Sky News Extra
TypePolitics • News and current affairs
Broadcast areaAustralia
Picture format576i (SDTV 16:9)
1080i (HDTV)
Sister channelsSky News Australia
Sky News Weather Channel
Launched20 January 2009; 15 years ago (2009-01-20)
ReplacedSky News Election Channel
Replaced bySky News Election Channel (linear channel; 1 May 2016 – 23 January 2017)
Former namesA-PAC
Streaming media

Sky News Extra (formerly A-PAC /ˈpæk/ AY-pak; Australian Public Affairs Channel) is an Australian 24-hour cable and satellite public affairs news channel owned by Foxtel.


A-PAC logo used until May 2018
Former A-PAC logo

On 8 December 2008 it was announced that an Australian public affairs channel called A-SPAN (an acronym for Australian Subscription Public Affairs Network) would launch on 20 January 2009. The channel format is modelled on the American public affairs network C-SPAN. The news came after reports the ABC were considering launching a dedicated public affairs digital channel.[1][2] Prior to launch the channel renamed as A-PAC (an acronym for Australian Public Affairs Channel). A-PAC is a not for profit independent channel funded by Austar and Foxtel, and produced by Sky News Australia.[3][4]

The channel officially launched on the morning of 20 January 2009, with the inauguration of United States President Barack Obama airing on its first day, using a feed from U.S. cable channel C-SPAN.[4][5]

Despite originally planned to occur on 26 April 2009, on 17 May 2009 A-PAC began broadcasting in 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, along with sister channels Sky News Business Channel and Sky News Australia.[6]

On 24 May 2012, Foxtel acquired Austar,[7] which saw Foxtel become the sole stakeholder of A-PAC.

In February 2014, A-PAC had an on-air refresh, as well as launched a revamped website and a new weekly newsletter. In addition, Sky News presenter Helen Dalley was appointed as channel host.[8]

In May 2018, A-PAC was rebranded to Sky News Extra and moved to channel 604 on Foxtel. The name and channel number change reflect on the additional programming it would have and to be in line with the other Sky News channels.[9]

In March 2020, the channel was temporarily rebranded as Sky News COVID-19, as part of the networks' extended coverage of the ongoing 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic in Australia. The channel featured a combination of live and pre-recorded news bulletins, press conferences and segments relating to COVID-19 across the nation.[10] Sky News COVID-19 was reverted back to Sky News Extra on 1 June 2021.[citation needed]

On 25 July 2023, the channel was temporarily rebranded as Sky News: The Voice Debate.[11][12]


Sky News Extra content features live broadcasts from Australia's Parliament House in Canberra (including sittings of the House of Representatives, the Senate, parliamentary Committee meetings and political press conferences), the parliaments of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland as well as sittings of the United States Congress, live broadcasts of speeches from the Australian National Press Club and a program which provides coverage of the New Zealand, Canadian and British parliaments. Material from the United Nations and the European Parliament is also aired.[5][4][1]


At launch Sky News Extra was available via satellite and cable television on channel 607; and was later made available by Internet streaming on its website, as well as on free-to-air digital television in Sydney as a trial.[4] On 15 November 2009, Sky News Extra's channel location for Foxtel changed from Channel 607 to Channel 648.

From 1 May 2016, the service's linear channel was replaced by Sky News Election Channel, resulting in the service only being available on the Sky News Multiview service and online.[13][14][15] Although the service was originally planned to relaunch as a linear channel on 30 November 2016,[15] this was later postponed,[16] and ultimately the linear channel did not return until 24 January 2017.[17] The relaunch did, however, see Sky News Extra obtain Sky News Election Channel's HD feed,[18] seeing the channel available in high definition for the first time.


  1. ^ a b "A-SPAN: it's the new 24/7 pollie telly". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 8 December 2008. Archived from the original on 11 December 2008. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
  2. ^ "Rudd hails new A-Span TV network". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 8 December 2008. Archived from the original on 8 December 2008. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
  3. ^ Knox, David (15 January 2009). "A-PAC Channel nears". TV Tonight. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d Knox, David (20 January 2009). "APAC on the air". TV Tonight. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
  5. ^ a b Archer, Lincoln (8 December 2008). "A-SPAN, non-stop public affairs channel, launched". News Limited. Archived from the original on 9 December 2008. Retrieved 8 December 2008.
  6. ^ Kevin (11 April 2009). "Sky News to broadcast in widescreen". Archived from the original on 26 January 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  7. ^ Knox, David (24 May 2012). "Foxtel completes Austar merger". TV Tonight. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  8. ^ Knox, David (11 February 2014). "Helen Dalley appointed A-PAC channel host". TV Tonight. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  9. ^ Knox, David (30 April 2018). "SKY News revamp: SKY News UK, A-PAC rebrands, Multiview moves online". TV Tonight. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  10. ^ Salemme, Nadia (21 March 2020). "Coronavirus, COVID-19: Sky News launches new channel dedicated to global health crisis". News Corp Australia. Archived from the original on 22 March 2020. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  11. ^ Mediaweek (10 July 2023). "Sky News launches dedicated channel and new documentary on The Voice to Parliament". Mediaweek. Retrieved 11 July 2023.
  12. ^ "Sky News to launch Voice channel and documentary as nation debates referendum". Sky News Australia. News Corp Australia. 11 July 2023. Retrieved 1 August 2023.
  13. ^ "Sky News Election Channel: Foxtel and Sky's new destination for politics junkies". Mediaweek. 26 April 2016. Archived from the original on 26 April 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  14. ^ "Got Foxtel". Foxtel. Archived from the original on 27 April 2016. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  15. ^ a b "Got Foxtel". Foxtel. Archived from the original on 4 November 2016. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  16. ^ Paigeturner (23 November 2016). "SKY NEWS Election channel has been extended until further notice". Foxtel. Archived from the original on 30 November 2016. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  17. ^ Paigeturner (18 January 2017). "Key Customer Updates from 2017". Foxtel. Archived from the original on 28 January 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  18. ^ @FOXTEL_Help (25 January 2017). "Hey Josh. A-PAC is expected to continue to be available in HD on channel 648 :)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.