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Free TV Australia urges Government to fast-track reforms to FTA sector

Free TV Australia will work with the Government on the future of free-to-air television delivery options, but has urged the Australian Government to fast-track critical reforms to the free TV sector.

The announcement comes as public broadcasters the ABC and SBS have received a funding boost from the Government ahead of the upcoming federal election. The Morrison government also announced a series of new measures set to incentivise SVOD players to invest in Australian content and referred to plans for a future regulatory structure optimised for technology changes in the sector.

 

 

Free TV Australia CEO, Bridget Fair, said: “The announcement from the Government today acknowledges the critical issues faced by the Free TV sector and the millions of Australians who rely on our services.

“While we welcome the opportunity to continue to work with the Government on the future delivery options for television services, there remain policy matters that must be addressed now in order to ensure that Australians can continue to enjoy access to local news, Australian entertainment programming and live and free sport.”

Fair has urged the Government to commit to:

• Introducing a new law to require that free TV services, including live TV and catch-up apps, are prominent and easy for consumers to find on modern digital television sets;• Protecting the access of all Australians to live and free sport by renewing the anti-siphoning list and expanding it to guard against sport being put behind the paywalls of multi-national streaming companies; and • Building on the Government’s commitment to extend the commercial broadcasting spectrum tax support payments for regional broadcasters by reducing the tax for all broadcasters in line with international best practice.”

“Now is the time to act on these issues. With 13 million Australians tuning in each and every day to commercial television, there is no time to wait to secure the future of these vital services,” Fair added.

“Imagine if Ash Barty’s Aussie Open triumph was only available to those Australians who could afford to subscribe to a streaming service, or had reliable internet? This is the stark reality that we face if these important reforms are not immediately put in place.”

The message will be reinforced in Free TV Australia’s ‘Free. For. Everyone’ campaign, launched in December 2021. The national campaign underpins the value of free-to-air television and its inclusivity of Australians from all walks of life.

“We remain committed to working with all sides of politics to ensure that the policy settings are right for the future of television services that all Australians rely on. That work must start today,” concluded Fair.

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