Commercial free-to-air | ACMA

Commercial free-to-air

What are commercial broadcasting services?

Section 14 of the Broadcasting Services Act states:

Commercial broadcasting services are broadcasting services:

  1. that provide programs that, when considered in the context of that service being provided, appear to be intended to appeal to the general public; and
  2. that provide programs that:
    1. are able to be received by commonly available equipment; and
    2. are made available free to the general public; and
  3. that are usually funded by advertising revenue; and
  4. that are operated for profit or as part of a profit-making enterprise; and
  5. that comply with any determinations or clarifications under section 19 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 in relation to commercial broadcasting services.


The conditions which apply to commercial broadcasting licences are set down in sections 42, 43, 44 and schedule 2, parts 3 and 4 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.


The procedures for renewing commercial broadcasting licences are set out in section 46 of the Broadcasting Services Act.

A licensee must apply to renew its licence by completing an application form approved in writing by the Authority. The application form must be returned to the ACMA at least 20 weeks, but not more than one year, before the licence is due to expire.

Applications for the renewal of a commercial broadcasting licence must be accompanied by a renewal fee (currently determined by the Authority to be AUS $422).

The ACMA must publish a notice in the Gazette giving details of all the applications for renewal of licences it has received.

The ACMA will advise a licensee in writing when its licence has been renewed.

Transmitter licences

In order to operate a transmitter associated with a broadcasting licence a licensee needs to obtain an apparatus licence.

Last updated: 29 May 2013