Do Digital Channels Need More Local Content?

Do Digital Channels Need More Local Content?
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We’ve got a fair range of digital free-to-air TV channels on offer now, but right now those networks don’t have the same requirements for Australian content (or for captioning or for the proportion of children’s programs). Is it time to apply the same rules to them?

The Federal Government is currently conducting a review of what rules should apply to digital networks, and is inviting submissions from the public. You’ve got until the end of December to let them know whether you think, for example, this argument (suggested in the discussion paper on the topic) makes sense as a reason to eliminate minimum standards for Australian content:

The most highly rated drama program in Australian history, Underbelly, was an Australian production and Packed to the Rafters consistently achieves higher rating than its internationally–produced competitors. These successes suggest that commercial broadcasters will continue to provide Australian-produced programs and that Australian audiences continue to want to see Australian stories on television.

Hit the link for full details and to make a submission.

Review of multi-channels


  • No. There’s already far to much Australian rubbish on TV. Small talent pools and low budgets almost always result in a local TV series failing, wasting networks time and money. Let ratings decide what content viewers want to see, not restrictive government requirements.

  • Those programs might never have existed without the Aus content requirements, just because those shows rated well, doesn’t mean suddenly the networks are committed to Australian content. It’s still cheaper for them to import content, so I don’t think that argument makes much sense at all.

  • afaik local content requirements are there for CULTURAL conservatism reasons, to reduce the inevitable dilution of our national cultural identity.
    Think of France and it’s local laws demanding the continued use of the French language.
    In the Culture wars, USA is the strongest superpower, and it’s cultural exports are very pervasive.

    Consider the hypothetical of if we had %100 USA-only content on our airwaves, how many generations of this do you think it would take before Australia would be nothing but another USA state, all our kids talking in American accents?
    2 generations? Maybe even less than 1?

    It’s sociologically debatable whether that could ever actually happen, or if it’s just fearmongering inspired by our seemingly inextinguishable ugly racism.
    Regardless, thems-the-cards.

  • I’ve always thought it was good for Australian producers, writers, musicians, actors etc to be able to work and create things locally – without having to move away just to get a decent job.

    But then I also happen to think most entertainment exports from the US are genuinely not worth watching or listening to.

    And I agree with Jonathan Brown, that without the regulations, they may have never existed in the first place – It’s nice for the consumer to at least have the option of what’s locally produced in addition to whatever the network could source cheapest.

    • Due to the age of the nation and it’s influences from so many different countries Australia doesn’t have a specific culture except it’s happy go lucky, laid back attitude, as well as our accents and colloquialisms; of which we are known globally. If you don’t wish to conserve this by having Aussie content on TV then feel free to not watch it any more, or more drastically leave this country. You or your parents would have come here for a reason, remember that reason and support Australian content (which expresses Aussie identity) or find a country suited to you…how about Iran where people aren’t allowed to drink alcohol and they have lots of culture there (abuse of human rights and questionable politics being some selling points), you’ll be so happy, but they don’t take so kindly to foreigners there, unlike Australia, you’d probably have to change your name, appearance and religion to be accepted there tho. Funny how you don’t have that problem here…

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