Screen Producers Australia CEO Matthew Deaner has questioned the federal government’s decision to slash Foxtel’s local drama quota in its new broadcasting bill.
Foxtel is currently required to allocate 10% of its drama budget to producing Australian content. However, the bill will reduce this to only 5%.
Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young has slammed the bill, accusing the federal government of favouring its “Murdoch mates” over Australian industry:
“[This is] just another Morrison government favour to Foxtel, off the back of the $40m they’ve already handed out to the Murdoch-owned company”.
The bigger issue here is that the Government’s Green Paper proposed to reduce Foxtel’s local content requirement to 5% in exchange for imposing the same 5% local content requirement on global streaming giants like Netflix, Disney and Amazon. This move would arguably have lifted overall local content provision across the various platform.
However, the Morrison Government’s bill has made no mention of these other streaming services, suggesting it has backtracked on the Green Paper’s proposals. Therefore, if the bill gets passed by the Senate, then overall local content provision will be watered down.
Screen Producers Australia wants subscription television providers to spend 20% of the local revenue on Australian productions, which would bring them into line with Canada and France.
This sounds like a sensible proposal as it would stimulate local jobs and help capture a share of economic rents from these large, internationally-owned billion-dollar platforms.