Federal government’s publishers’ innovation fund still yet to launch

The Federal government’s Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund appears to be still bogged down in bureaucracy, over a year after the program was announced.

Originally planned to launch in July this year as part of minister Mitch Fifield’s media reform package, the scheme was delayed after legislation was stuck in the Senate.

In the meantime, the private sector has stepped in to fill the gap with Media Super launching a $20m innovation fund for publishers in September, Google launching its Asia-Pacific innovation challenge offering up to US$300,000 for publishers’ projects and, last week, Sydney billionaire Judith Neilson launching $100m journalism fund.

Once the scheme was opened earlier this year, 186 publishers applied for grants, forcing ACMA to announce the first round of  successful applicant would be announced “likely in November 2018” as the agency struggled to evaluate the applications.

November has passed and still there is no news of the successful applicants with an ACMA spokesperson telling Mumbrella the agency “expects to be in a position to announce the results shortly.”

While the first $16m round of funding remains bogged down, the second round is due to open early next year.

The grants, which were part of the deal made by the government to secure its media reform package last year, are intended to help eligible publishers and content providers to compete in the evolving media environment.

Up to $16 million will be available per annum over the next three financial years across three categories.

Small grants of up to $20,000 are intended to support early stage projects developing new ways of producing and disseminating journalistic content. These can include small-scale IT upgrades or stages of technology projects.

Grants valued between $20,001 to $250,000 will be intended to trial initiatives that improve the development and distribution of public interest journalism.

Large grants of over $250,000 will be given to projects promising a significant impact on the provision and availability of public interest journalism.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.