Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) are doubling down on their rights, and producers do not like it one bit. Screen Producers Australia (SPA) objected the Broadcasting Networks’ claims stating its unable to meet today’s industry standards and industrial agreements.
In the foreseen deals, the public broadcasters issued their demand for more rights without any compensation for the new rights demanded. This has forced producers to pay from their own pockets to keep their actors and writers on board.
Also in some cases, producers were unable to partner up with third party distributors to lessen commissions and expenses because ABC commercial is their international distributors.
In light of this, SPA has called for the government to intervene with their submission of government-commissioned competitive neutrality inquiry. This is to allow fair contracting between producers and broadcasters with the help of terms of trade that would be set into stone by legislation.
“As commercial broadcasters have come under pressure they have amplified pressure down the supply chain. The public broadcasters are doing the same,” SPA stated. “This pressure manifests in broadcasters seeking ‘more for less’; that is, more rights for less money (licence fee or equity). In particular, broadcasters are increasingly ‘warehousing’ rights to prevent competitors acquiring them. These are rights that producers could otherwise exploit.”
In response to this to the SPA’s submission inquiry, ABC’s Managing Director Michelle Guthrie objected that anything done against would only end up punishing the beloved Australian viewers.
“Far from disadvantaging commercial media, the evidence shows the ABC has a positive influence on the broader media sector, including in its focus on innovation and its ability to serve as a launch pad for ideas and fresh talent” Michelle explained. “The ABC uses its government funding efficiently and effectively to deliver on its charter obligations to provide comprehensive and innovative public broadcasting and digital media services to Australian audiences”
She then votes to end her piece by saying that ABC has always aimed to support the principles of competitive neutrality, ensuring that sectors function on a level playing field including them.
As of now, no further development on the matter has yet to be revealed and all eyes are on the government depending on which action they choose to tale with Television Industry.