The Prospect Of Streaming Platforms To Invest Significantly In Australian Television And Films Could Spell A Positive Future For The Domestic Screen Industry

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Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ will soon be subjected to regulatory scrutiny due to the Australian government’s desire to close the “regulatory gap” between traditional television platforms and unregulated streaming ones. 

Since Netflix launched in Australia in 2015, Arts Minister Tony Burke has been working diligently on addressing this issue.

If you’re watching commercial TV, there are Australian content obligations. But if you’re watching a streaming service, there are none. I know we can do better, and on Monday, January 30, I’ll explain the timeline as part of our National Cultural Policy launch.” Tony Burke tweeted.

The Labor Party recently introduced its National Cultural Policy, which included six months for consultation on the regulations of streaming services. All new rules must be implemented by July 1, 2024.

Australia is developing a policy requiring streaming platforms to pay a percentage of their domestic profits for local television and films.

Commercial free-to-air tv currently has a transmission quota of 55% local content, while pay-TV drama requires 10% expenditure on its production.

With Australians now consuming more online video than traditional television, the government must take urgent action to regulate local content on streaming platforms. 

In 2020-21, primary American streaming services became prevalent in Australia, with Netflix alone reaching over 50% of households – it’s time for this imbalance to be addressed.

Anxieties are mounting around the rise of unregulated online videos and the American platforms that could contribute to a “drowning out” of Australian voices. 

To safeguard our cultural identity, bolster employment opportunities for screen sectors, and guarantee Australians can observe themselves in media, regulating local content on streaming websites is essential.

It is no surprise that the leading streaming services have publicly opposed any new regulations, believing their current investment in Australia to be adequate. The Australian Communications and Media Authority reported an expenditure of $335.1 million from these five giants during the 2021-22 financial year for producing local content.

Now is the time to consider how much of the increased funds should be allocated for drama, children’s entertainment, and independent productions. In addition, it’s essential to discuss policy mechanisms for regulating streaming platforms in Australia as well as recognize the cultural benefits that Australian content can bring.

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