Citing urgent action being needed to protect Australians’ right to free television services, peak industry body Free TV Australia has launched its 2022 Federal Election Policy Manifesto today.
Free TV broadcasters are calling on both the Government and Opposition to make three policy commitments ahead of the 2022 Federal Election:
- Introduce a new law to require that Free TV services are prominent and easy to find on connected TVs and other content distribution platforms;
- Protect the access of all Australians to live and free sport by renewing the anti-siphoning list and expanding it to guard against iconic sports being exclusively locked behind the paywalls of streaming and pay TV services; and
- Make the transitional support payments for regional broadcasters permanent and undertake a proper review into the overall level of the broadcast spectrum tax.
Bridget Fair, Free TV Australia Chief Executive Officer, said: “The past two years have highlighted that commercial television creates national moments that bring the country together, from vital health information to sporting triumphs that are a part of the national psyche.
“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.”
According to new reseacrh released by Free TV, there is strong support for commercial television services in the electorate:
- 78% of Australians agree that reliable free-to-air television services are crucial, especially for those without strong internet;
- 76% of Australians agree that free-to-air television ensures Australians have access to iconic sporting events; and
- 72% of Australians agree that free-to-air television allows access to television without straining budgets.
“What we’ve found is that Australians overwhelmingly back free-to-air television, and the public want our politicians to support our industry too. That is why we’re calling for all parties to make these commitments as part of their electoral platforms in the lead up to this year’s election,” added Bridget Fair.
“Australian voters deserve to know whether they will continue to get free sport and easy access to their Free TV services before they go to the polling booth. Free TV welcomes the public comments from the Opposition committing to regulating prominence and protecting free universal sport. While the Morrison Government’s media sector reform policy statement of February 2022 acknowledged these critical issues, it fell short of the urgent action required to ensure the future of the broadcasting services relied on by millions of Australians.”
The Free. For Everyone. campaign launched in December 2021 and is running on outdoor, radio, TV, and digital advertising calling for the Government and Opposition to commit to the future of Free TV services. It is supported by research conducted by the C|T Group for Free TV.
The Free. For Everyone Policy Manifesto provides a detailed outline of the issues facing commercial broadcasters, and the actions needed to ensure the industry thrives into the future.