Networks to lobby govt on licence fee rebates, internet piracy.

online_piracySeven, Nine and TEN are on the hunt for another round of licence fee rebates from the federal government, or ask that they be abolished altogether.

Network TEN chief executive Hamish McLennan, Nine Entertainment CEO David Gyngell, and Seven West Media CEO Tim Worner attended a meeting of Free TV Australia yesterday, chaired by Harold Mitchell.

The networks believe the fees come at a time when they face greater competition from online content.

The first rebate cut came in 2010 in the form of a 33 per cent rebate which then-Opposition leader Tony Abbott described as a “dodgy” election bribe.

“It looks like they’re buying favourable coverage,” he said at the time.

By 2011 the rebate was extended. By 2012 networks wanted further deregulation, complaining about limits on minutes of advertising during a program and daily quotas of Australian programs.

By March this year the government approved a 50% rebate on broadcasting licence fees becoming permanent on the condition the channels increase their Australian content by 1,490 hours by 2015.

Networks also want to see renewed action on the problem of online piracy.

“Piracy is massive in Australia, and a very big issue for television,” Mitchell told The Australian.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull was once an in-house lawyer for Kerry Packer when he ran the Nine Network.


  1. The music industry has changed in recent year, movie industry is going the same way, it’s time for TV to catch up. I know a lot more shows are being fast tracked this year, more than ever but they still have a lot of work to do. Maybe it will mean more local content thus curbing piracy as there won’t be a delay?

  2. Tony’s already getting rid of the carbon tax and the mining tax, if he also gives this hand out to the big end of town, you wonder who’s going to pay for the schools & hospitals.

  3. Armchair Analyst

    Not surprising at this at all. I did an australian media course at Uni last year and within a text book on pay tv it stated that pay tv could have been introduced earier in OZ but because of the objections from the FTA networks and them lobying the Federal Labor Govt at the time it was held off untill late 1994 to sometime in 1995. When paytv was finally introduced it had Gallaxy, Optus, Foxtel and Austar. 5 or 6 yrs later Foxtel and Optus signed content sharing agreements and Gallaxy folded and recently Foxtel bought out Austar. Clearly australian mainstream media dislike Competition. Tony will have to tread a fine line he cant make it look obvious, that he is giving into Media Barrons again.

  4. How about this – the government, who works for the people (supposedly) put this to public comment…

    The public will respond with their list of what they expect from FTA broadcasters, and if they adhere to that list, then reduce the fees

    The list should include things like:
    – start programs on time
    – finish series
    – premium content on HD channels
    – reduce watermarks/and their clutter
    – reduce during program promotions with banners
    – remove home shopping off main networks

    I am sure the public, to whom this spectrum belongs to, can compile a decent list

  5. Yes, action is needed on piracy. Go for it Harold. Let’s abolish the licence fee for Free TV – but as a compromise, dump the anti-syphoning rules.

  6. Dream on. They have had a 50% reduction in licence fees and apart from Ten they are profitable at level that now and advertising revenue is tipped to increase from 2014 on.

    They aren’t interested in decreasing piracy, because the solution to that is to provide viewers with what they want at a reasonable markup. They just want to preserve their oligopoly and deprive consumers of choice.

    To this end they have bought up the rights to lots of stuff just to stop somebody else having it, and then not screened it or screened it when people don’t want to watch it.

    They have also bought up the internet rights to shows and given them away on catch-up services to stop Hulu or Netflix type services being launched.

    Now they want more government subsidies to increase their profits.

  7. So they want us to watch shows massively delayed at times, with odd start times, with extended adverts, full of their ‘social media’ crap in the screens, adverts at the bottom if the screens, huge watermarks with adverts for other shows, in standard definition?

    And they expect to make even more millions by getting a rebate in licensing?

    They can go get stuffed.

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