There’s barely a swanky Surry Hills establishment where on any given night you won’t hear some 20-something who “works in media” discussing loudly the Media Ownership Act over their $12 IPA schooner.
Said hipster is often debating the intricacies of the “two out of three” rule, which prevents media companies from owning TV, radio and print assets in the same area, and the “reach” rule which prevents a free-to-air broadcaster from reaching more than 75 per cent of the Australian population.
However, what isn’t discussed between mouthfuls of their organic duck confit burgers are that Australia’s media ownership laws began WAY back in the 1930s when the Government began issuing licenses for a fee, initially only for radio and then, in the 1950s, for Television. Newspapers were largely free until the 1980s.
Fast forward to the digital age of 2015 and the changes that Hawke and Keating introduced in the 1980s have become utterly redundant. Only this week another major player announced that they were going to break the “reach rule” by streaming their content online.
Bonus points if you can name all five networks that are currently breaking the “reach rule”?
However, it’s not all doom and gloom, media reform is firmly on the Turnbull Government agenda and is closer to reality than hover boards and dehydrated food.
How do we know this? Well it’s very simple.
When a man such as Bruce Gordon acquires a 190m-odd sell down by private equity firm, Apollo. Thus, granting him a 14.95% stake in Nine Entertainment Co. he knows that there is sufficient numbers to abolish cross media ownership laws and bring an end to the Communication Revolution.