The Morrison government suspended a wide range of local content obligations and committed an additional $ 54 million to Australian television and radio and publishers in an effort to support media struggling with the economic impact of Coved 19.
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher announced on Wednesday that Australian drama, children’s content and documentaries will be suspended on free TV and subscription for 2020, although requirements for 55% of Australian general content will remain.
The federal government will also provide a 12-month tax exemption to commercial radio and television broadcasters, at a cost of $ 41 million, and will invest $ 50 million in the regional press, of which $ 13.4 million is new money.
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Workers welcomed the package but accused the government of being slow to respond to industry requests for support, which existed before Covid-19.
The media industry was under pressure due to low advertising revenue during the Corona Virus crisis, which encouraged the suspension of local community headlines by the Australian Australian community and the New Zealand News Corp. Seven West Media is extremely risky due to $ 683 million in debt.
Although calls to remove the content quota and the cost of TV licenses were recently rejected in November, Fletcher extended the help package based on the steps on Wednesday.
He said that the government offered “urgent, short-term support” to the media sector because it was “doing the hard work” and in recognition of the fact that “public interest journalism is very important in informing and strengthening local communities.”
He explained that the content obligations have been postponed because Covid-19 “has virtually ceased producing Australian screen content.”
In addition to a $ 51 million spectrum tax reduction, the government will create a $ 50 million public interest news-gathering program for television, newspaper and commercial radio companies in the Australian region.
Most of the money for this program – $ 36 million – will come from “unearmarked money transfers” from business packages and small and overcrowded regional publisher packages.
On the digital platform issue, the Australian Competition and Consumer Committee recommends that the government restructure regional media grants, after criticizing that the first round of “innovation” grants was very strict.
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Fletcher said that the guidelines for the new program will be issued “in the coming weeks”, promising that it will be “available to various organizations” from the previous program, which was negotiated based on an agreement with Tim Nick Xenophon to ease media ownership laws.
Fletcher also released an option sheet by Screen Australia and the Australian Media and Communications Authority that suggested “harmonizing regulations to support Australian content” – which can be seen that online broadcast services such as Netflix and YouTube are forced to produce Australian content, according to recommendations from a digital platform investigation.
“Free and regulated broadcasters are competing with digital platforms and unregulated video streaming services,” said Fletcher. “It has been proven for some time – and the Covid-19 crisis makes it clear – that this is not sustainable.
“This arrangement threatens the sustainability of television broadcasting – and hence the sustainability of the film and television content sector.”
Communications spokesperson Michelle Roland said the package is “a deep recognition of the failure of this government, and it is now in its seventh year.”
He said, “The Australian media was already in crisis before Covid-19.” “For many years, the Labor Party has called on this government to reform its policy and regulatory framework and implement concrete plans to support Australian content, public interest press and regional media in a scene that has changed through convergence and rapprochement.”
Roland said the package “is also a recognition of the Nick Xenophon-inspired innovation fund for small and regional publishers, a failure the Labor Party warned, when it was announced in 2017.”
“The government only blames itself for the bad results and wasting time.”
Greens Communications spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said the government had failed to “provide real assistance” to the arts and entertainment industry, and that reducing the local content quotas “would in fact exacerbate the situation for the thousands of artists and artists who lost their jobs.”
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