Free TV’s sweet deal may whiff, but so does The Oz’s second bite

There’s a funny feeling of deja vu about the front page of today’s Australian – and indeed the front page of its second, A Plus, section.  

The paper has dedicated a lot of space – and a leader column – to the government’s generous decision to give the free to air broadcasters a big discount on what they are charged for accessing the public airwaves.

Fair enough – it’s an important issue (and something of a murky one at that). Mumbrella reported on it on Monday and was suitably sceptical about the spin that this was about somehow guaranteeing local content, pointing out that no new standards were attached. It was obvious from the start that a political deal had been stitched up.

But the odd thing is that The Oz had done the story on Monday too, leading its Media section with it. The only new angle appears to be the predictable one that it’s been good for the TV companies’ share prices.

The move has enraged the pay TV sector. Obviously the unusual  second bite of the cherry in The Australian’s coverage is nothing to do with the fact that the Australian’s owner News Corp also has a 25% share of Foxtel.

Just as yesterday’s somewhat leaky front page story in The Oz about the ABC supposedly suppressing a broadcast so as not to annoy the Chinese was nothing to do with anger at the national broadcaster’s current big ambitions.

Feb 11 update: And what do you know? News Ltd’s Daily Telegraph has taken on the topic today, making it the lead on page 7, with the angle being a call for the networks being banned form putting the money straight to their bottom line.

Feb 12 update: And today The Tele has given almost a full page column to 2GB’s Alan Jones to continue the rant.

Tim Burrowes


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.