would allow fourth TV network, by Jason Koutsoukis
- 19th April 2004
The Sydney Morning Herald)
Labor leader Mark Latham plans a radical shake-up
of Australian television with the introduction of
a fourth commercial network if he becomes prime minister.
believes a fourth commercial broadcaster would diversify
media ownership and break the stranglehold on the
$3.1 billion advertising market by the existing three
plan will anger the commercial networks, whose owners
include Australia's richest, most powerful men - Kerry
Packer of Nine and Kerry Stokes of Seven.
three networks argue that Australia's population is
too small to support a fourth commercial broadcaster.
say a fourth network would not translate into increased
advertising revenue, but merely force the division
of existing revenue among four and lead to massive
cost-cutting, with Australian-made productions to
be the first to go.
senior Labor figures, including Mr Latham and Opposition
communications spokesman Lindsay Tanner, believe the
three networks have to face up to more competition.
Tanner, who has made no secret of his desire for a
fourth network, believes the advertising market has
grown sufficiently to support another network.
the past two years, television advertising revenues
have grown 17.3 per cent to $3.1 billion a year. In
the five years to 2000, television advertising grew
by about 25 per cent.
Tanner has also pointed to commercial radio, which
has thrived under the introduction of new licences,
as an example of how television would also cope.
week the Australian Broadcasting Authority announced
the sale of another commercial FM radio licence in
Sydney, for $106 million.
Television Australia chief executive Julie Flynn,
who represents the commercial broadcasters, said the
industry had serious concerns about the introduction
of a fourth network.
are on the record as being opposed to the introduction
of a new licence because of the potential to jeopardise
the high quality of Australian free-to-air television
services," she said.
Broadcasting Services Act prohibits the introduction
of new commercial network licences until the end of
99 per cent of Australian homes have at least one
television set. People watch an average 20 hours of
television a week and an estimated 12 per cent of
people watch commercial television exclusively.
Labor won the federal election expected later this
year it could mandate the introduction of a fourth
commercial network licence, or it could allow the
broadcasting authority to make its own decision to
sell another licence effective from 2007.
Australian Labor Party
of Australian Media
Channels for Digital TV, by Greg Tingle
stations lack of Internet vision, by Greg Tingle
turn-off sparks protest