a major blow in revenue.

Gone are the days of being able to press the teletext button and getting greeted by the friendly Austext 100 index page. While the Seven network has provided two months notice, it leaves many loyal supporters left in the dark. It seems they couldn't pull the plug soon enough - it would have been nice to see them leave it operating until analogue TV transmissions are phased out.

Fortunately for deaf TV viewers, closed captioning is still in operation (Page 801). One would question how thebroadcaster can pull the plug on Austext, yet continue to support closed captioning which utilises the exact same (1970s) technology as used for Austext. Channel Seven states they would need to 'upgrade' the teletext equipment, and the expense is not justificable. But the Austext service has remained vastly unchanged the last 20 years, and there is little need to 'upgrade' it anyway. Hopefully the poor few Austext employees will be able to find new employment.


Comments

Curtis, Tue, 14 Jul 2009 11:33 am: Reply
I am really sad to read that Austext will be closed in a matter of weeks. I do not understand the decision as the service still has great potential despite the emergence of the internet.

Look at New Zealand’s TVNZ Teletext Service – a great model which Austext/SevenTel/SevenText once was.

Oh I remember the rural pages, the kids pages, finance share quotes and indices, the world clock and the Australian Airlines and BCC cinema feeds – not to mention the special services of a direct feed from Bathu Electoral Commission. When Christmas Day come around each year, all the pages carried the simple message ‘Merry Christmas from the Staff at Austext – No Updates for Today’. Even Grundig video recorders come on to the Australian market which were programmed from the Austext TV program guides (for all networks back then).

I believe that the reconfiguration of Austext (two years ago) brought about the closure of the BTQ operation then – with service ‘automated’ out of ATN Sydney from a direct feed from Yahoo7 and the weather bureau. At that time, the Austext ‘girls’ in Brisbane were no more – gone went the greeting pages, on this day in history, jokes etc etc. Seven’s decision to axe Teletext is disappointing but I guess we saw it coming.

Having been a viewer for twenty years and also seen the demise of the CTC7’s Teletext Service, the day has finally come – no more 100 index page to greet us…….RIP Austext.

Surely Seven could have kept this service operating!!!!!

Paul, Tue, 14 Jul 2009 01:01 pm: Reply
You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.. Like Luke, i’d also use Teletext when i did not feel like turning on the computer and using the internet to view information – be it a quick news fix, or to check out the weather temperature.

In saying that i only started to use the service on a frequent basis, close to a year ago, i’ll miss the novelty of being able to use it.

cpandilo, Tue, 14 Jul 2009 02:59 pm: Reply
I only started using Austext in 2005 when I got access to a teletext enabled tv and i used it for checking the latest news, tv guide, weather, captions and occasional use of other features. So i missed out on ever seeing the financial market, world times and kids pages which were gone by then. Later that year due to ‘legal’ issues the tv guide was cut back to only having the Seven metro guides (as is now). I wonder why they didnt keep the Seven Queensland guide though? Anyway i got a new mobile earlier this year and i use it for the latest news using rss feeds (including from this website) and with this I guess I just largely stopped using the news pages for info. Lately I noticed the weather forecasts being scaled back on many centres so I now have to use the Sydney page for a 5 day forecast. Though I still use it to this day for weather and the tv guide variations across the markets. For the weather I would take Austext over internet anyday because it has whatever you need on the one page. It will be sad to see a piece of history being shut down but at least Seven aren’t just yanking it off and are letting it run abit longer.

Zambora, Tue, 14 Jul 2009 05:27 pm: Reply
A lost chance by Seven here.
I regularly use Austext service to update myself with news,sport,weather from all over the world without the need to logon to the net, listen to radio or watch the main news service.Having the weather for all over Victoria is handy too – from Mt Dandenong to Ballarat you get to know what is brewing.
It is extremely handy and if something of interest piques my interest, I know the yahoo7 website will have more info.Furthermore the TV guide gives upto date info for Seven statewide.
Surely they could have found sponsors to keep this service going.
Seven, you dropped the ball this time and missed a big chance to giv something back to the viewing public..

Neon Kitten, Tue, 14 Jul 2009 05:52 pm: Reply
My 80+ year-old parents, who don’t have any interest in the internet and have complained for a long time now about the gradual removal of information from Austext, won’t be entirely surprised at this.

It’s been perfectly clear they’ve been shutting the service down gradually for a couple of years now.

But Seven, seriously. “Upgrade expenses”?

Upgrade to what, exactly? Teletext is teletext. There is no next level. It’s ’70s technology that has barely changed since it was invented. Indeed, when I used to use Telecom Australia’s rip-off (surprise!) communication service “Viatel” back in the pre-internet days, it looked exactly like Teletext does now. Same tech, basically.

Hope they find new jobs for those few (one, maybe?) remaining lonely Austext employee(s) in Brisbane… :)

Sean, Thu, 01 Oct 2009 10:54 am: Reply
Ch 7 are idiots to turn off austext and up here in brisbane they said we were getting datacasting on digital tv years ago and when is it comming on air i feel sorry for someone who is deaf but seven didn’t even advartise about it on tv just because a ceo doesn’t whant it and ch 7 shares would go down thats what someone told me on a bus and iv’e spoken to a lot of poeple about it and they didn’t like it getting turned off now it would be analog tv and someone told me ch 7 mitebe the first one turn off analog tv by christmas 09 australia wide i don’t how true that is

Average Joe, Sat, 31 Oct 2009 02:18 pm: Reply
As usual it's the average joe that gets done over if there's no money to wring from them! How sad the world has become! As a personal protest (that I'm sure seven wont give a toss about) I'm switching to nine news!

freddo, Sun, 06 Dec 2009 12:34 am: Reply
no surprise for me that aussi land is still 10 years behind - but upsetting that it is falling even more behind

Mark, Sat, 31 Jul 2010 12:42 am: Reply
Greed, corporate greed. That's all that's behind giving the Austext service the chop. As Neon Kitten wrote, Teletext is Teletext. There's nothing fancy to it. Sure, the equipment that the Seven Network was using to broadcast it may have been 30+ years old, BUT IT OBVIOUSLY STILL BLOODY WORKED 100%! As a former user of it, I was very sorry to see it go & as far as I'm concerned I don't accept any of the reasons put forward by the Seven Network for giving it the axe - it's all BLOODY BULLSHIT! Shame on you Network Seven, SHAME!

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