The Challenges That Convergence Has Created For Australian Media Policy Makers

Posted: November 17, 2016

Introduction

Media convergence refers to the phenomenon where content digitization, in addition to technologies and standards for the display and carriage of digital content, are blurring the distinctions of traditional between other media and broadcasting across all the supply chain elements, for generation of content, audiences', aggregation and distribution. Media of Australia is changing. The Television old order, radio and print remain significant and familiar, but what is fascinating is the new world emergence of mobile and social media. Therefore the decision of the government to hold a review of public of media policy in the year 2011 is an opportunity that is welcome and timely for a broad debate. Following piecemeal change years, there exist issues with the old order that evidently require attention: rules of audience reach and ownership, regulation of content in its different manifestations and allocation of spectrum to take a few instances or examples. Governments have strived with these issues, and new technologies that are disruptive may now upset policies that are longstanding. There are also fascinating new problems, like privacy and piracy, and platforms that are new, incorporating mobile and high-speed broadband (Dey 2016, 59)

The review will consider the policy of media through the "convergence" lens of the notion that digital technologies that are fast-moving are making the old distinctions between telecommunications and broadcasting less significant and policy-making more difficult complex. The convergence notion is not new in the history terms of Australian media; it is more scarcely novel than FM radio in Australia, having around media policy floated and circles of the industry for at least twenty years. But it reminds everyone that the form of content they are used to finding on radio and television are services that are no longer offered merely by broadcasters. If the entertainment and the news of audiovisual are readily accessible from entire kinds of sources by the internet, what is the sticking point with the rules of media that are complicated, where outcomes of the policy depend on the connection that is regulatory between a specific communication mode?  A connection that started as contingency of engineering seems to have evolved into a convenience that is regulatory or, currently, a lack of convenience (Dawes, and Flew 2016, 1)

The theme of convergence does, in this way, aid everyone with a problem of a particular kind. These are alignment problems. Alignment problems where new services, technologies and models of business mean that the policy scope no longer is similar to its object. These are shifting that are sands slowly around the founded industries.  Rules of media ownership are evident or clear alignment problem examples, and it is nice to consider that in this view, they are an area flagged for attention. The laws that are existing, in this case, are planned to aid in securing diversity but they employ merely to broadcasting that is free-to-air because those media seemed to be the most crucial when the current laws were in the early 1990s  drawn up. Pay mobile, TV, and online media have come out since then and fall not within the restrictions (Head 2014, 89).

Honestly, questions that are new arise over broadband. The NBN or more generically the high-speed broadband is apparently the next great new element that will make the future communications system of Australia shaped. It could be a challenge that the review occurs to be precluded from directly dealing with most matters of telecommunications, particularly those associated with the National Broadband Networks and the service of universal telecommunications of the future.

Bringing clearly the National Broadband Networks into this process would make matters complicated enormously. But several people think the National Broadband Networks will become significant for the television delivery, despite the fact that policy-making of broadband has focused on the health, education services it will provide and business. It will carry several services of television-like, from services of video-on-demand to TV catch-up, incorporating international ones like the subscription-based version of BBC of its famous iP layer. Moreover, the NBN has potential that is great to offer "regular" TV. It will reach several regions that would have ever have cable television and, in several neighborhoods of rural and urban. It may well provide better TV service to people more than they will ever with analog or digital over the signals of air but not one which is presumably "free" (Head and Alford 2015, 711).

Convergence is not very useful regarding those less predictable problems of policy that are created by disruptive, change that is far-reaching. The carriage dislocation and content, for example, seems centrifugal, a services proliferation leading to audiences that are fragmented and advertising, the catch-up TV websites review notes proliferation, like Fixplay of ninemsn, for instance. These do raise queries concerning other broadcasting policy aspects. But such services are by no means as disruptive to the industry of TV as video streaming sites such as YouTube, likely the media that is the most successful site in the world. YouTube come out as a primary service that is user-generated, from what is known as the informal media economy, which gets little or no government policy-makers attention. The sector is not regulated, not taxed, and not licensed, and with no doubt, this is the reason why it is moreover market-driven, an extraordinarily dynamic and sector that is internationally oriented.

The problem with focusing on the problems of alignment is that the review can turn in an easy into an exercise in privileges or regulatory burdens that are incrementally redistributing from one sector of industry to another. The submissions of public posted until now promote arguments that are predictable along those very lines. It would be highly productive to consider instead where innovation is happening in the media of Australian, whether it is on television of internet, mobile services or social media. It is not because these areas necessarily need intervention or support, but everyone does not require them to be adversely influenced by any new regulations or rules. If there is a need to be a regulatory model that is a revised, the most crucial thing is not to make the minnows harm. Sweeping anti-piracy rules or filtering could in a simple way to have that effect.

Lastly, the review moreover requires engaging with those kinds of neither issue that are problem aligned nor disruption ones. These are the problems that are systemic and predate the entire changes, but persist none the less them, since industries such as television broadcasting are excellent at adapting to circumstances that are new. Competition is an example of a problem that is persistent. The review's references terms state that media of Australian ought to run within a "market that is appropriately competitive." This is clearly not a driven review by the policy of competition but what is appropriate competition level, how would everyone know, and who ought to be able to make a decision? Moreover, the review team is inquired to take into account "the policy setting impact on government revenue and industry." This approach mirrors a policy that is longstanding bias, but that ought to be so contentious (Head and Alford 2015, 711).

Conclusion

Convergence is a notion that is useful if it is considered to show that the territory is not stable. What was sometimes back the relatively manageable and delimited media policy zone are now a less easily defined field of public information networks and more divers? But aiming at convergence is perilous. First, the terms of review of reference seem narrower rather than a broad-ranging inquiry would require. Then is this problem that convergence is helpful for thinking concerning issues of some media less so for some others. It is not positive at grasping radical, change of disruptive, and at the spectrums other end it can obscure more deep-seated, problems that are persistent.

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