The Australian Government has released the Supporting Australian stories on our screens options paper. The paper was co-authored by Screen Australia and the ACMA at the request of government in response to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Digital Platforms Inquiry. It forms part of the government’s media reform agenda.
The options paper considers how to best support Australian stories on our screens in a modern, multi-platform environment. It focuses on the content obligations of free-to-air television broadcasters and examines whether there should be Australian content obligations on subscription video-on-demand services.
The paper outlines several options, ranging from keeping the status quo to deregulation. These are designed to prompt industry feedback to assist in the development of a regulatory framework that promotes the government’s intent to support Australian stories on our screens. It is anticipated that these matters will be explored in consultations with the industry.
In the past weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened existing issues and pressures. Decreases and uncertainty in the advertising market are impacting the financial viability of broadcasters and social distancing measures to manage the spread of COVID-19 have had a dramatic effect on commercial and subscription television, as their content production pipelines have effectively shut down.
In response, the ACMA has implemented temporary measures to support commercial and subscription television licensees.