‘Seven has let its viewers down’: Network hit with new breach

Seven has been hit with a breach order by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), who claim its Prime Television network has broken local content rules.

In a statement issued on Thursday, ACMA claimed Seven had “not broadcast any local content in Mildura during the 16-month period since it has had a regulatory obligation to do so” – a requirement that was made when Seven acquired the Prime network in December 2021.

ACMA said this is the first time the rules have been triggered as Seven had met the local content requirements in seven other regional markets.

“Regional television audiences are entitled to content that is meaningful to their local area and, in the case of Mildura and its surrounding areas, Seven has let its viewers down,” ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said.

“This is especially disappointing given a network of Seven’s size and sophistication should have been on top of and meeting its regulatory obligations.”

“The period of non-compliance has remained unresolved for more than a year, to the detriment of local residents in and around Mildura,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

Seven has since responded to the breach, saying it relates to “an undertaking by Seven to hire one journalist for the Mildura/Sunraysia licence area”.

“The breach now identified by ACMA arose out of a miscommunication, compounded by having two different types of broadcast licence in Mildura, one of which is exempt from local programming requirements. Seven is now recruiting a journalist to produce news for Mildura/Sunraysia,” Seven said in its own statement given to Mumbrella.

“There was previously no requirement for local content in the Mildura/Sunraysia licence area, whereas all other ‘trigger events’ (that is, following Seven’s acquisition of Prime in 2022) impacted markets that had existing local programming obligations. All other Prime licence areas met the increased local programming obligations.”

ACMA has accepted a court enforceable undertaking from Prime Television which is now required to take steps to begin complying with the local content rules by 4 February, 2024.


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