The television remains central to the domestic media ecology of Australian households. This research finds that two thirds of Australians use smart TVs (and/or other connected TV devices) to access video content, and that the vast majority of smart TV users are happy with the services and content available on their devices. All of this suggests widespread enthusiasm for connected TV culture in Australia.
However, the researchers also find that smart TV operating systems are evolving in ways that warrant policy intervention. Throughout this report, they present evidence of widespread self-preferencing, partner-preferencing, search and recommendation bias, poor integration of third-party apps, and prioritisation of advertiser content over relevant local content in smart TV interfaces. The researchers also present evidence from a nationally representative user survey that establishes the scale of consumer confusion and misunderstanding.
Together, this evidence points to the need for regulation. In the authors' view, the purpose of such regulation is threefold:
- to ensure a minimum level of visibility for Australian broadcasters, and especially for public-service broadcasters;
- to enhance consumer welfare for smart TV users; and
- to minimise misleading and deceptive practices by manufacturers and platforms.
Regulation needs to achieve these objectives while respecting user autonomy and minimising market distortion.