Chief executives from Australia’s major commercial and subscription TV, newspaper and radio companies united in Canberra yesterday to demonstrate support for the federal government’s broadcast and media reform package.
The gathering was organised by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to try and convince Labor and the Senate to vote for the reforms, which include:
- Abolishing broadcasting licence fees and datacasting charges.
- Applying a fee for the spectrum that broadcasters use at a level more reflective of the current media landscape.
- Further restrictions on gambling advertising in live sporting events across all platforms.
- Amending the anti-siphoning scheme and list.
- Repealing the ‘two out of three’ and ‘75 per cent audience reach’ media ownership rules.
- A broad ranging and comprehensive review of Australian and children’s content.
- Funding to support the broadcasting of women’s and niche sports.
A joint statement by a number of media company bosses – including Hugh Marks (Nine Entertainment), Tim Worner (Seven West Media), Paul Anderson (Ten Network), Peter Tonagh (Foxtel), Greg Hywood (Fairfax), Michael Miller (News Corp Australasia), Grant Blackley (Southern Cross Austero), Cathy O’Connor (NOVA Entertainment), Rob Atkinson (Australian Radio Network) and Adam Lang (Macquarie Media) – argued that change is crucial to bring media regulation into the digital age and preserve the future viability of the sector.
“Australian media operators must be allowed to compete more effectively against multinational internet giants that are taking hundreds of millions of advertising dollars out of Australia,” the statement read.
“All Australians benefit from having a competitive and independent media sector that is able to deliver checks and balances in a healthy democracy. Australian media needs to be empowered to continue to reflect Australian values and tell Australian stories.
“This package is key to the entire industry’s ability to keep creating great content that is read, watched and listened to by millions of Australians every day.
“Media CEOs call on parliament to preserve Australian content, voices and jobs by supporting the passage of the broadcast and media reform package in its entirety.”
However, the government will find it tough to get the reforms passed, with Labor and the Greens against the ‘two out of three’ rule because both parties believe it could make media ownership more concentrated and minimise diversity, according to Fairfax.
Labor is not expected to change its position on the media reform package after media bosses met with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to talk turkey, Fairfax noted.
And on a side note, B&T found the above photo an interesting reflection of gender diversity in c-suite level roles within the media industry.