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Aussie Free-To-Air Fights For Smart TV Prominence

A new working group is fighting to ensure Australian free-to-air TV content is given “prominence” on smart TVs and connected devices.

The first meeting of the Future of Broadcasting Working Group, a new initiative driven by Paul Fletcher, Minister for Communications, sat on Friday.

The group was established to tackle the issues facing the free-to-air television sector, many of which are driven by rapid technology change and the rise of the internet, according to Fletcher.

“This issue of the ‘prominence’ – or the availability and visibility – of particular channels on smart TVs is an important one because of its potential to guide consumer decisions,” Minister Fletcher said.

“I look forward to receiving the advice of the Future of Broadcasting Working group on ‘prominence’ and other issues.”

Paul Fletcher.

Free TV CEO, Bridget Fair said: “Today’s meeting of the Future of Broadcasting Working Group was very constructive. We thank Minister Fletcher for commencing work on this important initiative prior to the election.

“Free TV Broadcasters particularly welcome the prioritisation of the work on prominence of Australian television services on smart TVs and other connected devices. Ensuring that all Australians have access to their free television services is the most urgent regulatory issue for the television sector.

“Audiences are increasingly dependent on smart TV operating systems for how they find their local television services, and we strongly believe that a regulatory solution will be required.

“Australians from all walks of life rely on Free TV services. Regardless of the election outcome, politicians will need to make important decisions on the future of the industry that will affect what Australians can watch on television, and how it can be accessed.”

Seven West Media managing director and chief executive officer, James Warburton, said: “Seven commends the Government and Minister Fletcher in taking this step to ensure that Australians continue to get free to air services on all their TVs wherever they are in Australia.

“Today’s workshop showed the commitment the Government and Minister Fletcher has to an enduring and thriving Australian TV industry.

“It’s time for the TV manufacturers to commit to ensuring free prominence on all TV sets and not wait for government regulation. This will ensure Australian content remains freely available to all Australians.”

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