License fee rebates for broadcasters, but no actual content requirements

The Government announced a rebate to ‘protect’ Australian content on commercial television, but there is no actual commitment to invest part of the money on local productions.

Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy said the rebate recognises the current level of Australian license fees compared to the US, the UK and Canada, as well as the broadcasters’ financial difficulties.

“Broadcasters are faced with a converging media environment and switch to digital television, as well as the impact on revenue created by a decline in advertising spend as a result of the Global Financial Crisis,” said Conroy in a press release.

“The Government recognises that the commercial television broadcasters will require some assistance to maintain Australian content production, while investing in a new delivery platform nationally.

“Licence fee rebates will be 33 percent in 2010 and 50 percent in 2011 to ensure that commercial broadcasters can continue to invest in new Australian content.”

Conroy added that the future role of licence fees will also be reviewed.

More to follow, as Encore has contacted the Screen Producers Association of Australia for a reaction, as no mentioned has been made about an actual obligation to use a percentage of the rebate money to produce Australian content.


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