The aim of this report is to review the current situation of the regional television industry and analyse potential solutions to the challenges it faces. In summary, this report concludes that it is difficult to foresee ongoing viability for the regional commercial television industry on current regulatory, technological and commercial settings. The growth of competition from online alternatives and the metropolitan networks’ broadcast video-on-demand (BVOD) services will inevitably erode regional television advertising revenues. The industry faces structural problems that require structural solutions.
These problems cannot be ignored. Regional commercial television broadcasting is a key element of the federal government’s broadcasting services delivery framework, and currently has no effective substitute.
Many of the policy options have direct implications for spectrum management. These options (discussed below) include online or satellite television delivery and spectrum re-stacking that would free up television broadcasting spectrum for other uses. But in regional Australia, these initiatives cannot be properly evaluated without a broader perspective on the viability of the current industry structure. Therefore, much of the report is taken up by examining the sustainability of different structural arrangements, and how they would be implemented.