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Perth media companies on the move

PERTH’S old media precinct will be split in two as the ABC and Channel Seven look to upgrade and centralise their operations.

And, after much deliberation, Channels Nine and Ten have opted to stay put and upgrade their Dianella sites.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation will leave its home of 40 years in Adelaide Terrace and move into purpose-built studios in the East Perth New Media Village by the end of 2003.

The new site will be in the heart of the village, along with East Central TAFE and television and film production company Animation Works.

Presently operating out of six separate buildings at the Adelaide Terrace site, the new ABC building will be a two-storey facility with a 200sqm television studio, a 100sqm current affairs studio, a 218sqm music studio and a 75sqm performance studio.

A one-stop shop post-production facility, including production graphics, editing and audio suites, will also be built on site as well as a radio and television presentation and transmission centre.

The ABC move is a coup for the East Perth Redevelopment Authority, which is behind the new media village.

“With an urban renewal project such as East Perth it is always important to give the area an economic focus,” EPRA chief executive officer Tony Morgan said.

“For example, Joondalup is focusing on the call-centre industry as well as the university.

“We have the government offices compo-nent with the Education and Health Depart-ments, but we wanted to give the area another economic focus for the future.

“We went through a list and the new media industry was the one that came up.”

Channel Seven is leaving its Dianella home and moving its three studios, newsroom and production facilities to a new city site next to the Perth Entertainment Centre.

Plans for the new facility are still being drawn up and the final costs are yet to be determined.

Seven Network broadcasting operations director David Aspinall said the move made sense, as the network owned the Entertainment Centre site.

The move would also result in the emergence of a renewed focus on live entertainment.

“We will turn the Entertainment Centre into the Seven Entertainment Centre and this will encourage the coverage of live entertainment,” Mr Aspinall said.

The network hopes to move into its new home by the end of 2003.

Channel Nine also was considering a move closer to the city, but the cost of relocation eventually decided the issue.

“We looked at East Perth, the WACA and numerous other sites in close proximity to the city, but in the end it came down to cost-cutting,” Nine general manager Paul Bowen said. “And we believe we have a pretty good location here, it is only seven or eight kilometres from the city.”

The 5.5ha site also gives the station room to expand in the future.

“What we are going to do now is modify and upgrade the studios, which were built in 1965,” Mr Bowen said.

“We will be re-equipping the station with digital technology and undertaking basic modifications, such as putting air-conditioning through the whole facility.”

Cost also was the major factor in Channel Ten’s decision to stay put.

“We had some good options but economically it did not make sense for us to move – Perth has very high rents,” Ten general manager Kel Robards said.

And it was likely that any new facility would have to be purpose built with all the different specifications required.

“Most sites that we looked at would have needed modifications,” Mr Robards said.

“Any site would have to have alternative entries to the building high enough to allow vehicles with satellite dishes through, ceilings that would still be high enough when computer flooring was put on top of existing flooring. and a reliable power source.

“We would have liked to have moved but we couldn’t make the numbers stack up.”

Mr Robards said the network also had considered co-siting with Channel Seven or Nine but would now, like Channel Nine, pour its resources into its existing facility.

The network also will reshuffle its operations to create about 2000sqm of space, which it hopes to lease out to other companies.

“It would be ideal for a company with common synergies to relocate here, but really it could be any kind of company,” Mr Robards said.

Barron Films and the WIN Network are already tenants at the 5ha Dianella site.

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