Government releases its response to the ACCC Digital Platforms Inquiry

Katrina Hughes, 16th December 2019
Print
At the end of 2017, the then Treasurer, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, asked the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) to conduct an inquiry into digital platforms.

The inquiry looked at the effect that digital search engines, social media platforms and other digital content aggregation platforms have on competition in media and advertising services markets. In particular, the inquiry looked at the impact of digital platforms on the supply of news and journalistic content and the implications of this for media content creators, advertisers and consumers.

The final report was published on 26 July 2019. In August and September 2019 the Government sought stakeholder comments on the ACCC’s findings and recommendations. The CBAA made a submission to this process, which has now been published. Our comments focused on the recommendations covering a harmonised media regulatory framework, funding for local and specialised news reporting, and philanthropic support for media organisations.

The Government has announced it will work to implement a number of the recommendations, including media regulation reform in 2020. The CBAA will continue working with Government to ensure an optimal regulatory environment for community broadcasters.

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Abstract
In 2004 the first, national, statistically robust, quantitative assessment of the Australian community broadcasting sector’s audience reach was undertaken. Conducted by McNair Ingenuity, this research provided a major breakthrough in the wider shift to a more audience-centred approach to managing the sector. The findings, significance and implications of this research are considered here. Following recent developments in critical cultural policy studies, this paper locates this renewed concern for community broadcasting audiences within a ‘larger cycle of decision-making’ (O’Regan, Balnaves and Sternberg 2002: 2). The particular influence of developments such as the emerging spectrum market and the imminent transition to digital transmission systems is discussed. These developments are important to understanding why community broadcasting resistance to market-based conceptions of audience is being overcome, and how audience-centredness might be used to facilitate the continuing development of this ‘third’ sector of Australian broadcasting.