Netflix may be forced to feature more Australian c...

Netflix may be forced to feature more Australian content


Popular streaming services like Netflix, Stan, and Amazon Prime could be forced to feature a certain amount of Australian-made content. An inquiry was made by the Department of Communications to instigate a review which will ensure that homegrown entertainment gets the support and the audience it requires.

Currently Australian free-to-air television networks are required by legislation to have 55% Australian content between 6am to midnight. Meanwhile, the paid streaming services are not hindered by such restrictions, which the inquiry looks to change. The review will be jointly conducted by the Department of Communications and the Arts, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), and Screen Australia, all of whom aim to develop reasonable local content quotas for streaming services.

“Over the past decade, fundamental changes have taken place in the media landscape, defined by the entry of new online services offering catch up TV, streaming, subscription video on demand and user generated video,” reads a statement on the Department of Communications website.

“While industry changes provide new opportunities for Australia’s world class screen practitioners to deliver their work to new audiences here and internationally, they have also challenged existing business models. In this rapidly changing environment, it is necessary to review our support and regulatory measures to ensure they remain fit for purpose in the digital era.”

The lack of restrictions on streaming services could cause a rapid decline in the production of Australian film and television content, which the review hopes to prevent. The government body explained that it is vital to our country that Australian stories are conceived, produced, and distributed to domestic and international audiences.
“Content produced in Australia, or under Australian creative control, reflects and shapes our national identity, character, and cultural diversity,” the department wrote.
“When exported, Australian content promotes an Australian view of the world and showcases our cultural and creative talents. It also delivers economic benefits and encourages tourism.”
Australian streaming service Stan already features many classic Australian films, such as the iconic Crocodile Dundee and modern Australian TV shows such as Love Child. Nick Forward, the Head of Content at Stan, agrees that this is change is in the best interests of Australia, and plans on using the department’s statement to push further local content.
“In the coming year, we will double our output of Stan originals. We are encouraged to see the Government working to ensure the production of great Australian content remains sustainable.”
The review recommendations are expected to be provided to the Government by the end of the year.