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Government to enforce Australian content rules for pay TV.



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Media

Release

 

SENATOR THE HON RICHARD ALSTON

Minister for Communications, the Information Economy and the Arts

Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate

 

 

Government to enforce Australian content rules for pay TV

 

The Government will req uire pay TV operators to comply with the 10% Australian content rules by amending the Broadcasting Services Act, the Minister for Communications, the Information Economy and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston announced today.

 

The Government's decision not to increase the requirement, but to enforce the 10% level, follows a comprehensive review of the Australian content rules for pay TV, including detailed investigations by the Australian Broadcasting Authority and the Bureau of Transport and Communications Economics.

 

“Government is concerned that the amount of spending on new Australian drama on pay TV has fallen well below the 10% required by the Broadcasting Services Act,” Senator Alston said.

 

“The current rules are not enforceable because they do not take account of the operating practices of the pay TV industry.

 

“Amendments to the Act will take account of the roles and responsibilities of the various parties such as the licensees, the pay TV broadcasters and the channel providers. Most importantly they will ensure that the rules can be enforced,” Senator Alston said.

 

As with other obligations in the legislation, the onus will be on licensees to ensure that the required expenditure is made. The requirement will continue to apply only to predominantly drama channels. The continued requirement to spend on new Australian drama reflects the cultural importance of drama programming.

 

“The decision not to increase the requirement above 10% acknowledges that the pay TV industry is still in a relatively early stage of its development.”

 

“The Government is confident that an enforceable 10% requirement will provide a good level of return to the Australian drama production industry.

 

“For example the Bureau of Transport and Communications Economics predicts the movie channels could be investing up to $40 million in the industry by 2004 at the 10% level,” Senator Alston said.

 

There will be further consultation with the pay TV industry and the Australian Broadcasting Authority on the detail of the proposed amendments.

 

The Government will reassess the scheme with another review in three years.

 

Media contact:

Terry O'Connor, Minister's office,  02 6277 7480

Website: www. richardalston.dca.gov.au

 

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2 April 1998