Screen Industry Calls On Government to Support More Local Content
Members of Australia’s screen industry have implored the Australian government to ensure that the rules regulating local content levels extend to all viewing platforms.
A group of screen industry representatives, including actors Roy Billing (pictured) and Matt Day, John Collee (the screenwriter behind Master & Commander), among others from the Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA), the Australian Directors’ Guild (ADG), the Australian Writers’ Guild (AWG), and the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) joined together to deliver a message to the Australian Government in Canberra yesterday.
The subject of their message was simple: for the Government to implement the key regulatory recommendations from the 2012 Convergence Review towards locally made television content on digital multi-channels, which are quickly rising in popularity, and subscription TV.
“The Convergence Review Panel delivered its final report in March this year and made the logical and necessary recommendation that the current Australian Content Standard be extended to the new digital multi-channel environment and the Pay TV platform. We were told that the Government supported this move but, six months later, the lack of progress has us worried,” said SPAA President Brian Rosen.
MEAA President Simon Burke said: “Our message is clear. We can’t open our doors to a flood of foreign screen content at the expense of Australian content. If the local content regulation regime is not extended to these new platforms, the implications for all Australians are clear. Less Australian content on our screens means less distinctively Australian stories for future generations.”
The call for action revolves around two main recommendations. The first is that free-to-air commercial broadcasters be required to screen a minimum level of first release Australian adult drama, children’s drama and documentary on their digital multi-channels equal to 50% of the current minimum obligation on their main channels.
The second is that children’s and documentary Pay TV channels be required to spend an amount equivalent to 10% of their acquisition budgets on first release Australian programs in these genres.
The concern of these screen industry members has been amplified by the fact that, according to ADG President Ray Argall, commercial free-to-air broadcasters have sought not to have any additional Australian content obligations imposed on them on economic grounds.
Photo credit: Supporting this action is Australian veteran actor Roy Billing. Photo courtesy of Getty Images/Brendon Thorne.