Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal Party are proposing changes to media laws and taxation that is clearly designed to buy the support of the major media companies and their owners. The people who will be paying for it are Australian taxpayers to the tune of well over $100 million.
Why is it that when most of the major media owners are billionaires the taxpayers are giving them a financial handout? Australian media are under extreme duress as far as their long-term profitability and viability are concerned but most of that is the fault of extremely poor management.
The TV networks have paid way too much for their overseas content and Australian Sport, Fairfax’s senior management are only worried about their own multi-million-dollar wages and Channel 10 and Channel 9 management haven’t had a clue what day it is for a very long time. And let’s not get started on Kerry Stokes’ Seven West Media where most of the money seems to be stolen by managers, spent paying off and silencing women or snorting cocaine.
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield announced the wider package on Saturday morning, including the dumping of the current licence fee regime in favour of a $40 million spectrum fee charged across free-to-air broadcasters.
Across the metropolitan and regional broadcasters, licence fees were roughly $150 million in the 2016 financial year. (Click here to read more)
The “two out of three” rule prevents a person or company from owning all three of metropolitan newspapers, television stations and radio stations in a capital city market.
The “reach rule” prevents a person or company from controlling a commercial television network with a licence area that exceeds 75 per cent of the Australian population.
The elimination of television licence fees has won over the free-to-air broadcasters, who will save $130 million. They will now be charged an annual spectrum fee, estimated to raise around $40 million.
Over the next four years, $30 million of taxpayer money will be paid to subscription television networks – read Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Sports – to increase coverage of women’s sports and niche sports. The anti-siphoning list, which stops pay TV broadcasters from buying the rights to sports events before free-to-air broadcasters have the opportunity to purchase the rights, will also be reduced.
“It’s no surprise that this package was announced by the Prime Minister just after he met Rupert Murdoch in the US,” said a key adviser to the deal. (Click here to read more)
The reduction in the annual TV licence fees means the public will have to pay a higher share of tax. A key reason the TV Networks pay the fees is because they get exclusive rights to major sport etc. If current TV owners don’t want to pay the fees then give the licences to someone else because I have no doubt the government wouldn’t have a problem finding companies who would be happy to do so.
And why is the government giving Rupert Murdoch $30 million “to increase coverage of women’s sports and niche sports” especially when the country has a budget deficit of $30 to $40 billion and heading to a total debt of $500 billion plus.
What government want the Australian taxpayers to be paying for is the gross incompetence of the management by the TV stations. The new laws haven’t passed parliament yet and they might be shot down by the Australian Senate although Senator Nick Xenophon and his party are believed to support the new media laws because of the reduction in gambling advertising as part of the package.
And it must be remembered that Pauline Hanson owes Kerry Stokes plenty so I would expect her to keep Kerry happy and support the laws if he says to.
It is like the Midnight Oil song which says: “The rich get richer, the poor get the picture” in their aptly titled song from 1982 “Read About It”.
The decline of Australian Media
It was only last week that Channel 10 announced a loss of $232 million which means major job losses are not far away for their staff. But Channel 10 are not the only ones struggling.
“Since March, three other major media companies have announced job losses. The ABC will retrench 200 employees by June. Fairfax Media, publisher of this website, will strip around $30 million from its editorial budget. And News Corp will cut $40 million.“ (Click here to read more)
And Fairfax staff are currently on strike after they were told that another 125 jobs will be lost. (Click here to read more)
New media = Social Media – Why should we pay for Old Media failures?
Throwing good money after bad is what the government is doing. A democracy needs a strong media but the old media has not done a good enough job and if they want to survive they need to change their ways not be propped up by the taxpayers.
Transfer of power to social media
Most of the old media in Australia is controlled by a few Billionaires such as Rupert Murdoch, Kerry Stokes, Bruce Gordon, James Packer, Lachlan Murdoch and Gina Rinehart. They don’t need a helping hand. What they badly need is decent management.
The federal government should be saving the money until the old media bottom out more and the landscape of where media is heading becomes clearer.
I have no doubt that a major growth in individual and independent journalists will be the way of the future but exactly how that is funded is still unknown.
Google, Facebook, The Guardian and The Daily Mail etc.
Australian media blaming foreign media for all their problems is a waste of time and false. A huge reason that Australian media is declining is because they regularly refuse to write or broadcast stories that they should and that are in the public interest.
Editors at media companies pull stories a lot more than people realise and it often happens because the owner decides to do a favour for a politician, a business associate or a major advertiser. And that is why a lot of the audience are deserting mainstream media and going online because they know they’ll find stories the old media refuse to run. Each time they have refused to publish stories that they should not only did they not sell more papers or get more viewers but they also educated the audience that they need to use social media more if they want all the news and stories.
Malcolm Turnbull doesn’t seem to be able to do anything right at the moment and the new media laws won’t change that whether they get approved by parliament or not. It will be seen by many voters as a sell out to the rich.
Admin: I had the contempt hearing on Thursday and a judgment will be at least a few weeks away. I have a had a few hearings recently and are waiting on a number of judgements for the Kerry Stokes defamation matter and also suppression orders etc. I will set a up a page soon to keep up to date with all the matters. The issues are well worth fighting and I’ll continue to do so.
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