Digital TV channels will feature more Australian content next year after the government put forward a raft of new proposals late on Friday, including a 50% cut to the TV licence fee.
The major free-to-air networks and Free TV Australia have all welcomed the plans, which would also see the amount of Aussie content on digital channels grow to 1,460 hours, and retention of the 55% minimum Australian content quota.
Free TV CEO Julie Flynn said the announcement “are a welcome first step towards ensuring that all viewers can continue to see quality Australian programming for free in a rapidly changing market”.
The idea behind reducing the licence fee permanently is to allow broadcasters to pump more cash into local content, with free-to-airs spending $1.35bn in 2011/12, an increase of $267.6m in two years.
Seven’s CEO Tim Worner welcomed the changes, saying local content has always been a large part on Seven.
He added: “We must ensure that broadcast television continues to reflect the lives of all Australians with the delivery of compelling local content. We are happy to get the chance to do more of it on our digital channels than we have ever done before.”
Ten Network CEO James Warburton also greeted the changes describing them as “sensible”, adding: “[They] represent a good outcome for the local production and free-to-air television industries, and give the free-to-air television networks regulatory certainty.”