Communications Minister ‘Rowdy’ Williams (rowdy because he’s so quiet), has apparently just discovered the government a few years ago devolved the authority to issue a fourth TV network licence to the Australian Broadcasting Authority – that’s the statutory body charged with regulating and managing broadcast licences. The new licence would come available after 2006.
Except Rowdy doesn’t trust them – they might actually issue the licence, which of course would make all sorts of very rich and powerful people (eg Kerry and Kerry) upset.
And the Australian says “Seven, Nine and Ten are expected to argue their obligations to broadcast Australian drama and children’s TV programs should be reduced if they have new competition. “
They don’t miss a beat – a statement like that achieves two objectives for the channels – continue to campaign to reduce their expenditure on (expensive) local content and substitute cheap American imports; and scare the government that they might do such a thing, and thus give the government grounds to yet again avoid shaking up the cosy relationships with the media magnates.
In the meantime the community loses out – we continue to have a reduced choice; competition is stiffled; and the existing main players pursue their ‘cheap programming/high revenue’ business model.