SPA Calls for SVODs to Commission More Australian Content


SYDNEY: Screen Producers Australia (SPA) is urging SVOD services to “contribute their fair share” to the Australian production industry by commissioning more local content.

“For SVOD in Australia, 2015 was the year of disruption, 2016 was the year of consolidation and we’re hoping 2017 will be the year of contribution,” said SPA CEO Matthew Deaner.

“The call is for SVOD services to contribute to the communities whose public infrastructure they rely on and from whom they derive their super-profits. The time has come for SVOD services [to] give back to the Australian community and tell Australian stories.

“Screen Producers Australia has been calling for a contribution for some time and now others are joining in. This year we saw policy makers, broadcasters and producers both here and around the world unite behind this position.”

Deaner said of the value chain for the production and distribution of local content: “The market will not solve this on its own. In Australia, broadcasters have responsibilities not just to pay tax but to contribute to Australian stories for adults and children alike. These stories shape and strengthen our Australian identity and narrative. This contribution is important given their role in our community and access to public spectrum, audience and a continuing privileged competitive environment. Broadcasters are asked to pay their fair share. SVOD services, who are increasingly relying on other forms of public infrastructure such as the NBN, must contribute too.”

He also addressed recent news that Netflix has agreed with the government to a self-regulatory classification model to comply with Australia’s classification system, which basically allows the SVOD to be treated as a broadcaster. “SVOD services don’t get to have their cake and eat it too. You can’t ask to be treated like a broadcaster in one area—content classification—but then turn a blind eye to the other elements of the regulatory environment, such as contributions to the production and distribution of Australian content.”

Deaner added: “This year Europe took the lead and required SVOD services to contribute to local production and local stories. We see Canada heading down a similar path to ensure local content is respected and supported.

“In 2017, I am calling on the Australian Government to ensure SVOD services contribute their fair share.”