Networks angry over “outrageous” govt incentive to Netflix, Amazon.

Commercial Free to Air networks have blasted a “last minute” move by the Government to offer production incentives to streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon, before the election.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield this week announced an extension of the Post, Digital and Visual Effects (PDV) and Location Offsets for online platforms such as Stan, 10 All-Access, Netflix and Amazon Prime, to attract more investment in Australian screen production.

But Free TV CEO, Bridget Fair said: “This announcement is outrageous. It has been six years since the Coalition Government was elected. Free TV has consistently sought meaningful reform of content regulations that have been in place since the 1980’s. The Australian Content Review was conducted in 2017. After two years, Minister Fifield has seen fit to announce a single initiative five minutes before the commencement of the caretaker period that benefits foreign multinational streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

“Commercial television broadcasters are the source of more Australian production than anyone else in this country. The Government should be looking to how broadcasters can be assisted to continue the important role they play in the Australian production industry, not making piecemeal decisions that advantage unregulated competitors on digital platforms.”

But Debra Richards, CEO of locations marketing agency Ausfilmn welcomed the move.

“SVODS are also major players in content and distribution globally, so the Government’s decision to include SVOD television as an eligible platform to apply for the Location and PDV Offsets supports the Australian screen industry to increase opportunities for more work, more jobs, more training, more innovation and more growth of their business. Ausfilm is delighted with the Government’s announcement of this resolution to the existing Offsets,” she told the Hollywood Reporter.

The incentive also comes without any requirement to deliver meet local quotas, which is also required of Free to Air and Pay TV drama channels.

“It defies logic to prop up unregulated foreign streaming platforms with Government funding while commercial broadcasters remain saddled with a range of content obligations that no longer reflect how Australians are consuming content and are in urgent need of a complete overhaul,” said Bridget Fair.

“The Australian Content Review conducted in 2017 was supposed to look at how we should update these outdated regulatory settings. We are still waiting for the Government to provide a meaningful response.”

11 Comments:

  1. Try asking some of the thousands of film practitioners who are set to benefit from this announcement by the government. Without incentives like this to help with employment and training, there will be no film industry when the networks decide to stop making cheap reality fare.

  2. it’s a bit rich for the FTA networks to cry foul when they’ve had plenty of handouts and concessions made in their direction over the years, and much of it with no strings attached or incentives to actually improve their offerings. If they don’t want to be in the FTA business then hand back their licences and go to a streaming model, if they’re so jealous of that.

  3. The local networks have nothing to cry over. All they want to produce is unwatchable reality crap like Married at First Site and the countless other reality shows

  4. thedirtydigger

    Considering the small amount of commissions and ” looking after mates ” that permeates the ABC and SBS culture , I don’t believe this is a bad thing at all.

  5. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and later Apple+ will be outpacing the movie industry with the billions spent on making its movies and SVOD content, why shouldn’t Australian producers actors and production staff get a slice of this potentially lucrative cake. CFTA networks have put all their eggs in budget reality TV universe because it allows more opportunity for non-stop advertising, Netflix alone has a massive global audience that could set up the career of a new Australian actor or director, those who control the FTA should suck in their bellies and look at being involved in some co-productions instead of just whingeing, which has become an Australian pastime in recent years.

  6. Free TV CEO, Bridget Fair said: “… foreign multinational streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime …” but conveniently forgets Australian-owned Stan or that “foreign multinational” CBS owns 10.

  7. So first networks complain that international streaming services don’t contribute anything to Australian production. Now they complain when the government provides streamers an incentive to produce content here. Considering the Australian scripted content has been lacking on FTA networks I don’t think they are really ones to talk…

  8. “This announcement is outrageous. It has been six years since the Coalition Government was elected.”

    In which they first reduced licence fees from 4.5% of gross revenue to 3.375%, then canned the licence fee of $127 million for 2016 and 2017 altogether while they transitioned to a spectrum fee which is now around $40 million.

    Reduction: https://tvtonight.com.au/2016/11/25-licence-fee-cut-passes-parliament.html
    Abolition: https://tvtonight.com.au/2017/06/networks-welcome-licence-fee-relief.html
    Spectrum: https://tvtonight.com.au/2017/05/budget-dumps-licence-fees-introduces-gambling-ad-ban.html

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