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The Australian Government recognises that Australians have a wide range of views about how they view television programming.
At present, commercial free-to-air television licensees are required to broadcast minimum quantities of Australian content, including specific programming genres. Additionally, subscription television licensees are required to fund minimum amounts of Australian drama programming. Subscription video on demand (SVOD) services are not ‘broadcasting services’ for the purposes of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA). As a result, providers of SVOD services are not under regulatory obligations to provide, or fund, minimum amounts of Australian content.
The SVOD market is still an emerging market in Australia. As part of their initial entry into the Australian market, SVOD services have acquired Australian back catalogue content and made various co-production deals to invest in new Australian programming. Any regulatory obligations placed on SVOD services must balance the viewing choices of Australian audiences with the SVOD industry’s continued growth and sustainability in Australia.
The government provides significant support to the Australian screen industry recognising the important role it plays in shaping our national identity. A viable domestic screen production sector is essential for audiences to have access to quality Australian content. The government recognises this through investment in the industry using a range of mechanisms, including tax rebates, direct funding and regulatory measures, designed to support the production of Australian content and promote the development of a sustainable production sector.
The government’s support mechanisms all combine to assist the Australian industry to create unique film, television and online content that is extremely popular with audiences here and abroad. The period of 2017-18 saw expenditure of $718 million on local productions, including feature films, television and online content, a record breaking year for expenditure on Australian projects.