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fairfaxmedia.com.au

Founded Year

1841

Stage

Merger | Merged

Valuation

$0000 

About Fairfax Media

Fairfax Media (ASX: FXJ) is a multi-platform media company in Australasia. The group comprises metropolitan, rural, regional, and community mastheads and serves its audiences through high-quality, independent journalism and offers dynamic venues for commerce and information.

Fairfax Media Headquarter Location

1 Darling Island Road Pyrmont

Sydney, New South Wales, 2009,

Australia

+61 2 9282 2833

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Latest Fairfax Media News

Former Fairfax CEO urges government to keep up with media reform

Feb 20, 2022

Share Former Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood is putting the government on notice to pick up its act with media reform, urging it and the opposition to not allow policy to fall behind the “warp speed” of the industry. Former Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood says the government needs to commit to three policy promises to ensure media regulation keeps pace with an evolving industry. James Alcock These are introducing laws to ensure free TV services are easy to find on connected TVs and other platforms; protecting access to free sport with the renewal and extension of the anti-siphoning list to include subscription streaming platforms and to undertake a proper review into the broadcast spectrum tax. Free-to-air TV broadcasters slammed the Morrison government this month for ignoring major industry issues as it presses on with its media reform. Free TV described the reforms as “underwhelming” for failing to cover expected ground including extending the anti-siphoning list – which prescribes which sporting events the free TV sector has first rights to bid on – to online platforms to ensure Australians do not have to pay to view sport. Nine Entertainment, which owns the 9Network and The Australian Financial Review, is a member of Free TV Australia. Advertisement “What happens in the media is the change never stops,” Mr Hywood said. “It can often go at warp speed, so what has to happen is government policy has to keep up with industry reality. That’s what is so frustrating with this issue. “We’ve been participating in the green paper process which has morphed into another review, not decision-making, around some really key issues.” While acknowledging that broad media reform is complicated, Free TV warns that if the government continues to ignore major industry issues, especially easy access to free TV services on connected TVs and digital environments, the consequences for the industry will be dire. “The television industry, the screen industry, is not sitting still,” Mr Hywood said. “We can all see it around us every day, how rapidly it’s changing ... how more and more streaming services are available ... and they’re all bidding for access to that screen.” He said these issues were going to get more pressing as more Australians bought connected televisions and shifted their consumption of TV content from a linear, or through an aerial, experience to digital and the internet. “They won’t be able to find free TV on it, and it will be the government’s own policy that falls down around its knees,” he said. Advertisement Free TV is also urging the government to renew the anti-siphoning list which is due to expire in April next year and to extend it to subscription streaming services to ensure sporting events of national importance and cultural significance remain freely accessible for all. Free TV’s concern is that streaming players such as Amazon Prime Video or Disney+ could step in and secure a deal with the likes of the NRL or AFL to exclusively run it on a pay-per-view basis. As it stands, the anti-siphoning list restricts only Foxtel’s ability to buy the rights and run them on cable TV. “This list has been around since the 1980s,” Mr Hywood said. “It’s very much part and parcel of Australian political life ... but for some reason this government is not renewing it, and it’s getting to the point where we are running out of time. So does the government support free sport for Australians or not? It’s really simple.” The final demand is for clarity on the broadcast spectrum tax which was introduced in 2017 by the government as a temporary arrangement until a review of the tax could be undertaken before 2022. Advertisement Australia’s free-to-air commercial TV networks are required to pay broadcast licence fees or a spectrum tax, between $9.5 million and $12 million each a year for the metropolitan networks, to transmit TV content, leaving broadcasters such as the 9Network, the Seven Network and Network 10 disadvantaged when competing with international players that distribute content via the internet for free. “Commitments were made to review, those commitments haven’t been met, and we’re still in a holding pattern,” Mr Hywood said. “Spectrum fees in this country are way too high in any sort of international comparison.” Mr Hywood argues the industry does not have a long list of requests and is only pushing the government on these three critical challenges. Free TV research shows the public also back support for free commercial television services, with 78 per cent of Australians agreeing that reliable free-to-air TV services are crucial, especially for those without strong internet, and 72 per cent agreeing that free-to-air TV allows access to television without straining budgets. “The government just can’t wait around and dilly-dally on communications policy when the structural changes in the market are so rapid,” Mr Hywood said. “They have to stay with it and act decisively around these issues.” Miranda Ward is a journalist covering media and marketing for The Australian Financial Review based in the Sydney office. Connect with Miranda on Twitter . Email Miranda at miward@afr.com Save

  • When was Fairfax Media founded?

    Fairfax Media was founded in 1841.

  • Where is Fairfax Media's headquarters?

    Fairfax Media's headquarters is located at 1 Darling Island Road, Sydney.

  • What is Fairfax Media's latest funding round?

    Fairfax Media's latest funding round is Merger.

  • Who are the investors of Fairfax Media?

    Investors of Fairfax Media include NTT Communications, Palomar Ventures, Newton Technology Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, North Coast Technology Investors and 6 more.

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