So in a world full of content, what makes it 'Australian'?

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May 8, 2017

The Federal government’s Australian content review, announced over the weekend, is very timely. The communications landscape is almost unrecognisable compared to even ten years ago. Developments in technology across creation, production and delivery platforms are transforming how we make and consume audio-visual content.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has announced that the review into Australian content will be undertaken jointly by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the Department of Communications and the Arts and Screen Australia.

And over two days next week — May 16-17 — the ACMA, in conjunction with the Department and Screen Australia will be holding an Australian content conversation. This conference will explore some themes that go to the heart of the challenges facing the production and distribution of Australian screen content. It presents a rare opportunity for a wide range of interests to come together to canvass how the Australian content creation sector, distributors, platform providers, government and regulators might manage the challenges and opportunities we face in this era of abundant content, constant change and radically altered audience consumption patterns.  

The conference will be the starting point for a conversation about how best to ensure that quality Australian content remains a feature of the future media landscape. The Minister will kick off that conversation as the conference’s keynote speaker.

We’ve called this a ‘conversation’ for a reason. The two days present an opportunity to talk, ask questions, put forward ideas, challenge and engage. This early in the review we want a completely open conversation and won’t be prosecuting any firm agenda—other than to foster vigorous debate.

Here are some of the topics we want to tackle.

  • How is Australian content distinctive, what is its impact and how will this change in the future? Australian screen stories have been supported by taxpayers for decades, but the ‘Australian-ness’ of those stories, and the value that Australians draw from them, is sometimes disputed.
  • Australian audio-visual content is supported by a wide range of state and federal regulatory interventions. It is also underpinned by an array of other programs such as state and federal support for the arts more generally and educational programs in areas such as production, directing and acting. Do government interventions meet their stated objectives? What does success look like? How do the economics of content sustain and support industry? What can we learn from our international counterparts who’ll be present at the conversation?
  • More than a third of Australians live in ‘regional’ areas, outside of the five metropolitan areas of Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Are the local content needs of regional Australians understood and are they being met?
  • Technological changes have an impact on the creation and consumption of Australian audio-visual content. What do these changes, affecting creators, distributors and consumers, mean for government intervention? Do they point to the need for a change in regulation, how it works and where it’s targeted?
  • How best should children’s need for access to quality, age appropriate Australian content be met?

With decision and policy makers present at the conference, along with producers, creatives, distributors and financiers, this conversation is an early opportunity to inform the review.

The full speaker line-up, program and how to register for the conference are available on the ACMA website.

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