What is happening to our local news services? Are they under threat?

Answer

Regional broadcasters are facing increasing cost pressures, and increasing competition. The problem is, we’re not competing on a level playing field; the capital city media companies and international internet services reach into our markets but don’t operate under any restrictions or a pay a license fee like regional broadcasters to do so.   

The Broadcasting Services Act restricts the number of types of media any one media company can own in a licence area (i.e. TV, radio, newspaper) and the number of Australians each television network is allowed to reach.

But it doesn’t account for the internet, or the fact that big city TV networks, internet news services, and Pay TV now reach 100% of the Australian population via smartphones, tablets, live streaming services and catch-up TV.

Faced with rising costs, restrictions on what economies of scale can be achieved and increased competition in regional licence areas, regional broadcasters have limited options to manage costs and remain viable. Cuts to local content on regional radio and television are inevitable unless this changes.

We want urgent changes to broadcasting rules so that we can compete on the same basis as everyone else that provides content into our markets.