27 Sep 2017
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Australian govt abolishes commercial TV licence fees

MUMBAI: Ten Network Holdings CEO Paul Anderson has welcomed the government’s announcement that it will abolish commercial television licence fees effective immediately as part of a balanced package that assists all Australian media companies and addresses community concern around gambling advertising in live sport.

Licence fees and datacasting fees covering 2016-17 (payable in December 2017) will be scrapped and replaced from 2017-18 by a new spectrum-based charge.

Anderson said, “The government’s package provides very welcome, immediate financial relief for all commercial free-to-air television broadcasters. It provides a boost for local content and the local production sector.

“Every dollar from today’s changes will be reinvested into our great Australian content and into continuing to enhance our services for viewers across all platforms.

“Recent financial results and announcements from across the Australian media industry clearly demonstrate that this is a sector under extreme competitive pressure from the foreign-owned tech media giants .

“A critical element of this holistic package is the removal of two of the current cross-media ownership rules: the two out of three rule and the 75 per cent reach rule.

“These cross-media rules arbitrarily prevent Australian television, radio, and newspaper companies from operating across media platforms. They are stifling growth and costing jobs,” Mr Anderson said.

“Now that we have a holistic package, it is time for Parliament to get rid of these pre- internet rules to give Ten and other Australian companies a fair go against the foreign tech media giants whose dominance and influence is growing rapidly in Australia.

“This package is not just about Ten or free-to-air television. It is about ensuring that there is a future for Australian media companies – for local journalism, for Australian stories on screen and for a local production sector that provides jobs and training for thousands of Australians, many of whom go on to success on the global stage.

“Anyone who supports a future for Australian media companies must support this package and we call on the Parliament to pass these reforms urgently or risk losing local voices altogether.

“We welcome the review of the content rules also announced today. The rules need to be looked at in the context of the changing media landscape,” he added.