TV Networks Claim Google + Netflix Are A Threat Handouts Needed To Survive

Written by David Richards     05/03/2014 | 08:02 | Category: CONTENT & DOWNLOADS

Free to air TV stations who over the past two decades have raked in millions have gone cap in hand to the Federal Government looking for a handout.

TV Networks Claim Google + Netflix Are A Threat Handouts Needed To Survive

Via TV trade organisation Free TV the Federal Government has been told that that the TV networks Nine, Ten and Seven are experiencing a "profound economic squeeze" and want licence fee payments axed among other regulatory changes.

They claim that both Google and Netflix are a threat to their future. The networks have warned Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull that overseas entrants into the local market had put heavy pressure on revenues, citing companies such as Google and streaming giant Netflix, which pay little tax in Australia. 

What has not been highlighted is the fact that Netflix does not officially operate in Australia and that Google has not yet launched their Chromecast service which allows consumers to easily access overseas content.

Recently Turnbull asked the media and telecommunications industries for a wish list of deregulation initiatives last year as part of the government attempt to cut business red tape.

"As an industry, we acknowledge and accept that from the perspective of many citizens, commercial FTA (free-to-air) broadcasting is 'special'," Free TV chief executive Julie Flynn told the Australian newspaper.

 "It is the home of high-quality free content, especially news and sport and, finally, it holds a special place in the affections of many Australians, participating alongside the public broadcasting sector in the national conversation."

Networks pay 4.5 of their gross revenues, but a removal of the licence fee is unlikely, although Mr Turnbull has indicated he is sympathetic to a shake-up of media ownership rules.

The Australian said that media bosses will lobby the minister at a summit in Sydney on Friday for the repeal of ownership rules, making possible mergers between metropolitan and regional broadcasters.

The nation's telecommunication giants have also called on the government to reduce regulatory red tape, saying the present reporting regime is outdated and inefficient.

"A number of factors exist that provide good conditions and incentives to reset the regulatory settings in Australia," Optus wrote in its submission.

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