Morrison government plans to ban TV fees for job placement

“This issue of the ‘prominence’ with which particular channels are seen on smart TVs is important. I look forward to receiving guidance from the task force on this issue.

‘I consider an obvious question for the Task Force in crafting its advice is whether charging such fees is compatible with the policy objective of maximizing the availability of free-to-air television services.’

Prominence – that is, ensuring that Australian free-to-air channels and on-demand services on digital televisions are freely accessible – is a central issue for the free-to-air TV industry as audiences is shifting its content consumption to online means rather than watching television services through a traditional antenna.

Mr Fletcher has also contacted the UK government on how best to ensure free TV services remain easily accessible on digital TVs as Britain pushes legislation forward.

Britain has been pursuing the notoriety issue for several years, promising to legislate. However, the draft laws have not yet been made public.

Mr Fletcher wrote to Nadine Dorries, UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, to ‘strengthen the engagement between the Australian and UK Governments on the issue of brand awareness reform’ with discussions starting between senior officials.

Free TV lobby group Free TV has called for a mandatory industry code to force TV makers to make free TV services easy to find on connected or smart TVs. Nine Entertainment, the publisher of The Australian Financial Reviewis a member of Free TV.

Free TV chief executive Bridget Fair described Friday’s task force meeting as “very constructive”.

“We thank Minister Fletcher for starting work on this important initiative ahead of the election,” she said.

“Ensuring that all Australians have access to their free television services is the most pressing regulatory issue for the television industry.

“The public is increasingly dependent on smart TV operating systems to find their local television services and we are confident that a regulatory solution will be needed.

“Australians from all walks of life rely on free television services. Whatever the outcome of the election, politicians will have to make important decisions about the future of the industry that will affect what Australians can watch on TV and how to access it.

The Morrison government has also maintained its commitment to review anti-siphoning legislation, which grants free-to-air broadcasters first-tender rights for major events such as the AFL and NRL, before it expires in April 2023. including whether it should be extended to streaming services.

He said any review will take place before broadcast deals expire for major sporting codes, including the AFL, NRL, cricket and tennis. The rights to the AFL run until the end of 2023, while the NRL signed a five-year broadcast deal late last year. Broadcast deals for tennis and cricket both expire in 2024.

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