In early 2011 a panel was formed in to review the media landscape in an increasingly converged environment.
Known as the ‘Convergence Review’, the panel released an interim report in December. The panel received 250 submissions (including one from Copyright Agency) and held consultations across metropolitan and regional Australia. Interested parties can make further comments to the panel on the comments of the interim report by 10 February 2011.
Major recommendations contained in the interim report include:
•Establishing a new regulator which will cover the digital economy – at arm’s length from government and industry, with policy and decision making powers.
•Abolishing existing technology specific cross-media ownership rules limited to print, radio and television in favour of a non-technology specific regulation of content service enterprises which better reflect the increasingly converged and internet based economy. Content service enterprises would be determined by considering their scale and nature in supplying content.
•Tasking the new regulator with considering content service enterprises actions in relation to a broad public interest test which will give the regulator flexibility to approach various circumstances in appropriate ways.
•Renewing a commitment to production of unique Australian content – through production requirements of content service enterprises, and where such organisations are not in a position to produce content, requiring contribution (based on size and reach) to a centralised pool for Australian production.
•Renewed Charters for the public broadcasters, the ABC and SBS to take into account the multiple services they provide, especially online, and with specific Australian content broadcasting quotas – and acknowledging that this could well require additional government funding.
Copyright Agency welcomes the clear commitment to production and broadcast of Australian content – this is the way our unique stories are told, and in an increasingly globalised environment will provide the content that can be exported to foreign markets. Of particular concern to Copyright Agency is production of quality Australian content for use in the education sector. Increasingly there is a demand that this content be multi-format and interactive. Therefore we see this report and its recommendations growing in relevance for Copyright Agency and our members. Other specific issues we raised in our initial submission (relating to online security for content creators, training and skills development and specific export market development) have not been addressed in the interim paper. We will await the final report and other reviews that are currently underway. Copyright Agency will also be reading the interim report more closely to consider any additional comments we wish to make, and would welcome receiving any comments or concerns members have.
More information on the Convergence Review can be found online at http://www.dbcde.gov.au/digital_economy/convergence_review
– Post by Zoe Rodriguez, Copyright Agency