TV and Film Producers ‘Missing Out’ Power Imbalance with Streamers

The report highlights the UK’s approach to level the playing field as a model that Australia could adopt to better protect its production industry. The UK model requires buyers and display companies to agree on terms of trade that preserve reasonable opportunities for display producers.

The report suggests that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission should be tasked with administering a program similar to that in the UK, where the communications regulator, Ofcom, has the legal capacity to arbitrate the terms of trade. agreed between broadcasters and the industry representative group, PACT.

Local content quotas

“This process facilitated contracting and enabled the production sector to develop and market a wide range of innovative formats that have led to the success of large export and offshore operations,” the report said.

Along with the terms of trade requirement, the report recommends that streaming companies be required to meet local content quotas, a suggestion in the Morrison government’s Green Paper on Media Reform.

Lateral Economics CEO and one of the report’s authors, Nicholas Gruen, said new streaming platforms were a source of new demand, but the “convenience these large streamer companies have is getting too much weight in the media. negotiations against the small players who don’t have too many choices, and the result is that they lead to a sort of day-to-day existence ”.

Mr Gruen said that while the growth in the streaming market helps grow the production industry in the short term, it has led production companies to sell short and lose in the long term.

Australia’s streaming and television industry has already spoken out against the proposed content quota.

Stan’s parent company, Nine Entertainment, which also owns the banner, argued that a quota requirement on international companies would increase the cost of content, leaving commercial broadcasters and local streaming players such as Stan. or Foxtel’s Binge unable to compete.

The streaming giants have pushed back the need for government regulation by focusing on existing investments in local content and contributing to the Australian economy. In fiscal 2021, Netflix, Stan, Disney +, and Amazon Prime Video spent $ 630 million on Australian content.

The Australian media industry is awaiting an update from the government on its green paper on media reform. The next step is likely to be far-reaching, covering a number of areas including spectrum plans, anti-siphoning legislation and a new classification regime.

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