The Idiot’s Guide To The New Media Ownership Laws

The Idiot’s Guide To The New Media Ownership Laws
SHARE
THIS



Did you hear all the talk of the new media ownership laws over the weekend but, quite frankly, still not have the foggiest clue what anyone was talking about?

Well, fear not! Here, B&T answers all your totally obvious questions about the changes announced by the communications minister, Mitch Fifield, on Saturday morning.

You can read Fifield’s full statement here too.

What was the big news over the weekend?

Arguably the biggest news to come from Fifield’s announcement was the abolition of the licence fees for the free-to-air networks. That means Seven, Nine and Ten will no longer have to pay around $130 million a year in fees to the federal government, to, basically, run their networks.

Why’s that good news?

Two reasons. One: the networks claim their new overseas disruptive competitors – the likes of Netflix, HBO or Google – don’t have to pay licence fees in Australia, so why should they? Rightly or wrongly, Seven, Nine and Ten argue they can re-invest those monies back into homegrown TV and drama which is good news for actors, screenwriters, producers and the likes.

So the free-to-airs get a $130 million kicker at the taxpayers’ expense?

No, in lieu of the existing licensing laws, the new rules state they must pay a “new annual spectrum fee of $40 million”.

Why are network bosses whinging about Facebook and Google?

Multiple reasons. One (they argue) they don’t think they pay their fair share of tax in Australia and, two, they pinch content from Australian publishers and don’t have to pay for it.

Do these reforms fix that?

Not really. There’s still a long way to go and expect more from Scott Morrison’s Budget this week.

Was that all?

No. The new rules also aim to repeal the “two out of three law”. In the past, a media company could only own a TV station, a newspaper business BUT NOT a radio station in the same territory. IE, Fairfax could own The Sydney Morning Herald and Macquarie Radio stations in Sydney, but the laws meant it was illegal for it to also have ownership in, say, Channel Nine or a third media outlet.

Why’s this a good thing?

Well, it’s a bit of a double-edge sword, really. One: it will make media companies far more attractive to investors – particularly to cashed-up overseas ones. Sure, that means more money for media companies; however, there’s sure to be a lot of mergers and acquisitions, too. Expect a lot of new mergers, a lot of content sharing between the two, and, very probably, staff redundancies to boot as competition shrinks.

What was the “75 per cent reach rule” and why’s that been scrapped?

In its simplest form, the rule (harking back to the early 80s) said broadcasters and publishers could not reach more than 75 per cent of Australia’s population with their content. However, with the advent of the internet and downloadable video the law was pretty much redundant some time ago.

Any other winners?

Well, there’s a $30 million carrot for broadcasters – namely Pay TV – to broadcast more women’s sport. And, although details are sketchy, the anti-siphoning laws are to set to be relaxed, too. That means pay TV providers – namely Foxtel – could bid for the rights to things like an Ashes series or the Melbourne Cup (events deemed “culturally significant”) and typically given to the free-to-air networks first. Result – pay TV providers will be able to bid for more sport and charge you, the viewer, accordingly.

Are the new laws set in stone?

No! Any reforms will need to be passed by the Senate. Both Labor and the Greens have said they won’t vote for the changes, meaning the federal government will need to rely on Nick Xenophon and One Nation to get them through. However, it now looks like – with the support of the three Xenophon senators – the bill would, most likely, be passed.

What got Xenophon over the line?

The South Australian senator is a staunch anti-gambling crusader and, to secure his senate vote, the new media ownership laws mean there’ll be no gambling advertising during sporting events before 8.30pm (until after the kiddies go to bed).

But that will cost the free to airs $130 million a year in ad revenues?

You’re right. But even they’re worried about the proliferation of gambling ads and the negative feedback from audiences. Plus, the relaxation of the ($130 million) licensing fees should ease some of the network’s pain.

These changes all sound pretty obvious. Why’s it taken so long to implement?

It’s (A) not been a huge priority for the government and (B) the new changes are fundamentally (and remain so) opposed by Labor and the Greens.

Why are Labor and the Greens so pissed off?

Well, it’s their job in opposition to oppose most things. That said, there are parts of the Coalition’s package that Labor are on board with; the “reach rule” as an example. Ultimately, Labor argue the new rules will create big, behemoth media companies, creating a lack of diversity. Also, regional newsrooms could be devoured by their city cousins, leading to job losses and the loss of a local “voice”. The Greens are also fundamentally opposed to the abolition of the “reach rule”.

Will the changes get passed by the Senate?

Probably. The government has worked very hard on shoring up “the numbers” before announcing the final details over the weekend.

Latest News

Daylight Agency Appoints Shelley Hammond As Director Of Agency Operations
  • Media

Daylight Agency Appoints Shelley Hammond As Director Of Agency Operations

The Daylight Agency’s significant growth has continued with the appointment of Shelley Hammond as Director of Agency Operations. Shelley is a leader in the global communications industry and brings vast experience following senior roles in major corporates as well as the agency environment. Shelley will be responsible for the commercial running of Daylight including client retention and […]

Host/Havas Takes Out Cannes Grand Prix With Palau Pledge
  • Advertising

Host/Havas Takes Out Cannes Grand Prix With Palau Pledge

Host/Havas has secured Australia’s first grand prix award at Cannes overnight, taking out the top gong for the direct lions with its work Palau Pledge. The work, which sees all visitors to the tiny island nation have their passport stamped with a pledge to be a good environmental citizen, which they must sign before entering […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Instagram Launches Long-Form Video
  • Technology

Instagram Launches Long-Form Video

Instagram unveils new eye-catching feature. Slicing onions while reading this will also make it eye-watering.

Ridley Scott Unveils New Directors Showcase At Cannes
  • Media

Ridley Scott Unveils New Directors Showcase At Cannes

Curated this year by Ridley Scott, famed director of Alien, The Martian and other classics, The New Directors Showcase at Cannes is now in its 28th year. Acting as a platform for talented new directors to have their work premiered to a global audience, Scott took to the stage in front of a full house […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
ANZ, PHD & JCDecaux Harness The Power Of Data
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

ANZ, PHD & JCDecaux Harness The Power Of Data

ANZ and media agency PHD have partnered with JCDecaux to launch a unique campaign that harnesses the power of data across three cities incorporating actual tram, train and bus timetable information to align with the new ANZ App.

Report: Consumers Are Hitting Play On Mobile Video
  • Technology

Report: Consumers Are Hitting Play On Mobile Video

Ooyala survey finds media companies created and processed nearly three times as much video content in Q1 as Media Companies Created & Processed Nearly Three Times As Much Video Content in Q1 2018 vs. Q1 2017.

MercerBell Calls In Two New Data Hires
  • Marketing
  • Technology

MercerBell Calls In Two New Data Hires

Proving many photos shot on an iPhone so often come out washed-out and grainy comes this article's accompanying pic.

Intrepid Travel Go Back 30 Years, Posting Classified Adverts In Newspapers
  • Campaigns

Intrepid Travel Go Back 30 Years, Posting Classified Adverts In Newspapers

Intrepid Travel has gone back in time and is placing classified adverts for a new ‘mystery expedition’ to places that yet mapped by Google.  The adverts to be placed in Courier Mail, Herald Sun and Sunday Telegraph are calling for intrepid people to join a journey with “long travel days, intermittent electricity, no Wi-Fi, cold […]

Watching tv and using remote control
  • Advertising
  • Media

GroupM Investment Forecast For Australia: TV On The Rise As Digital Slips

GroupM has updated its 2018 ad investment forecasts and released its initial 2019 outlook. GroupM predicts $24B in net new advertising investment this year, the best annual increment since the bounce back from the global recession in 2010 when $26B was added to investment. GroupM estimates total advertising investment will grow by 4.5 per cent this year […]

Indigenous Campaign Deemed Too Controversial By APN Media To Run
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Indigenous Campaign Deemed Too Controversial By APN Media To Run

Aboriginal Victoria’s campaign in support of Australia’s first-ever treaty legislation, Deadly Questions, has been deemed too controversial to run by one of Australia’s leading outdoor media providers, APN Media. Online platform Deadly Questions provides a safe space for people to ask questions and have them answered by Aboriginal Victorians, to learn more about their cultures, […]

Introducing: YouTube Music Australia
  • Technology

Introducing: YouTube Music Australia

The wait is over! Starting today, YouTube Music is available to everyone in Australia, New Zealand, the U.S, Mexico and South Korea in addition to 12 new countries including Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Now fans around the world can find more of the music […]

Will PR Finally Earn Its Stripes At Cannes This Year?
  • Opinion

Will PR Finally Earn Its Stripes At Cannes This Year?

In this guest post, Haystac’s national general manager, Jason Carnew (pictured below), says with all this talk of Cannes at this time of year, it’s a kindly reminder that the PR business needs to get its act together in terms of awards, work and judging… All eyes on are Cannes as some of the best […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Ex-DDBer Unveils Designer Headscarves For Cancer Survivors
  • Campaigns

Ex-DDBer Unveils Designer Headscarves For Cancer Survivors

Two-times cancer survivor, Frankie Good Stuff Award Winner, ex-DDBer and founder of Bravery Co. Emily Somers has collaborated with a range of top-notch illustrators to produce Australia’s first range of designer headscarves for young cancer warriors. She is now crowdfunding $40,000 to produce the scarves and donate one to all the young women in their 20’s […]

New Advertising Platform Launches Down Under
  • Advertising

New Advertising Platform Launches Down Under

Following its massive success in Europe, Asia and the UAE, the Polishoe concept, which brings a high-demand shoe polish service and HD digital advertising platform together, has landed in Australia.

Women In Media Profile: Aimee Buchanan
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Aimee Buchanan

No Women in Media series would be complete without the irrepressible Aimee Buchanan. Read all her pressibles here.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Set for blue sky, different clouds icons, cloud shapes, labels, symbols, icons. Flat graphic vector elements
  • Technology

PubMatic Unveils Cloud for Publishers And Tech Companies

PubMatic has launched PubMatic Cloud for publishers and tech companies looking to implement and control their own programmatic technology. By accessing PubMatic’s technology, global infrastructure and demand connections on a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) basis, clients are able to achieve full transparency and achieve greater control over their programmatic monetization. As programmatic trading becomes mainstream, innovations such as […]

Women In Media Profile: Claudine Hall
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Claudine Hall

The Women in Media Awards are back for 2018! To celebrate this wonderful fact, and to recognise some of the killer women in our industry, we’ve created a women in media series – and have profiled some pretty inspiring women so far. This week, we chat with Bauer Media head of trade marketing Claudine Hall. […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Cancer Council and Target Tradies Tackle On-The-Job Skin Cancer Risks
  • Campaigns

Cancer Council and Target Tradies Tackle On-The-Job Skin Cancer Risks

Workers on construction sites receive five to 10 times more UV exposure every year compared to indoor workers. Target Tradies and Cancer Council have announced the launch of a partnership to help educate Australian construction workers about the importance of being SunSmart at work. With evidence showing that outdoor workers receive five to 10 times […]