Free TV Australia adds improvements to News Media Trading Code

Free TV Australia’s submission to a review of the News Media Code of Dealing, introduced just over 12 months ago, noted further improvements could be made.

Although he was largely successful in leading trade negotiations, Brigitte justCEO of Free TV, said: “Although the digital platforms have not yet been designated under the Code, these valuable commercial agreements would not have been possible without the incentives of the framework.

“For a long time, digital platforms have refused to pay a fair price for news content, despite the value it creates on their services. It is essential that the Bargaining Code legislation is upheld in order to support the sustainability of Australian media.

“Digital platforms – Google, Facebook and their affiliates, continue to dominate the search and social media markets.

“The News Media Negotiation Code, with its framework for final offer arbitration, has become an international model for addressing the competitive imbalance in countries like Canada and the UK.

The submission by the industry body representing Australian free-to-air television networks also included recommendations for improving the Code framework, particularly as commercial agreements were to be renewed, including:

A statement of expectations on digital platforms that establishes an intent to designate if business agreements are not entered into and maintained with all relevant news media companies

Any designation intent, including social video platforms like YouTube

Removal of the “significant contribution” test from the designation criteria to reinforce that all eligible news media companies are able to seek agreements under the Code if the Treasurer decides to designate a digital platform service

Commit to biennial reviews of the functioning of the framework

Fair said: “Future revisions to the code should also take into account defining the content of basic and covered information and the possibility of streamlining the ACMA registration process.

“As the framework continues to mature, it is important that it continues to reflect the evolving nature of Australian media businesses,” added the CEO of Free TV.

Top Image: Bridget Fair