That’s despite a planned competitive neutrality review that will consider whether the two public broadcasters use their position to unreasonably compete with commercial stations.
Asked whether he could guarantee parents won’t be charged for their children watching Peppa Pig online, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield told a Senate committee today: “It’s not something I have in contemplation.”
The minister conceded that some commercial broadcasters would probably like to see public services such as iview and SBS On Demand behind a paywall.
“I can’t speak to what plans the ABC may have,” he said.
Senator Fifield says he doesn’t have the power to direct the ABC or SBS to make such changes to their online services, but they could potentially be discussed as part of the broad review.
He will release the terms of reference for the inquiry and name the panel members before the end of the year after consultation with broadcasters.
The review came out of negotiations with One Nation in exchange for the minor party’s support for the government’s overhaul of media ownership laws.
But Fifield revealed it was “something that had been in my mind for a bit”.
Concerns from commercial broadcasters include public broadcasters bidding for programs, or whether the ABC should contest to provide inflight news services, Fifield said.
The public will get their chance to have a say.
Local News Matters
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