Regional streaming shutdown being felt across Australia | radioinfo

Regional streaming shutdown being felt across Australia

Tuesday 11 February, 2014

All across Australia, backbenchers are answering questions from the public and from radio station managements about the streaming dispute.
 
In a range of correspondence sighted by radioinfo, regional representatives are expressing their solidarity with the radio industry, but also pointing out some key sticking points in the dispute.
 
The sticking points are all very similar and are generally referenced back to the Communications Minister’s office.
 
A couple of points in the correspondence that may not be accurate include:

The claim that a new determination about whether streaming is/is not broadcasting may breach trade agreements. There is no evidence for this, although there have been concerns raised by the US that the regional local content provisions and Australian music obligations combined may breach the US FTA.
 
The claim that creating a legislative instrument to resolve a dispute would result in the Government creating an unfair regulatory environment and lead to a competitive disadvantage between the two mediums. But internet content providers and online services already receive favourable treatment and are significantly advantaged over radio broadcasters in both a regulatory and competitive sense.

 
Radio broadcasters maintain that traditional radio is the one being disadvantaged because traditional commercial radio broadcasters pay a percentage of gross revenue (average 3%)  in spectrum licence fees to Government and internet content providers and online services do not,
 
Other points where the radio industry is disadvantaged, according to broadcasters, include:

  • traditional commercial radio broadcasters have Australian music quotas – internet content providers and online services do not ;
  • traditional commercial radio broadcasters have content restrictions with associated penalties for breaches of Codes and Standards  - internet content providers and online services do not;
  • traditional commercial radio broadcasters have advertising restrictions and long mandatory Terms and Conditions statements that mean some categories do not advertise on radio  - internet content providers and online services do not;
  • traditional commercial radio broadcasters have heavy compliance and reporting obligations to the regulator – internet content providers and online services do not;
  • traditional commercial radio have high local talent and local content production costs - internet content providers and online services do not;
  • traditional commercial radio broadcasters have emergency  broadcast obligations – internet content providers and online services do not
  • traditional regional commercial radio broadcasters have significant local content, local presence and accompanying compliance obligations – internet content providers and online services do not.

While the commercial radio industry is leading the fight on this issue at present, the other sectors expect that if commercial radio is forced to pay more, then the additional fees will soon flow on to them.
 
Correspondence obtained by radioinfo illustrates the approach being taken by federal parliamentarians in responses to complaints.


 
One of radioinfo's twitter correspondents today also made a relevant point, tweeting this message to us.

See some of our related reports:



 

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