The heads of some of Australia’s largest media outlets have appealed to the government to reform some of the industries long standing regulations in the face of a changing media landscape.
Fairfax Media Chief Executive, Greg Hywood and Seven West boss, Tim Worner have complained corporations such as Facebook, Netflix and Google were all encroaching upon the local advertising market.
Furthermore the media chiefs state this increase in competition is restricting local media companies ability to invest in quality journalism and TV shows.
The media heads sentiments where echoed by the heads of PRIME, WIN and Southern Cross Austereo, who said the sustainability of independent regional free-to-air television and the viability of local regional content was at stake.
The Australian Senate’s environment and communications legislation committee is currently conducting hearings on proposed legislation changes that could remove two media rules created in the pre-internet era.
The first of the two rules prevents a company from controlling commercial television licenses that reach more than 75 percent of the population.
The second rule that the committee is looking at prevents a proprietor from controlling more than two of any three radio, television and newspaper outlets in any one region.
According to The Advertiser, Mr Worner has demanded the government broaden its planned media ownership reforms to introduce a further cut to free-to-air licensing fees, which he said are among the highest in the world.
Mr Worner said the Australian TV industry was “in peril” due to large licensing fees limiting the amount broadcasters could invest into local TV shows.
“We want to be able to invest in Australian production. It’s going to become more and more important as our viewing landscape changes and at the moment we can’t do it,” he said.
The government announced in its May budget plans that it was looking to slash the licensing fees for television by 25 percent, however free-to-air channels Seven, Nine and Ten all complained that this was not enough.