The Future of Australian Stories on Screen
Submissions to the Content Options Paper are now Closed.
What is the issue?
The Federal government is moving to change the rules that shape Australia’s screen industry. Australian content obligations for broadcasters and SVODs as well as tax incentives for producers are a key focus. The most recent announcement, following a call for submissions in response to the Content Options Paper at the beginning of 2020 has outlined a series of reforms that the AGSC believes DOES NOT GO FAR ENOUGH to maintain a sustainable industry that will support screen composers, musicians and Australian content in drama, documentary and children's categories.
The AGSC and APRA AMCOS submitted a joint response to the Department of Communications . The AGSC is also a signatory to a combined Screen Guilds submission.
Contact your Local MP
Send a letter/email to your local MP and tell them they need to support the points made in the AGSC/APRA joint submission.
Australian stories need strong rules and support to continue reaching audiences. Take action using this tool to contact your MP and Senators.
More than a dozen guilds and associations representing Australia's writers, producers, actors, directors, crews and creatives have presented a collective, forward-looking vision for the screen industry in a submission to the federal government.
Now we need your help to ensure stories told by Australians, for Australians and about Australia remain on Australian screens.
Share your passion for the films and TV shows that helped define who we are as a nation by writing to your local MP and asking them to pledge their support for evolving local content rules to meet the demands of modern audiences.
Step 1. Click HERE to find your local MP.
Step 3. Craft your own email, using the points made in our submission (right).
Step 3. Send!
What model for change does the AGSC recommend?
Adoption of Model 3 - Significant Change
This allows for a more even playing field amongst the Free-to-Air Networks and Streaming Services. This model supports regulation that would make subscription services pay a percentage of their income to make locally produced content, or, pooled into as Australian Production Fund (APF) that will be distributed to make local productions of drama in feature film and TV, children’s television and documentary
The modelling should support decision-making that ensures a level that moves past the status quo and allow for substantial growth in the amount of Australian content available to audiences. New modelling must not result in a drop in production.
What are the options?
ACMA and Screen Australia have put forward four different approaches for the government to consider.
1. Status Quo. Current regulation and incentives are maintained.
This option misses the opportunity to get Australian stories onto platforms like Netflix and Stan and to update our incentives to make them more competitive.
2. Minimal change. Some changes introduced to encourage a more equal playing field.
Under this model, streaming platforms could be asked to set a level of voluntary content investment, while quota obligations for broadcasters would be applied more flexibly with the requirement to invest in Australian children’s TV removed.
Voluntary investment is likely to deliver less Australian content than we would want.
3. Significant change. Incentives and obligations are applied equally across platforms.
This model would require all commercial content providers — including streaming services — to invest in new Australian content, and ABC and SBS would receive funding for children’s programming.
This option is most likely to capture all new platforms and sustain the Australian industry and jobs long term.
4. Deregulation. Government withdraws support and regulation from industry.
All regulation would be removed and incentives would be removed or revised. All content providers would have the ability to make programming decisions without government intervention.
This would likely see a major collapse in the production of Australian content, and devastate Australian screen jobs.
Further Recommendations for Screen Composers to consider
Streaming Services Contribution to Local Content
Streaming Service providers should contribute 10% of their subscription services revenue derived in Australia to make, promote and broadcast Australian made content.
Big Tech contribution to the Australian Production Fund
Giant technology companies such as Google/Youtube and Facebook should contribute 1% of their advertising revenue generated in Australia to be pooled into the same Australian Production Fund (APF). This system could be based on the proposed code that the ACCC is preparing in order to compensate media companies for news services
Reinstatement of Quotas for Free to Air TV with regulation and allocated funding for National Broadcasters
Until such time that new regulations are implemented, the AGSC calls for the immediate revocation of any current suspension on quota obligations for Free to Air broadcasters. It is imperative that broadcasters continue to be required to produce and broadcast Australian drama, documentary, childrens and First Nations content.
Harmonisation of Producer Offsets
The Producer Offset for Australian drama, documentary and childrens' programs should be harmonisded with the Location and PDV Offsets at 30%, with an additional 10% applicable if Australian Key Creatives including Screen Composers are used. Offsets should apply to all platforms and across one-off and series content. The offset should be applied for productions that use key Australian Creatives and Heads of Department including Australian composers, bringing the total Producer Offset to 40%, in line with New Zealand.
The Post Production Spend Threshold
The Post Production Offset (PDV) threshold (that is currently $500,000) be reduced or removed. This would allow overseas productions to more readily employ Australian composers and post production services without only being applicable to large budget films.
Furthermore, the Post Production Offset (PDV) should have a weighted or points based system to further define post into the categories of visual effects, editing, sound and music. This would attract international as well as local productions to use Australian based talent across the Post Production sector rather than simply utilizing large Digital and Visual Post Production Houses.
Reduce or abolish the current trend towards unsustainable reinvestment practices, where composers are being asked to reinvest up to 70% of their fee back into the film, with little to no likelihood of seeing a return on their investment. This practice has enabled production companies to attract a government rebate, whilst predominantly resulting in composers not receiving their full fee but being taxed on the full amount up front.
Incentives for Film Exhibitors
Film exhibitors and cinemas be allocated a form of rebate or offset to screen Australian made films in order to help attract Australian audiences to the box office.
All submissions to be made public need to meet the Digital Service Standard for accessibility. Any submission that does not meet this standard may be modified before being made public.
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