ABC, Australia's only national, non-commercial broadcaster was launched during the depression years of the last century, since when it has grown into the nation's largest broadcaster, entertainment and marketing organization.

But ABC, in search of wider horizons, announced Wednesday it has formed an alliance with Foxtel, the cable and satellite platform jointly owned in Australia by News International and Kerry Packer's Publishing & Broadcasting media group.

The deal will significantly extend ABC's TV and radio digital reach. Says managing director Russell Balding: "This outcome is of strategic importance to the ABC and is a matter we have been pursuing for some time, as we believe that as the national public broadcaster all ABC services should be available on all platforms."

It will also facilitate ABC's digital program development. "The fact is you cannot hope to properly develop digital television plans without participation in the Foxtel Digital platform," admits Balding.

Foxtel viewers will be able to receive ABC in digital format from early next year.

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff