The internet has claimed another victim, Channel Seven's Austext information services, which will cease operation on 30 September 2009; closed captioning will continue operation, however.
Come 30 September, Austext's teletext weather, lottery, finance and news pages will shuffle quietly off into the ether. All that will remain will be Channel Seven's closed captioning service, which, the company says, will continue operating as per normal via page 801.
With a short three-page statement on the service, Channel Seven announced its intention to kill off Austext. Among the reasons cited by the network include the age of its teletext equipment, which dates back to the very beginning of the service, the cost of upgrading said equipment and the fact that it was free with no advertising revenue. No doubt equally as important was the rise of the internet and the unquantifiable amount of free information to be found on it.
Trialled in the late 1970s, Austext began operating in 1982 in Brisbane and Sydney. It then spread to other capital cities with Channel Seven stations, as well as regional affiliates, like Prime and Southern Cross. Overseas the BBC is still running its Ceefax service, although it too will be abandoning it once analog TV is switched off in 2012.
So, will anyone aside from die-hard teletext aficionados miss it? And how many of them are there anyway? Vote now in our poll and leave your thoughts, with their eloquently worded obituaries or glaring indifference, in the comments section below.
Personally, this writer will miss Austext. Although I didn't use it much, I do fondly remember regularly visiting an aunt's house and spending hours thumbing through, and no doubt waiting for, information. For years and years I pestered my parents for a teletext-capable TV, but when that day came, quite by accident, the internet was already at our doorsteps.
Vale Austext, your blocky text graphics will be fondly remembered.