Networks want more deregulation

Free TV Australia, the industry body which represents Seven, Nine and TEN wants the government to consider further deregulation as part of an upcoming review.

On Friday Senator Conroy’s Department of Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy had received 21 submissions from industry players for its upcoming convergence review.

The review will look at all content delivery platforms including broadcast, mobile and fixed telecommunications and the internet and examine what old regulations need updating to keep up with technological chance.

A committee of independent experts will finalise the terms of reference by the end of March.

Free TV Australia is already raising issues over limits on minutes of advertising during a program and daily quotas of Australian programs. It is also flagging a cut to licence fees paid, hot on the heels on the government’s previous $250m rebate to commercial broadcasters (that was the one designed to maintain local content without actually requiring them to).

It also questions “the appropriate level of oversight and intervention by the media regulator (ACMA) across all media platforms”.

But the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance says we are overrun with foreign content, and wants the Australian government to ensure enhanced levels of Australian content to combat the deluge.

It is also pushing for support structures for the production and delivery of Australian content and urging that significant content remains freely available and accessible through public broadcasters.

Meanwhile one of Foxtel’s concerns is for copyright laws to be included in the review amid fears of growing online piracy.

Source: The Australian,, Alliance


  1. Yep, NTSC stuff has always looked pretty poor for that reason, but that’s not an issue now except with old repeats since basically everything from America is shot in HD, except for a few reality shows (which still look better than old shows because shooting and editing digitally looks much cleaner).

  2. Ellaboo, no worries.

    Actually Secret Squirrel, all scripted stuff is shot at 24 frames in the US, whether on film or video (except daytime soaps, and perhaps Curb, but that’d be a stylistic thing). 30 looks ‘too real’ or something. And weird. And cheap.

  3. Secret Squïrrel

    @Ellaboo – that’s not quite right either. The US shut down most of its NTSC transmitters back in 2009. They now use ATSC which supports a number of different frame rates.

    However, even when 29.97fps NTSC video is converted for PAL transmission, they don’t just slow it down by 20% – I think you’d notice that! They usually use “pulldown” which maps 5 half-frames of NTSC to 4 half-frames of PAL (with a very small speed adjustment to account for the diff between 24 and 25fps).

    The above only applies to programs shot on NTSC video. What Jack writes is actually correct for those that are shot on film which is 24fps.

  4. @Jack, TV programs in the US run at 30 frames per second using the NTSC system (film runs at 24 frames per second).So a US program which runs at 42 minutes at 30 fps will actually run slightly longer when converted to PAL.

  5. Why don’t the networks work on improving their program delivery and quality of content instead of wasting time and money whining about “piracy”. This is a rerun of the MP3 days and the music industry.

  6. Screw what the networks want. I say more regulation. Make sure shows start at the time they are programmed to start. Failure to do so is false advertising. If the networks can’t do that, fine em big time.

  7. More ads please! All the more excuse not to watch. TV execs just have no clue.

    It’s just sad that to make tv shows start on time we probably will be looking to see 1 hour television shows in a 90 min slot…

  8. How do they propose to fit more advertisements into an hour time slot when every show runs 44 minutes?

    We will be seeing our tv guides reading,
    7.33pm: Two and Half Men
    8.39pm: CSI
    9.47pm: Til Death

  9. Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile. This is a clear case for more Govt. regulation and not less, there needs to be sensible controls to limit program advertising since the networks would clearly like to increase their advertising revenue – program consumers do nothing to improve the networks bottom line.

  10. If they want more ads let them have it……. As long as they give us:
    Uniform start times across all channels (non of this 8.34 business)
    Programs starting & finishing on time!!!!
    A EPG that is continuously updated & correct.

  11. The networks sure do deserve more ads! Right now they take their 42 minute US show shot at 24 frames, speed it up to 25 frames to comply to the PAL standard (standard practice, not an issue) which makes the show run about 90 seconds less, then they run them in like 63 minute timeslots instead of 60 minute ones, and now they want additional ads so they can extend them further. Brilliant!

    I’m pretty sure the EU has commercial break limits, only once every 15 minutes or something. That’s the direction we should be heading in.

  12. They aren’t happy with the amount of ads? While I support the use of advertising to support FTA I think the percentage of ads is sufficient – a 1 hour program already has about 15 minutes of ads!

    I hope they don’t try to force more Australian tv content, I hate to say it but Australian tv is generally boring. I am sick of crime/cop/hospital dramas.

    @Scott – tv is entertainment, don’t take it so seriously.

  13. It is a great sadness that we appear to have the worst television in the developed world.

    Television should be more highly regulated. Networks should be required to demonstrate how their programs speak of the human condition, educate and seek to improve our world. They need to justify every frame, every video field of content on the basis of its contribution to the social wellbeing of the nation.

    Also, with multi-channelling there is now no excuse for foreign imports on the main channels. Level them for the digital channels and make the primary channels 100% Australian content with a complete ban on repearing anything..ever. If they cry poor then take their broadcasting licences away from them and give them to organisations that are willing to explore and improve the human condition in a manner relevant to the population of this nation.

  14. Secret Squïrrel

    More ads!!!? That’s like noticing that you’re losing your topsoil and deciding that you’d better cut down more trees. I agree with the other commenters on here that it will just serve to increase the numbers of people who turn away from real-time TV.

  15. There’s still a limit on the amount of ads in programs? I thought that was removed years ago? It’s 30% or more on most of the commercial networks already, it needs to be *reduced* not allowed to run wild. I’m sick of 120-140 minute movies that run for over three hours because of the ads.

    If they’re so worried about copyright piracy then they should reduce the amount of ads, it just encourages illegal downloads of ad free programs, and the home recording of programs with subsequent ad removal/skipping. There should be a hard limit of 20% ads in all programs.

    If they want deregulation then how about the government uses some of the old analog spectrum for a whole new DTV network or two? Oh no, that’s not the sort of “deregulation” they mean, they want the government to keep their little oligopoly going, they’re all in favour of that sort of regulation.

  16. Sure, why not? Let them press even harder on the ‘flush’ button.
    Australian television has been in the toilet for years now, might as well let ’em fully self destruct .
    TV was more watchable when there was a controlling hand on the tiller (be it the government or K Packer’s warty old grip) but ‘self regulation’ is like giving a heroin addict the keys to the pharmacy and making him promise to behave.
    “Australian Television Rocks”. Not.

  17. During some recent market reseach, one of the main reason viewers gave for subscribing to pay tv (and downloading series rather than watch them on fta) was the ridiculous number of ads on fta. They’re making a rod for their own backs.

  18. As a viewer the thing I want is a no-exclusivity clause. In other words Pay TV can’t have exclusive deals with overseas content providers nor can free-to-air. By that I mean free-to-air can be exclusive on a particular network but it can’t deny Pay TV the content. Nor can Pay TV deny free-to-air anything from overseas. That way viewers might have a real choice. Especially the ones that don’t have Pay TV. As it gives us an opportunity to see it on TV. That’s what I wish the government would do for me and other viewers as well as voters.

  19. Further de-regulation? Like they can be trusted?

    Before the get any further licence fee rebates, how about they put out a list to tell us (seeing as our taxes were used to subsidise their licence fee) how well they spent the $250 million last time around? How have we benefited from it exactly?

    And the poor networks, not allowed to sell more advertising space per hour? Got issues with having to provide Australian content, while their digital channels pump out constant re-runs of cheap American and UK filler? Let me get out my violin.

  20. One persons piracy is another ones opportunity and chance to see something as they have to wait a ridiculous time for the DVD. Or can’t see at all. As it might not be released on DVD. Ironically I mainly view ads these days on the internet.

    Also Foxtel seriously proposes they prosecute 13 year olds and the like?!? It just should be ignored as I view online content as an ad for when it’s on TV or DVD generally. Especially stuff I can’t watch in this country as stated mainly foreign ads. If they want to prevent it for TV and film they and the free-to-air networks could show the content in a timely fashion. As a decent way to see it with little waiting time is a much more preferred option for everyone. And it won’t annoy their potential viewers. As stated I hope the government seriously ignores them if they have any sanity or sense at all.

    By the way I’ll never get Foxtel as I view buying ridiculously priced TV content as ludicrous. Paying for equipment yes but not content. I’ll admit I hate them for taking away The Daily Show and Colbert from the ABC. So I don’t wish them well. Before I was indifferent.

    Lastly I guess free-to-air really wants to tempt views away by wanting more ads. As I think they have more than enough.

  21. Will Conroy give special exemptions to the AFL networks this year to allow them to broadcast on their digital channels this year. I suspect so.

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