Free TV has stepped up its battle for prominence with new campaign for visibility on CTV

Free TV Australia

Bridget Fair: “Local TV services are disappearing before our eyes.”

Free TV Australia has launched a new campaign addressing the challenges associated with locating free local television services on connected TVs.

Under the banner “Don’t Let Big Tech Take Your Free Away,” the campaign involves TV advertisements across all commercial free-to-air television networks. The primary objective is to emphasise the necessity for the Federal Government to enact legislation facilitating the easy discovery of local free TV channels

The initiative responds to global agreements between TV manufacturers and international streaming platforms, resulting in the preferential placement of global subscription services on home screens and remote controls, often overshadowing local TV offerings.

The launch further coincides with escalating tensions involving the industry body ASTRA. Legal pressures have been directed at Foxtel‘s Patrick Delany, ASTRA’s chair, to withdraw an advertising campaign that is alleged to distort the truth, cautioning viewers that “the government wants to control your TV”.

Free TV is urging the government to implement laws mandating manufacturers to provide, free of charge:
• Access to all TV channels offered by Australia’s local networks.
• Installation of all local TV apps in prime positions on home screens.
• Priority placement of free local TV content in search results and recommendations.

Bridget Fair, CEO of Free TV Australia, underscored the campaign’s intent to raise awareness of the issue, especially in light of the growing economic challenges faced by Australians. Fair emphasised the essential role of free local TV services in uniting communities, offering entertainment, information, and safety during critical situations.

Said Fair, “Free local TV services bring our communities together – it doesn’t matter where we live, or how much we earn, free TV entertains, informs and unites all Australians.”

See Also: “It’s a matter of choice”: Free TV Australia and Seven West Media research finds Australians want accessible free TV

“Free local TV services are there for Australians when the chips are down. They bring us together for our greatest sporting moments, provide trusted news and current affairs and  keep us safe with critical emergency warnings and updates in times of crisis. They also  provide thousands of hours of Australian drama, documentary and entertainment programming watched by millions every single day.”

However, according to Fair, “these local TV services are disappearing before our eyes” who warned the disappearance of local TV services is imminent due to demands from TV manufacturers for substantial payments, up to 30% of revenue, for inclusion on screens or in app stores, funds that would directly impact Australian content.

Fair expressed her concern that finding free-to-air channels on TVs would become increasingly challenging, noting the push from pay TV providers to monetise content available for free on free-to-air channels. She further clarified that, “Claims by some pay TV providers that the Government is trying to control your viewing or limit search results are utterly misleading. This whole issue is about putting the viewer in full control, not being served up incomplete viewing choices based on who has paid the  most money to be in the line-up.”

Fair has stressed the importance of protecting Australian stories and the services that showcase them. She urged the government to safeguard Australians’ ability to find and enjoy local content.

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