Free-to-air tv is dead

Beyond the budget headlines like the Medicare levy , the bank levy and that pesky university fee rise; there was a major proposition for free-to-air tv companies to have the licensing fees changed completely. These fees normally bring in $130 million dollars per year and will reduce to a more modest $40 million dollar because the government has realised how out of date free-to-air tv has become.

We could possibly save free-to-air tv,

Thats only possible if you’re willing to give up your netflix, hulu, stan, hayu, cable tv like Foxtel and Austar. Even sites like Facebook and Google. This is where most people get their news and show time entertainment. Due to the changing demographics Seven west media, Nine entertainment and Channel ten network holdings all posted massive losses in the 2016 year period. This is purely due to less people watching this type of television.

For those who don’t know the way these networks make their money is through advertisement between shows. The more popular a show normally the more money you can get for an advert in that time slot. Due to the lack of engagement only 20% of the total money spent on advertising goes to these networks, this is a substantial cut compared to up to 30+% in free-to-air tv’s prime.

Why the licensing fee cut won’t help and why free-to-air is dead

Sites like Facebook and Google have no limits when it comes to content type or type of audience because these websites are accessible 24/7 and can also be updated 24/7 without the need for someone to film it and then put it in a time segment on a specific show.

Sites like Netflix and Hulu have the ability to play and pause whatever show you’re into unlike networks who need to bargain rights and then stick it in a time slot. Also networks normally do not get the shows straight away. The delays between the US and the UK for certain shows is way too long and no one is going to sit through a screening of a tv show that they saw on Netflix three months ago.

Australia is too small of a country to support 5 free-to-air channels seven, nine, ten, abc and sbs. From the recent cuts of programs from channel ten, I personally believe that will be the first to fall if there isn’t some government intervention.

Basic demand and supply in this market, Limited demand for free-to-air and too much supply for the networks to stay profitable.


Do you think the government should help fund these networks like they did with Alcoa power plant  or the car manufacturing sector, or should they let the networks fizzle themselves out?



  1. The government should subsidise these industries not to save them, but to give extra time for workers to migrate to other industries. With most workers potentially being categorised as structural unemployment, prolonging the death of the industry will allow for workers to seek new skills and thus mitigate this unemployment effect.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Personally I welcome the death of networks such as ten & 9, as I do not find value in their programming or their journalism. However, I recognise their value as employers, as barriers against market power from the remaining tv stations and as non-governmental information sources and as such perhaps some government assistance is necessary to support workers during their transition away from the industry. We should not prop them up however, as ultimately if their business model is not profitable they should not be propped up with taxpayer funds.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Why sit and watch preprogrammed channels when you can watch what you want, when you want? Although it may be hard for employees of free to air channels to find new jobs, which is an issue that the government should take into consideration.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If there is no demand for free-to-air TV I think networks like channel 9 and 10 need to start reevaluating their business structure and maybe transform into a more modern entertainment structure such as maybe moving to a more website based platform where people can subscribe to certain shows for money, but still receive news services or the more widely demanded areas of the free-to-air network for free. This could help keep more jobs, whilst directing their business into the future.

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  5. I personally believe that streaming services such as netflix and stan and also social media like facebook are the best way for people to stay up to date with the news and new episodes of shows and movies. Free to air TV is dyeing and I think that people in that industry should either look to finding work in the streaming services and social medias or think of new ideas to keep the public watching free to air TV.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. More and more people now tend to watch videos and read news through social media as it is more convenient than free to air tv. This means the demand for free to air tv decrease rapidly. It would be better for people to keep up to date with the development of technology, and government needs to provide assistant to the workers at free to air tv channels in order to prevent the increase in unemployment rate.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. With demand for free tv always being so low, it’s eventual demise is almost inevitable as people don’t want to watch dull boring news a day after its happened, but it may be worth subsiding the industry just to prevent the large amount of structural unemployment that will follow the cancelling of free tv.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The fact that this is occurring is because the content produced by these channels are low-quality and no attempt at innovation is made at all. There is always going to be low turnovers when your main source of income is season 7 of The Block and the weekend football, and especially when your main income is from 20 minutes of advertising every hour. Whether there are alternatives or not, free TV is dead as a medium because there hasn’t been anything worth watching on it (that hasn’t been imported to the US) for a very long time.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. At the moment, most of the people decrease the demand for the free-to-air tv, cause other technologys compare to the free-to-air tv are more convenience. As for this situation, maybe could happen business decrease the demand for the labours. Governemnt can increase the welfare to this industry like subsidy, to help the business reduce the risks or improve the unemployment rate

    Liked by 1 person

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