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Media Ownership and Digital TV Bills: what would they mean and how would they work?

Date: Tuesday, 3 October 2006
Venue: Allens Arthur Robinson, Sydney

This seminar was to help people understand the complex package of broadcasting and media Bills currently awaiting discussion by the national Parliament.  It focused on the actual words of the Bills.  What would they mean in practice?  Would they achieve the stated objectives?  How would they be implemented by the ACCC, ACMA and the Minister? How would the courts interpret them?

Everyone in media has an opinion about the proposed changes to the law, and different players have a lot to win or lose.  To ensure some professional analysis, most discussion-openers were experienced lawyers, who are used to advising media players large and small.  Their experience covered free TV and radio, subscription TV, newspapers, film and Internet.  The first speaker flagged the possible number and range of new digital channels.

Click here to download the seminar program.

SESSION 1 (2:00-3:45) New digital channels, boundaries and balances
Ian McGarrity, Director, IMW Media Services (slides)
Louise Capon, Partner, Freehills (slides)
Kate Jordan, Partner, Clayton Utz (slides)
-  How many new channels, of what kind, might we receive over the next 3 years?
-  What might be the licensing system for unallocated channels?
-  How will the Bills reset the boundaries between free TV, subscription, narrowcasting and extra multi-channels in HD and SD?
-  How will this affect programs and rights, for example: sport and Australian content?

SESSION 2 (4:15-6:00) Media ownership rules
Ian McGill, Partner, Allens Arthur Robinson (slides)
Paul Mallam, Partner, Blake Dawson Waldron (slides)
John Griffiths SC, Barrister
-  Cross-media control in metropolitan and regional areas
-  Removal of foreign control restrictions, and interaction with cross-media
-  Regional and rural areas: special provisions to preserve diversity and localism
-  Approval and clearance of transactions
-  Monitoring and enforcement, especially proposed new powers


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