Free-To-Air TV Stands Its Ground Following Arrival Of Netflix
The report found the commercial free-to-air television industry generated an economic surplus of $3.2 billion in 2014, with Free TV chairman Harold Mitchell stating broadcasters need government support to maintain the health of the sector.
“There’s been a lot of nonsense talked about the future of television recently without much factual basis to support it,” Mitchell stated.
“We commissioned the Venture report to provide an independent analysis of the economic value commercial free-to-air broadcasters provide to the economy, to viewers and to advertisers. We’ve always known that our members are the major investors in Australian content and the broader economy, and this report quantifies that contribution for the first time.”
However, Mitchell stated the contribution made by the industry is at risk if it is “held back by outdated rules and regulations”.
“We are at a critical time for broadcasters,” he commented. “We are all investing in new services to respond to audience demands for our content when and where they want. But nearly 18 months after we switched off analogue we are still saddled with a range of outdated rules and regulations that don’t apply to anyone else.
“This is unsustainable. Governments and the community can’t afford to be complacent about this. Google, Apple, Netflix and all the other global players who are now entering our market are not going to employ 15,000 Australians or invest over $1.5 billion in Australian content annually.”
Among the report’s findings are that commercial free-to-air television is by far the largest contributor to domestic content production in Australia, spending over $1.5 billion a year on Australian programming, responsible for $6 out of every $10 of spending on domestic content.
Additionally, the report found the commercial free-to-air industry pumps $2.8 billion per year back into the economy through production, payroll, technology, advertising and taxation, supporting over 15,000 jobs in broadcasting and the independent production sector.
“We don’t have a strong and vibrant television sector by accident,” Mitchell commented. “We drive the entire television and production ecosystem through our investment in great content and great people.”