Imparja Television

Last updated

Imparja Television
Imparja Television logo, 2008.png
Country Australia
Broadcast areaRemote Central and Eastern
Affiliates Nine Network
Slogan Imparja
Headquarters Alice Springs, Northern Territory
Picture format 576i (SDTV) 16:9
Owner Imparja Television Pty Ltd
Launched2 January 1988;33 years ago (1988-01-02)
Freeview Imparja owned (virtual)9
Optus C1 Transponder 6
Optus D1 Transponder 15
HiTRON (Papua New Guinea) (virtual)5

Imparja Television (IMP) is an Australian television station servicing remote eastern and central Australia, and the Mitta & Eskdale region in the heart of the Victorian high country. Broadcasting began on 2 January 1988. It is based in Alice Springs, where it has a studio and satellite uplink facility. Notably, it is controlled by Australian Aboriginals through ownership by Imparja Television Pty Ltd, and is widely regarded as a symbol of Aboriginal Australia. Most viewers receive Imparja via free to view satellite transmission, whilst a smaller proportion receive it via analogue terrestrial transmission.


Imparja is an Arrernte word meaning footprints. The word is used to represent that Imparja Television aims to service Arrente people wherever they may live, from Mutitjulu to King's Canyon to Alice Springs to Tennant Creek and beyond. They describe their range as a footprint. [1]

In 2008, Imparja Television was identified on-air and in print as Nine Imparja, [2] following its dropping of Network Ten affiliation. In 2009, the station again identifies as simply "Imparja" and "IMP", although the Nine Network's nine dots seen in the logo remain.



The then Australian Broadcasting Tribunal was asked by the Federal Minister for Communications in October 1984 to inquire into the allocation of commercial television licences for a number of remote areas. Licences were granted in 1985 to the Golden West Network, which broadcast to Western Australia, and QSTV in north-eastern Australia. [3]

In 1986 hearings for the allocation of the licence began, and the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA), which began providing Central Australian radio programs in local languages in 1980, formed Imparja Television Pty Ltd as a company. [3] Soon after, the Government of the Northern Territory announced support to underpin the viability of the Central Zone Remote Television Service (RCTS) by offering to purchase an estimated $2 million package of services from the successful applicant. The Government of South Australia undertook a similar promise, offering loans of $1 million to Imparja if they were successful. [3] An extraordinary saga of political, legal and commercial intrigue then ensued during the protracted Australian Broadcasting Tribunal (ABT) hearing process, pitching Federal, State and Territory Governments against one another with loan promises being substantially watered down or withdrawn as it became apparent the CAAMA application may prevail. Windfall funding from the Australian Bicentennial Authority and the Aboriginal Development Commission ultimately underpinned the feasibility of the CAAMA bid and they were successfully allocated the licence. However subsequent Federal Administrative Tribunal court proceedings brought about by the unsuccessful applicant, Darwin based Territory Television Ltd., attempting to overturn the ABT's decision delayed construction commencement of the new service until May 1987. [4]

By October 1987 the new station had begun to build rebroadcast sites and new studios and a main transmitter based in Alice Springs were completed. [4] Imparja's first test program, Australia versus Sri Lanka Test Cricket , was telecast on 2 January 1988 in Alice Springs. [3] Two weeks later, on 15 January 1988, the station was officially inaugurated at Imparja Television's head office in Alice Springs by Minister for Communications Ralph Willis and Warren Snowdon, the Australian federal member of parliament for the Division of Lingiari in Northern Territory. [5]

Imparja became the first Aboriginal member of the Federation of Australian Commercial Television Stations and the now-defunct Regional Television Association, both dominant organisations at the time. [3]

Imparja was chaired by Freda Glynn for its first ten years and, for a time, she was the only female chair of a television network in the world. Freda was one of the first three founders of CAAMA – the others being John Macumba and Philip Batty.

Imparja had an initial population reach of 62,000 people, which by 1993 had grown to 125,000. [5] Imparja was available through retransmission sites at Ceduna, Coober Pedy, Leigh Creek and Woomera in South Australia, and Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Katherine and Bathurst Island in the Northern Territory, as well as on the Optus Aurora satellite platform.

Imparja initially carried programming from all three major Australian commercial television networks, but following aggregation of market area with QSTV, it affiliated with the Nine Network and Network Ten. Imparja also screened some ABC Television and SBS Television indigenous programs, all in addition to original programs commissioned by the station.


In 1990, Imparja Local News was launched as a fifteen-minute insert of local news into the national bulletin. The station also covered the Northern Territory general election live from its Alice Springs studios. This followed the lead taken in 1989 when the station began to produce weather reports for parts of the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales, presented by Lavinia Hampton. [3]

By 1993, Imparja's viewing audience had doubled to approximately 125,000 Australians. This in turn led to the increased allocation of government funding in 1994 to produce Yamba's Playtime, which was the station's first in-house televisual production. Yamba's Playtime features the station's official mascot, "Yamba". Also in 1994, the Imparja board of directors established the Imparja Business Development Sub Committee, to monitor and provide strategic recommendations for areas of growth for the company.

In 1995, Imparja received the Telstra Indigenous Business Award for Business of the Year. [5] Also in 1995, Imparja's satellite transmission moved from the Aussat A-Class satellites to the Optus B1 satellite, and the station's licence was renewed.

Two new in-house productions were launched in 1996. The first being the BRACS Program, which was almost fully produced by Aboriginal communities, and Corroboree Rock, an Aboriginal music program.

Imparja's parent company, Imparja Pty Ltd, converted to a proprietary company in 1997, whilst in the late 1990s, Imparja moved to digital satellite technology on the Optus Aurora platform. This meant that Imparja's satellite transmission moved from the Optus B1 satellite to the Optus C1 satellite.


By 2001 the station's coverage area had grown to include over 430,000 people. [3] Around this time 'Imparja Info Channel' ('Channel 31') was launched, providing additional programming, news, and community information to remote Aboriginal communities. The Aboriginal programming on this channel later became known as Indigenous Community Television (ICTV). In 2007, the whole channel was replaced by National Indigenous Television (NITV).

Imparja faced criticism by a number of community groups in 2004, following the station's decision to introduce advertising for alcohol for the first time. The network pledged to donate 30% of the total income received from alcohol advertising towards alcohol and substance abuse programs in communities.

In 2005, Imparja National News, which primarily covered the news in Alice Springs in addition to other national and international news stories, was axed. The move was taken in anticipation of the Remote Eastern & Central Australia TV1 licence area being merged with that of Darwin. Regulations imposed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority relating to minimum levels of local news coverage led to 2006 reinstatement of Imparja National News. The news service began broadcasting again from the middle of February 2006, with Ryan Liddle as presenter. [6]

In the mid-2000s, it was widely expected that the Australian Communications and Media Authority would merge the "Darwin" and "Remote Eastern and Central Australia" commercial television licence areas. This would have most likely seen Imparja Television become a Network Ten affiliate in Darwin. However, this did not eventuate. Instead PBL Media and Southern Cross Broadcasting, the two existing Darwin Commercial licence holders were invited to bid individually or together. Their successful joint bid used a company called Darwin Digital Television. [7]

On 3 February 2008, Imparja Television updated its logo removing the emblem, which had been present on the logo for two decades. The logo change coincided with Imparja dropping Network Ten affiliation, becoming a sole Nine Network affiliate, in addition to axing Imparja National News, and also adding Nine Network's dots to its new logo. [8] [9]


On 19 May 2010, the ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) approved a licence for a new remote area digital-only TV channel, a joint venture by Imparja Pty Ltd and Southern Cross Central. [10] It was launched on 30 June 2010 as "Ten Central (CDT)". It had two feeds, Ten Central North (QLD/NT) and Ten Central South (NSW/SA/Vic/Tas).

In December 2010, Imparja Television began broadcasting on terrestrial digital TV and the new VAST satellite service. This expansion included the establishment of two feeds for these platforms, Imparja North (Qld/NT) and Imparja South (NSW/SA/Vic/Tas). As of 2010, their programming is exactly the same.

Imparja Pty Ltd also began to launch digital channels 9Go! and 9Gem.

As of the moment, Imparja continues to stream the HD feed of 9Gem, which was rebranded as a standard definition channel (9Gem later launched a separate HD channel in 2019) in Nine Network-only on 26 November 2015 in its metropolitan and Darwin stations, along with 9Life and the relaunch of 9HD. There are currently no plans at this stage for Imparja to launch an HD simulcast or introduce 9Life to its viewers. It will continue with its existing lineup of three broadcast channels.


Imparja Television's headquarters in Alice Springs, 2015 Imparja Television building, Alice Springs, 2015.JPG
Imparja Television's headquarters in Alice Springs, 2015

Imparja Television is a sole Nine Network affiliate. The station previously broadcast both Nine and Ten programming, however it stopped broadcasting Network Ten programming on 3 February 2008. [9] Imparja Television has also aired original programs produced by local Aboriginal community members, such as Bush Mechanics and the children's program Yamba's Playtime . Imparja also airs programming relating to local Australian rules football and community sports, as well as news updates and religious thought for the day programs. Imparja Television also regularly broadcasts films created by the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association, which is a shareholder of its parent company.

Imparja's programming schedule is currently based on the Nine Network schedule for Brisbane (based on Eastern Standard Time). Prior to February 2008, scheduling was generally based on Central Standard Time, reflecting its Alice Springs-based heritage. As a result, programs are now broadcast half an hour earlier than they previously would have been under the previous arrangement.

News and current affairs

Imparja does not currently produce its own evening regional news bulletin. In 2008, Imparja replaced Imparja National News – a 30-minute, weeknightly program combining local and national/international news – with local news updates, plus a 30-minute local news magazine program, Footprints (which later ceased production in 2009). The news updates were presented by Emma Groves from 2014 until July 2016. This brings Imparja's daily news service roughly into line with its competitor in the Remote Eastern and Central Australia licence area, Southern Cross Central (QQQ).

The 6:00 pm (AEST) time slot is filled by a simulcast of Nine News Queensland . Imparja cites its geographic distribution, with a majority of the remote licence area's viewers now located in Queensland, as a "key factor" in selecting the Queensland bulletin. [11] In 2009 Imparja began airing the Darwin edition of Nine News live at 6:30 pm (AEST) on weekdays, immediately following the Brisbane edition, in place of A Current Affair – thereby restoring a Northern Territory-based bulletin to the station.


Imparja airs most sports coverage from the Nine Network, including rugby league, cricket, golf and tennis. The station also broadcast motorsport and Australian rules football coverage until 2008.


Imparja Television broadcasts throughout most of the Northern Territory, and also to some remote parts of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and Norfolk Island. It is generally available by satellite on the VAST or Optus Aurora platforms, though in some locations it is broadcast terrestrially. Imparja Television has the largest geographic range of any commercial television network in Australia. Imparja is also received on the Spirit of Tasmania Bass Strait Ferries.

Imparja Television was previously available in New Zealand until March 2008 when the New Zealand government pressured the Australian government to remove the service from the satellite footprint that includes New Zealand.[ citation needed ]

The total population serviced by Imparja Television is over 700,000 people, boasting the largest footprint in the southern hemisphere.

Imparja is also available in Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea through the HiTRON subscription television service. [12]


Imparja Television's first logo was developed from a painting produced by an Arrernte artist and traditional owner. The logo symbolised the MacDonnell Ranges, the Todd River and the Yeperenye caterpillar. [13] An updated version designed by Bruce Dunlop Associates debuted on 30 January 2006, adding a blue sphere behind the emblem. When Imparja re-affiliated with Nine Network, the long-time emblem was replaced by the Nine Network dots. [14]

Related Research Articles

Television broadcasting in Australia

As early as 1929, two Melbourne commercial radio stations, 3UZ and 3DB were conducting experimental mechanical television broadcasts - these were conducted in the early hours of the morning, after the stations had officially closed down. In 1934 Dr Val McDowall at amateur station 4CM Brisbane conducted experiments in electronic television.

Alice Springs Town in the Northern Territory, Australia

Alice Springs is the third-largest town in the Northern Territory of Australia. Known as Stuart until 31 August 1933, the name Alice Springs was given by surveyor William Whitfield Mills after Alice, Lady Todd, wife of the telegraph pioneer Sir Charles Todd. Now colloquially known as The Alice or simply Alice, the town is situated roughly in Australia's geographic centre. It is nearly equidistant from Adelaide and Darwin.

The Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) is an organisation founded in 1980 to expose Aboriginal music and culture to the rest of Australia. Based in Alice Springs, the organisation is particularly focused on the involvement of the local Indigenous community in its production. CAAMA is involved in radio, television and recorded music.

TND Television station in Darwin, Northern Territory

TND is a television station in Darwin, Northern Territory. The station, launched in 1998 as Seven Darwin and broadcasting across Darwin, Palmerston and surrounding areas, is owned by Southern Cross Austereo. Its main competitor is the Nine Network's owned-and-operated station, NTD.

Television in Australia Overview of television in Australia

Television in Australia began experimentally as early as 1929 in Melbourne with radio stations 3DB and 3UZ, and 2UE in Sydney, using the Radiovision system by Gilbert Miles and Donald McDonald, and later from other locations, such as Brisbane in 1934.

In Australia, regional television is the local television services outside of the five main Australian cities.

<i>NTD</i> (TV station) Television station in Darwin, Northern Territory

NTD is an Australian television station, licensed to and serving Darwin, Palmerston and surrounding areas. The station is owned and operated by the Nine Entertainment Co., and is an owned-and-operated station of the Nine Network, under the company name Territory Television Pty. Ltd.

Indigenous Community Television (ICTV) is an Australian free-to-view digital television channel on the Viewer Access Satellite Television service. It broadcasts television programs produced by, and for, indigenous people in remote communities. The channel is owned by membership-based company Indigenous Community Television Limited. Although ICTV is a community television channel by name and content, it broadcasts using an open-narrowcast licence instead of a standard community television licence.

QQQ Television station in Queensland, QQQ: Remote Central and Eastern Australia

QQQ is an Australian television station broadcasting in remote central and eastern areas of Australia, owned by Southern Cross Austereo. The station is available via satellite and terrestrial platforms – mostly through community retransmission sites, although it also transmits into the town of Mount Isa, Queensland under the call sign ITQ. The station is solely affiliated with the Seven Network.

Seven (Southern Cross Austereo) Regional affiliates of the Seven Network in Australia

Seven Regional is an Australian television network owned by Southern Cross Austereo that is available in Tasmania, Darwin, the South Australian Spencer Gulf, Broken Hill and Remote Central and Eastern Australia. The network is the primary affiliate of the Seven Network in the areas it serves.

Imparja Television Pty Ltd is a commercial television company servicing remote eastern and central Australia that began broadcasting on 2 January 1988. It is based in Alice Springs, where it has a studio and satellite uplink facility. It is controlled by Australian Aborigines and is widely regarded as a symbol of Aboriginal Australia.

National Indigenous Television Australian television channel

National Indigenous Television (NITV) is an Australian free-to-air television channel that broadcasts programming produced and presented largely by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It includes the half-hourly nightly NITV News, with programming including other news and current affairs programmes, sports coverage, entertainment for children and adults, films and documentaries covering a range of topics. Its primary audience is Indigenous Australians, but many non-Indigenous people tune in to learn more about the history of and issues affecting the country's First Nations peoples.

Optus Aurora was a free-to-view satellite television platform in Australia, which aimed at providing television and radio services to remote and black spot areas using the Optus C1 and B3 satellites. The service was available in all areas, using a standard satellite dish and set top box, however commercial stations carried on the platform were restricted to their respective coverage areas.

This timeline of Australian television lists important station launches, programs, major television events, and technological advancements that have significantly changed the forms of broadcasting available to viewers of television in Australia. The history of television in Australia can be traced back to an announcement from the Menzies' government concerning plans for television services in Sydney and Melbourne.

Robert James "Bob" Randall was an Aboriginal Australian elder, singer and community leader. He was a member of the Stolen Generations and became an elder of the Yankunytjatjara people from Central Australia. He was the 1999 NAIDOC Person of the Year. His 1970 song, "My Brown Skin Baby They Take Him Away," is described as an "anthem" for the Stolen Generations. He was known by the honorific "Tjilpi", a word meaning "old man" that is often translated as "uncle". He lived in Mutitjulu, the Aboriginal community at Uluru in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Yamba's Playtime is an Australian children's preschool television program, produced and broadcast by Imparja Television from 1995 and since 2010 has also been broadcast by Nine Network Australia. Each 30 minute episode of Yamba's Playtime follows the life of Yamba the Yerrampe and is the first indigenous themed preschool program to have received a "P" Classification.

CDT is an Australian digital television station broadcasting in remote central and eastern Australia. It is jointly owned by Southern Cross Austereo and Imparja Television Pty Ltd and operates under the company name Central Digital Television.

The Viewer Access Satellite Television service, or VAST, is a satellite television platform in Australia, providing digital television and radio services to remote and rural areas, as well as viewers in terrestrial black spots. The service using the Optus C1 and Optus D3 satellites. It is partly funded by the Australian Government and managed through a joint-venture between Southern Cross Media and Imparja Television. It is an even more restricted free-to-view replacement for Optus Aurora providing channels which have been absent on the remote service until now. The platform uses only H.264 video encoding and 8PSK, which allows for more lower bit rate channels on the limited transponder space that's available. The EPG uses an MHEG-5 guide instead of the usual more compatible DVB EIT.

Priscilla Collins is a prominent Aboriginal leader, advocate and television producer. Collins is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA), the largest law firm in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Freda Glynn is a Kaytetye photographer and media specialist, who co-founded the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association Group of Companies; which incorporates CAAMA and Imparja.


  1. "Sticker produced by Imparja Television, 1999". Powerhouse Museum. 2000. Retrieved 29 June 2007.
  2. "New Current Affairs Program" (Press release). Imparja Television. 27 March 2008.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "About Imparja Television". Imparja Television. 2001. Archived from the original on 28 August 2007. Retrieved 2 September 2007.
  4. 1 2 Bell, Wendy (May 2008). "2". A Remote Possibility: The Battle for Imparja Television. Alice Springs: IAD Press. ISBN   978-1-86465-097-6.
  5. 1 2 3 "Imparja's History". Imparja Television. 29 June 2007. Archived from the original on 7 July 2007. Retrieved 29 June 2007.
  6. "DASA's stance against Imparja Television". Australian Broadcasting Corporation . ABC Alice Springs. 5 January 2004. Retrieved 2 September 2007.[ dead link ]
  7. "New digital commercial television service for Darwin" (Press release). ACMA. 18 May 2007.
  8. "Footy grand final telecast in doubt". Centralian Advocate. 1 February 2008. Archived from the original on 14 February 2008. Retrieved 3 February 2008.
  9. 1 2 "Imparja Television Aims For More Local Content". Imparja Television. 2008. Archived from the original on 19 January 2008. Retrieved 3 February 2008.
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 October 2010. Retrieved 18 November 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link).
  11. "Imparja TV to Boost News and Current Affairs". Imparja Television. 2007. Archived from the original on 19 January 2008. Retrieved 9 January 2008.
  12. HiTRON Limited – Papua New Guinea :: MMDS TV Archived 15 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  13. "About Imparja Television". Imparja Television. 2001. Archived from the original on 11 December 2007. Retrieved 9 March 2008.
  14. "Mission incredible". The Age. 29 November 2007. Retrieved 29 November 2007.