Australia gives $165m in rebates to TV networks

Australia’s federal government has announced a 50 percent license rebate for television networks will continue until the communications minister’s team finishes a “convergence review” on media regulation, The Australian reported today.

This means free-to-air networks like the Ten Network, Nine Entertainment and Seven West Media will see AU$165 million more in revenues in 2011. The review is expected to last at least until March 2012.

Lobby group Free TV Australia said local spectrum fees are too high, but pay-TV networks say the rebates are an unnecessary handout, according to MarketWatch.

The networks struggled in 2009, but are doing better now, the Daily Telegraph reported in an article with the headline “Greedy TV networks get rich on rebate.”

“They already have protection from competition in the sense that no fourth commercial licence will ever be issued and secondly, through the anti-siphoning regime which gives them first go at buying premium sporting content,” Fat Prophets analyst Greg Fraser said, according to the report.

Image: TV screens, via Maharepa’s flickr photostream
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