Report: Networks explore joint campaign over licence fees

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Seven, Nine and TEN have held talks to campaign over their push to lower or erase licence fees in Australia.

It follows recent reports that they are likely to miss out on a cut in the upcoming Federal Budget.

Networks have argued the $153m in fees is onerous and prohibits them from investing further monies into Australian production.

Seven CEO Tim Worner (pictured) recently told a Senate hearing “We’re paying licence fees that are far in excess of any other jurisdiction in the world. Governments in other jurisdictions have moved some years ago to address this.

“We’ve shown already with the last lot of licence fee reductions that more than 100 per cent of it will go back into the production of local content. We will see hundreds if not thousands of new jobs created because of the amount of local production that we can undertake,” he said.

“We simply cannot now. We have things that are parked waiting at an amber light. We just do not have the money to fund them.”

FremantleMedia boss Ian Hogg also expressed support for the move earlier this week.

“After the last licence fee reduction in 2011, the free-to-air spend on local content increased by more than $300 million (FreeTV),” he wrote.

“Healthy broadcasters, all of whom recognise that Australian content will become increasingly important to their schedules, will lead to more money being spent on local production. This could lead to a new era of investment in Australian stories. Any reinvigorated ecosystem needs a catalyst and the forefront of that change should be strong, considered policy that contemplates the entire sum of the parts.”

A joint campaign by Seven, Nine and TEN on our screens could prove to be very influential in garnering support for their argument.

Licence fees were previously halved to 4.5 per cent of TV revenues, but without any increase in local content requirements.

Source: The Australian

9 Comments:

  1. Maybe if the government actually paid Ch 7 they could produce even more content and employ millions of people… Im being facetious.

  2. spectrum warrior

    I’m fine with a $0 licence. The only thing is, you can’t use the spectrum. Plus you don’t get any tax dollars to change to an Internet broadcaster. Sounds fair.

  3. Would you buy a used car from Tim Worner? His claims of thousand of new jobs and all the money going straight into local production is complete shite unless you factor the doubling in sports rights licences Seven paid for AFL and Nine paid for NRL. These guys probably have the softest TV regulation of any developed country. Just look at how long a commercial hour of Australian drama is, 45 minutes. The rest is ads and promos. I don’t think an on-air campaign is going to win over any viewers and could easily be revealed as false and misleading. I doubt the government will cut the fees as it is in enough of a budget mess as it is and this would be very hard to defend before an election.

  4. Secret Squïrrel

    While they’re all in the same room, perhaps they could arrange not to schedule similar programs against each other so that viewers have a genuine choice.

    Here we go again. Multi-million dollar companies wanting to be given extremely valuable, publicly-owned RF spectrum for free. Why not just give it to Telstra then?

    Worner likes to compare us with other “jurisdictions” (I think he means countries) when it’s convenient. Well, other countries broadcast in HD and their programs usually start at the advertised time. Come back with your begging bowl when you’ve got that fixed.

    No surprise that FremantleMedia’s Hogg supports the networks in this. He must be rubbing his hands together at the thought of there potentially being another half a billion dollars to spend with his company.

  5. doubt they will garner much sympathy. I know I would doubt that they would invest any savings into local production – i’d say it would more go to the bottom line.

  6. Joint campaign!! maybe viewers should also have a campaign asking the networks to get rid of hideous watermarks I know what channel I’m on

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