The Howard Government’s media bill seems more likely to get a favourable hearing in the Senate since the recent defections from the Australian Democrats. The government has reportedly encouraged media companies to lobby cross-benchers in the Parliament if they want changes to the current media laws.
The new media bill is expected to go to the House of Representatives in the next sitting period and if it passes there will move on to the Senate. Earlier in the year it was expected that the bill would be stalled in the Senate, but now there appears to be a glimmer of hope of it passing if Independents can be satisfied that it has benefits.
In related news, a recent Price Waterhouse-Coopers forecast report, ‘Entertainment and Media Outlook 2002-6’ supported the idea of media reforms, saying that the introduction of interactive services, digitisation and deregulation would be essential to drive growth in advertising.
The report predicted growth in free to air and pay tv advertising revenue if interactive digital services were available, and growth of 2.2% for radio.