A Plan for a Free and Fair Future
Only a fair and balanced regulatory framework will ensure Free TV can continue its strong investment in Australian content and delivery of universal free access to quality television services.
A permanent reduction of at least 50 per cent in licence fees – will bring them more into line with international standards and address the massive structural changes to the industry. This will allow broadcasters to maintain our investment in quality television services free to all Australians.
Flexibility around the existing Australian content rules will ensure that Free TV broadcasters can continue to promote and present great Australian content to the largest number of viewers.
Retransmission rights for Free TV broadcasters – to give us the right to determine if and how our services are carried on other competing platforms and the right to appropriate compensation, as is the case in the US.
In a world of endless choices, children’s content quotas which apply only to Free TV broadcasters are out-dated. Onerous administrative requirements should be removed and consistent advertising restrictions on marketing to children should apply across all platforms.
A platform-neutral approach to classification of content and consumer information, and a modernisation of timezones – to ensure consistent regulation of content, regardless of how it is consumed and to recognise increased viewer choice and control.
A reduction in the regulatory and administrative burden on regional television – to reflect the proliferation of alternative sources of information.
A streamlined system of self-regulation for advertising which is consistent across platforms and a simplification of hourly limits – to remove anomalies and inefficiencies in advertising regulation and reduce complex compliance rules.
News and current affairs
A consistent set of rules and safeguards for news and current affairs to be administered by a body or bodies with relevant expertise.
A new objective of regulatory consistency to be built into the new regulatory framework.
Competitive content market
Robust competition and copyright laws – to protect content rights and to address potential anti-competitive behaviour in the bundling of exclusive, premium content in the new communications environment.
No new commercial television licences – entry of new licensees would give viewers lower quality programs, fewer drama programs, cut-backs to news and current affairs and less local content.
Channel A spectrum
Allocate spare Channel A spectrum for community TV and as an innovation space for existing broadcasters – to provide a migration path for community TV and to ensure Australian audiences don’t miss out on innovative new broadcast technologies.
Licensing and spectrum
Maintain existing licensing and spectrum arrangements. Existing licences and spectrum arrangements have served the community well – and any changes have the potential to impact on millions of viewers.
Legislative amendment in 2012 on urgent issues such as licence fee relief and Australian content rules, whilst longer-term legislative reform continues.