New laws could force Netflix and YouTube to create more Australian content

(Image credit: Netflix)

Streaming services make a hefty number of dollarydoos in Australia, with Netflix boasting 11 million Aussie subscribers according to the latest market research from Roy Morgan

However, despite these impressive numbers, the US giant has only poured a small amount of that money back into the local film and television industry, producing only one Australian Netflix Original series (Tidelands, pictured) since its launch in 2015.

That could all change following a new report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which sheds light on the practices of digital platforms and how they conduct business in Australia.

The report, released by treasurer Josh Frydenberg and communications minister Paul Fletcher, puts forward a total of 23 recommendations for increased regulation of digital platforms. 

Following the inquiry, Fletcher appeared on ABC's Insiders program to discuss local content rules that weren't directly addressed in the report, with the communications minister recommending that digital platforms like Netflix, Google and Facebook be held to the same laws and regulations that other media companies are forced to abide by. 

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"Clearly, one of the questions is: obligations on free-to-air television networks and on subscription TV for Australian content, does it stack up for Netflix not to have such obligations, those are questions we'll consider," said Fletcher, further stating that the ACCC will "be interested in the feedback of stakeholders."

He continued, "as this report analyses, there's a set of obligations on one set of businesses, serving Australians and providing content, namely traditional free-to-air and pay TV operators. There is no such obligation on Netflix, or indeed on Stan, or others which are also providing content to Australians."

"It raises significant policy questions, those are precisely the kinds of questions that this comprehensive ACCC report [examines]," said Fletcher.

[via The Guardian]

Stephen Lambrechts
Senior Journalist, Phones and Entertainment

Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible. 

He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.