Stronger content quotas, producer offsets and stricter guidelines on what constitutes ‘local’ are key recommendations to come from the senate inquiry examining the economic and cultural value of Australian content on broadcast, radio and streaming services.
“The world is changing and so is the way we consume media. Whether it is film, television or music, we need to invest in the industry and bolster our cultural capital,” Greens media and arts spokesperson, and committee chair, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
“A healthy democracy is aided by a nation that can tell its own stories, and is able to hold a mirror up to itself and others. Telling stories about who we are and what our values are gives us a chance to reflect, debate and celebrate who we are as a nation. It is a unique, and important type of soft diplomacy that lets us engage with the world.
“With 7.1 million Australians using streaming services, we need to introduce content quotas for services like Netflix, Amazon and Stan. We need to make sure Australian programming is being shown where Australian audiences are.
“This does not mean we should let traditional broadcasters off the hook. If the big commercial broadcasters have their way, local content requirements for children’s television would be abolished. Children’s TV requirements must be maintained; our kids’ entertainment and education programming should not be left to Masterchef and Ninja Warrior.
“The screen and music industries inject almost $14 billion into our economy, and employ hundreds of thousands of people. Not only are these art forms great unifiers in our communities, they make a significant contribution to our economy.
“It makes good economic sense to support the industry that reflects who we are as a society, sharing that with the rest of the world.
“What this inquiry has shown is our entertainment sector is at a crossroads. Australians are passionate about local music, film and television, but the framework set up to support the industry needs to be brought into the modern world. We owe it to Australians, young and old, to support our local television, film and music industries to do what they do best in a changing media landscape.”
Australian Greens recommendations
1 The Australian Greens recommend that the content quota system be maintained to ensure the production of uniquely Australian content, and children's television.
2 The Australian Greens recommend that the Australian Government implement at least a 10 per cent expenditure, and a separate promotion, obligation on SVOD services operating in Australia.
The Australian Greens recommend that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission examine the need for UK-style Terms of Trade provisions to address the oligopsonic market conditions which currently exist.
4 Australian Greens recommend that the Australian Communications and Media Authority work with CRA, ARIA, APRA AMCOS, and other music industry stakeholders to ensure that Australian content obligations are being met by commercial broadcasters, and the current Code is still fit for purpose in terms of quota levels, application to DAB+ stations, time period and format categorisation given useful international comparators such as Canada.
The Australian Greens also recommend ARIA, APRA AMCOS and other the music industry stakeholders explore local content obligations with the music streaming services, with the Government to have oversight if industry agreement cannot be reached.
5 The Australian Greens recommend that the Australian Government introduce a single Producer Offset of 40 per cent for all types of qualifying production, including both film and television. The Australian Greens also recommend that the Producer Offset only be available to production companies which do not also hold a broadcasting licence to ensure the future of Australia's independent production sector.
6 The Australian Greens recommend that the Australian Government remove the 65 hour cap on television series from accessing the Producer Offset.
7 Australian Greens recommend that the Australian Government no longer recognise New Zealand content for the purpose of Australian content quotas.
8 The Australian Greens recommend that the Australian Government increase the Location Offset to 30 per cent.
9 The Australian Greens recommend that the Australian Government decouple the Location and PDV Offsets to allow for both offsets to be claimed for any single eligible production.
10 The Australian Greens recommend that the Location and PDV offsets be platform-neutral in their eligibility criteria, allowing SVOD services to access such incentives without disadvantaging the film and television industry.
Full report available here.<https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/AustralianContent/Report>