Advanced Television

Australian creatives call for evolved content rules

July 16, 2018

By Colin Mann

Australia’s film, television and music industries have united to call on the Government to evolve Australian content rules to make them fit for purpose in the digital environment.

In a joint submission to a Senate inquiry into Australian content on broadcast, radio and streaming services, APRA AMCOS and Screen Producers Australia lent their weight to the momentum building around Australian content obligations on streaming platforms.

Acknowledging their shared interest in maintaining and enhancing Australian content obligations on radio and television broadcasters as well as introducing new local content obligations on streaming services such as Netflix, the two industry bodies called on the Government to act in the national interest.

Commercial television broadcasters have Australian content obligations to ensure Australian audiences have access to Australian content, the sustainability of an Australian film and television industry, as well as being a quid pro quo for privileged competitive access to spectrum. These obligations are currently being reviewed by the Commonwealth Government.

“Regardless of the technology or the platform, continually exposing Australian audiences to the wealth and quality of Australian music and screen content fosters a sustainable Australian industry and encourages the development of original and creative Australian works,” stated Dean Ormston, CEO of APRA AMCOS. “In particular, we know that for Australian music, it’s vital to ensure there’s space and opportunities for a variety of local artists to be programmed through streaming services and aired on commercial radio, in particular on the big metro stations.”

“I share with the music industry a desire to have these content rules enhanced and evolved to ensure great Australian film, television and music continues to entertain Australian and international audiences for generations to come. In particular for screen content, we need local content obligations for new media and streaming services, as they have in Europe, as was recommended by a House of Representatives committee last year,” added Matthew Deaner, CEO of Screen Producers Australia.

“The local content rules on commercial television broadcasters have served us well but they need updating and loopholes closed. For example, the loophole that allows New Zealand content to be passed off as Australian means that in 2017, a significant level of proscribed genres, such as drama and documentaries, was from New Zealand,” he noted.

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