Australian industry group Free TV has called for TV manufacturers to be required to give prominence to free local TV services under a plan submitted to the Federal Government.
Free TV CEO, Bridget Fair said, “A key election commitment of the Albanese Government and Minister Rowland was action to protect the right of all Australians to find local TV services on their televisions.
“Televisions and related devices have become very sophisticated, capable of delivering content to consumers across a vast array of applications.
“But Australians are finding it increasingly difficult to find local TV services. This is because TV manufacturers are exerting control over which options are displayed to consumers, directing viewers to those services that pay the highest price for preferred placement on the screen.
“Free local TV services are too important to our community for them to disappear from view while subscription streaming giants like Netflix, Disney and Amazon engage in a bidding war for top billing on the screens of Australian viewers. At a time when cost of living pressures are front of mind for many Australians, ensuring they can access quality free local TV services is critical.
“Free local TV services provide all Australians with quality local content such as entertainment, drama, live sport and trusted news. They are crucial in bringing Australians of all walks of life together.
“Our proposed mandatory industry code would require that all local TV services are easy for Australians to access directly from the home screen, via remote controls and through the voice controls.
“We also want to make sure that when buying their next television, Australians are provided with information regarding the availability of local TV services to assist in the purchase decision.
“We welcome the decisive action that the Albanese government and Minister Rowland have taken in laying out the path forward for implementing the prominence framework.
“Free TV looks forward to working with the Government to maintain the reform momentum so that the necessary measures can be put in place this year,” Ms Fair said.
A copy of the Free TV response to the Government’s call for submissions can be found at https://www.freetv.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Free-TV-Submission-Prominence-framework-for-connected-TV-devices.pdf