Convergence Review released
The Federal Government has released the final report from its Convergence Review, and if the recomendations go through, it is likely to lead to consolidation of ownership in the media sector, with radio a key player.
There is a raft of recommendations in the review, with some very wide-ranging implications if they are accepted.
As expected, the review has recommended that ACMA be scrapped and replaced with a statutory regulatory body.
The committee has also said the current system of broadcast regulation is outdated and has recomended content license be removed. However, it has said that continued government intervention is in the public interest in the areas of ownership, standards and local content.
The review has recommended the removal of the Trigger Event requirement for regional stations which presently require content levels to be maintained following a transfer of ownership.
For radio ownership, and potential consolidation, a key piece of commentary is around the regulation of ownership. Committee member Louise McElvogue said the regulation needs a different approach.
"rather than deciding how entities are regulated based on the medium on which they deliver, entities would be regulated based on their size and the type of services they are, which means that large content services that have a large audience and have a large revenue from Australia would be subject to certain regulation"
In a recomendation that will be strongly supported by the music industry, the report recommends that music quotas be extended from analogue radio services to digital only services, which means that digital stations such as Koffee, Radar, Novanation, Buckle would be subject to Australian content for the first time. The review stops short of applying quotas to internet radio stations, or temporary 'event' digital stations.
It has recommended a public interest test for major changes of media ownership and a minimum ownership rule for Australian companies.